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