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A. J. A. Symons collection


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Symons, A.J.A. (Alphonse James Albert), 1900-1941

A. J. A (Alphonse James Albert) Symons (1900-1941) was an English writer and biographer. In 1922, he founded the "First Edition Club" to display exhibitions of manuscripts. He completed his first biographical work, Emin, Governor of Equatoria, in 1928. Previously to that, he produced a bibliography of the first works of Irish poet William Butler Yeats, as well as an anthological work on 1890s authors, of which he was an authority. His most notable work, The Quest for Corvo, was published in 1934. After his death in 1941 he left several unfinished works, such as a biography of Oscar Wilde.

The collection consists of a small number of selected manuscripts, correspondence and documents of the British biographer and bibliophile A. J. A. Symons, chiefly related to Symons's work on the "Nineties," which was a bibliography (with biographies) of the writers and book illustrators of the eighteen-nineties. There are manuscript notes as well as two copies of a 14-page typescript of the 'Bibliographical Introduction', with holograph corrections and annotations by the author, and a typescript titled "On Youth." Correspondence of Symons includes two letters to Frederick Evans regarding his portraits of Aubrey Beardsley, and three letters to the poet John Gray.

Other related material includes two letters from M. Fisher to Symons' brother, the British poet, novelist, historian, and critic Julian Symons, and one letter to Julian Symons from the author Charles Derry. These letters mention A. J. A. Symons and his work. In addition, there are legal documents for the purchase of a boarding house for Julian Symons and his wife, Minnie Louisa Symons.

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

Letters to Evans were purchased on January 22, 2002.

Material related to the "Nineties" was purchased on July 15, 2002.

Letters from Gray were purchased on March 14, 1970. Various AM.

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on January 12, 2009. Finding aid written by Natalie Kim on February 10, 2009. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

3 Letters from John Grey to A.J.A. Symons, 1925-1929. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

2 Letters from A.J.A. to Frederick Evans, 1925 October-November. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Manuscripts of Material on the "Nineties" among others by A.J.A. Symons, 1910-1921. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

5 Letters to Julian Symons, 1993 February-December. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Miscellaneous Material, 1921. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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