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T.S. Eliot Collection, 1928-1963

Collection Overview

Title: T.S. Eliot Collection, 1928-1963

Predominant Dates:1928-1963

ID: MS/MS/ms153

Creator: Eliot, T.S. (1888-1965)

Extent: 28.0 Items

Date Acquired: 06/26/1970

Languages: English [eng]

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The T.S. Eliot Collection includes revised copy of T. S. Eliot's Collected Poems, 1909-1935, with corrections and annotations in the author's hand, undertaken in preparation for a new edition. Also included is a typescript of section titled Occasional Verses, which was added to the original edition. These poems include "Defense of the islands," "A Note on War Poetry," "For the Indian Soldiers [sic] Who Died in Africa," "To Walter De La Mare", and "A Dedication to My Wife". Also typescript of author's notes to accompany the poems, and an autograph list of Eliot poems, possibly in preparation for a reading.

Also includes five letters from Eliot to Collin and Lillian Brooks; Collin Brooks, editor of conservative publication Truth, was a close friend and ideological bosom-buddy of Eliot. Also includes five letters and one telegram from Eliot’s wife, Valerie Eliot, to Collin and Lillian. The letters in total track the genesis of Eliot’s relationship with Valerie, and his emotional state at the time, in uncharacteristically expressive and candid fashion.

Through both Eliot and Valerie’s letters to Collin and Lillian, we see the slow build of Eliot and Valerie’s acquaintanceship. First, they are introduced by way of an inscribed book sent through Collin, then Collin recommends Valerie to the post of Eliot’s secretary at Faber, where their relationship flowered. Eliot regards the relevance of Collin and Valerie to his life in near-mystical terms, as he relates to Lillian after Collin’s death: “there was a destiny in our relations, active from the moment he told Valerie of the vacancy at Faber, and urged her to apply for it. And before that, when he got me to autograph my book for an unknown young lady.” Eliot’s unusually vulnerable reflections are a product of his tight association with Collin; he writes at one point of Valerie after they were recently joined, “I am radiantly happy and at the same time overawed by the thought of my new responsibility for another’s happiness.” Valerie’s letters also provide lesser-seen insights into Eliot’s unguarded persona, such as when she asks the Brooks to invite Eliot over in her absence as he, alone, “may give way to depression.”

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Source: Purchase

Acquisition Method:

Accession number 1204, 1970: June 26. Purchased from Bertram Rota Ltd Booksellers

Accession number 2014.010, 2014: April 15. Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Booksellers

Accession number MSS2016-008, 2016: April 18. Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Booksellers

Accession number MSS2016-028, 2016: December 12. Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Booksellers

Separated Materials:

Collected Poems, 1909-1935 by T.S. Eliot. London : Faber and Faber, [1954].

PS3509 L43 A17 1954

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections

Processing Information: Processed July 1970 by Holly Hall

Other Note: Collected Poems, 1909-1935 by T.S. Eliot transferred to Rare Books. PS3509 L43 A17 1954

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 1Add to your cart.
Item 1: Eliot to Collin Brooks, 1944: September 30Add to your cart.

Typed letter signed, 3 pages. Written on Faber and Faber stationery with Eliot’s autograph corrections in ink.

Eliot offers his critique of a submission, Captain Owen’s The Political Battlefield, sent by Brooks for consideration at Faber and Faber. He worries about the timeliness of the book, writing, “he has undertaken something…which nobody is quite safe in undertaking unless he is pretty close to the political scene, and can form a pretty accurate judgment of what will remain of importance and what will be superseded.” Eliot also attacks the style: “the book is not the work of practiced writer: the style, even when it can not be described as slip-shod, lacks pungency.” He  touches on the issue of expertise, which Owen lacks: “I feel that people nowadays need to be persuaded that a writer can hold his own with anybody, if he is going to touch on these problems at all.”

Item 2: Eliot/Faber and Faber Christmas and New Year's Eve card, 1945Add to your cart.

Autograph card signed, 3 pages


Item 3: Eliot to Collin Brooks, 1949: December 30Add to your cart.

Typed letter signed, 1 page.  Written on on Faber and Faber stationery.

Eliot discusses a pamphlet on Ezra Pound out from Poetry Chicago, and enclosed material incorporated into that pamphlet.

Item 4: Eliot to Collin Brooks, 1956: December 31Add to your cart.

Typed letter signed, 1 page

Eliot describes a pending trip to visit Brooks. Mentions, oddly considering Eliot’s stolid reputation, his joy at his new marriage: “I am radiantly happy and at the same time overawed by the thought of my new responsibility for another’s happiness.”

Item 5: Eliot to Collin and Lillian Brooks, 1958: September 9Add to your cart.

Autograph letter signed, 1 page       

Eliot thanks Brooks for his telegram. Describes his happy birthday, and a supper party he gave for the cast of The Elder Statesman, passing along extra flowers he has no more room for.

Item 6: Eliot to Lillian Brooks, 1959: April 9Add to your cart.

Autograph letter signed, 2 pages

Eliot writes Lillian consoling her over the death of Collin. He, again in uncharacteristically emotional tones, describes how “you and Collin gave me asylum on the eve of our marriage,” and thus he is impelled to share more about his and Collin’s relationship. He claims he regrets that Colin is one he regrets he “did not get to know them sooner and more intimately.” Interestingly for scholar’s of T.S. Eliot’s dubious political philosophy, he mentions meeting Collins at the “Bunke Club,” and “in the discussions there I soon came to recognize a man whose conservatism was kin to mine.” He cites the integral role Collins played in his personal and professional life: “And there was a destiny in our relations, active from the moment he told Valerie of the vacancy at Faber,  and urged her to apply for it. And before that, when he got me to autograph my book for an unknown young lady.”

Item 7: Valerie Eliot to Lillian Brooks, No dateAdd to your cart.

Typed letter signed, 1 page.

Valerie describes Eliot being incapacitated due to “Asian ‘flu.’” She enjoins Lillian (without Eliot’s knowledge) to invite him over for a cup of tea, as “he is very fond of you and Collin and would, I know, enjoy a chat with you both.” She also elaborates, revealingly: “left to himself he may give way to depression.”

Item 8: Valerie Eliot to Lillian Brooks, No year: January 4Add to your cart.

Typed letter signed, 1 page.

Valerie asks Lillian to thank Collin for handling a registrar issue. She mentions Eliot’s staying with them on the nights preceding their wedding, and hopes “his early departure won’t disturb your household.” She thanks them also for their wedding gift.

Item 9: Valerie Eliot to Collin Brooks, No dateAdd to your cart.

Autograph letter signed, 7 pages.

Valerie thanks Brooks for the “personal inscription”—Eliot’s, indicating this is the signed book that led to their initial acquaintanceship—that “thrilled” her “beyond measure.” She asks him to “exercise” “discretion” in forwarding along a note back to Eliot, should he think it fitting. She describes her enthusiasm at obtaining permission to see Eliot speak at a poetry reading at Wigmore Hall. In an appended fourth page, written the next day, she expresses regret at an ill Mrs. Brooks, asks where she might “buy a good photograph of T.S.E.,” and decides, after all, to not include her letter to Eliot.

Item 10: Valerie Eliot to Collin Brooks, No dateAdd to your cart.

Autograph letter signed, 2 pages.

Valerie asks to be apprised of any works in progress or upcoming broadcasts. She expresses “shock” at "the familiar way in which you refer to Eliot as “Tom.”” She claims Eliot’s poem “The Journey of the Magi” is still her favorite poem. She closes by finalizing arrangements to stay with Brooks.

Item 11: Valerie Eliot to Collin Brooks, 1946: May 3Add to your cart.

Telegram, 1 page.

Valerie thanks Brooks for a book and says “we” enjoyed his broadcast that morning.

Item 12: Valerie Eliot to Collin Brooks, 1946: October 5Add to your cart.

Autograph letter signed, 6 pages.

Valerie discusses the success of Collin’s novel, and her own advocacy on its behalf. She colorfully describes her attempts at learning to drive. Apparently, she has asked her boss to carry “T.S.E.’s Collected Works.” She reflects that “neither of us care for Ezra Pound,” and “I fail to appreciate James Joyce.” She asks after Eliot, sharing that she had written him for his birthday, and “thanked him for inscribing the book.” She then recounts Eliot’s return reply: “Dear Miss F, I thank you for your kind letter & birthday wishes, both of which gave me much pleasure. Yours sincerely…”

Item 13: Empty envelope addressed to Lillian Brooks, 1957: January 5Add to your cart.
1 item
Item 14: Autograph note in unknown hand explaining, “May 5th, 1946. Collin wrote: I don’t know the date of this: this is probably her first letter.”Add to your cart.
1 item
Series 2: ManuscriptsAdd to your cart.
Folder 2Add to your cart.
Item 1: Autograph lists [two] of Eliot poems, some with page numbers (?) indicatedAdd to your cart.
One set numbered 1 - 7, some with two or more poems grouped under one number. Two poems crossed out, one with question mark. Unidentified initials [M.I.T.?] at head of list. At foot of sheet, upside down and crossed out reads `Poetry Center 25.11.61.' Verso. List in pencil; varies slightly from first list. Some titles unidentified. Heading reads [Boston Coll.?] Lists apparently not connected to book or other typescripts. Possibly prepared in preparation for a reading. Ink and pencil, 2 pages
Item 2: Publications lists of Eliot's complete works, 1963: January 3Add to your cart.
Typescript heading notes Collected Poems, 1909 - 1962 [corrected in pencil from 1960].  Upper left corner reads Mr. Bland.  Manuscript notation in right corner `As knowledge and experience' in Eliot's hand, and manuscript paging note. Lower left corner reads, JL/ab. Unidentified printer's note. [Does not correspond with published version] The following is a setting copy for Occasional Verses for the new edition of Collected Poems, 1909-1962. Textual comparison is with the American edition by Harcourt, Brace, 1963, 1963: January 3]. Ink and pencil, 1 page
Item 3: Typescript and typescript [carbon] author's notesAdd to your cart.
To accompany Occasional Verses in the new edition, not including Dedication to my wife. States origin of poems; slight corrections in ink; pencil printer's marks. Note in Eliot's hand read `Each of the above notes to precede the verses attached.' Carbon unmarked.  2 pages
Item 4: Typescript and typescript [carbon] of Defense of the Islands, 1940: June 9Add to your cart.
One correction, line 22. Text corresponds. Written [in the author's hand] June 9th, 1940 in several places; all crossed out. T.S. Eliot also crossed out. Printer's marks. Carbon has no marks.  2 pages
Item 5: Typescript and typescript [carbon] of A Note On War Poetry, 1942Add to your cart.
Date crossed out. Copy marked #2. Printer's page mark. Carbon has no marks. Text corresponds.  2 pages
Item 6: Typescript of To the Indians Who Died in Africa, 1943Add to your cart.
Date is erased. Copy is marked #3. Note, author's title is For the Indian Soldiers Who Died in Africa. Printer's page mark. Author's notes uses published title. One substantive change, line 21.  1 page
Item 7: Typescript and typescript [carbon] of To Walter De La Mare, 1948Add to your cart.
Date is erased. Copy is marked #4. Printer's page marks. Text corresponds. No corrections. Carbon has no marks.  2 pages
Item 8: Typescript and typescript [carbon] of A Dedication to My WifeAdd to your cart.
Printer's page marks. Accidental correction, line 10. Text corresponds. Carbon has no marks.  2 pages
Item 9: Typescript [carbon] review of Lytton Strachey's Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History, 1928Add to your cart.
Final typescript, 7 pages with a small number of pencil corrections in Eliot's hand. Eliot's favorable analysis of Elizabeth and Essex was published anonymously in the Time Literary Supplement in December 1928
Item 10: Collected Poems, 1909-1935, Faber and Faber, 1954, fifteenth impression, 1963Add to your cart.
Corrected and revised by the author, in preparation for new edition. Following is a notation of the changes. Textual comparisons refer to the American edition of Collected Poems, by Harcourt, Brace, 1963. Front matter. Front fly-leaf reads `This copy to be used in preparing next edition. Return to T.S.E.' Publication list notes ‘See new copy'...[  ].  Title page with correction reads Collected Poems 1909 - 1935 62 by T.S. Eliot London Faber & Faber Limited, 24 Russell Square. Copyright and printing history is crossed out, which included written notice of Sixteenth impression MCMl[iv]. Table of Contents notes `Reader to check the page nos - will be 2 on [foot note?]' Ariel Poems - dates have been added after each title, and Cultivation of Christmas Trees - 1954 has been included in this section.  Unfinished poems. Date 1931 has been added to Triumphal March. Minor Poems. Five finger exercises III changes title to Lines to a Duck in the Park. Choruses from `The Rock' adds date 1934. All of Four Quartets included, and Occasional Verses compose the final sections. Titles and dates written in. Revisions occur on the following pages: 9, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28, 37, 38, 41, 62, 63, 64, 68, 75, 79, 80, 83, 84, 100, 107, 129, 147, 152, 153 of which the following are substantive: 9, 28, 79, 80, 83, 84, 100. Notations occur on the following: 31, 114, 183. Page 183 notes `Here take in the Four Quartets (set from file copy herewith, and [  ] as [  ] dummy herewith)' Back fly-leaf notes `Take in Four Quartets on p. 195 followed by Occasional Verses.'  Paging is corrected, in anticipation of additions, beginning p. 114.  Transferred to Rare Books (PS3509 L43 A17 1954).  101 pages, 8 x 5 1/2"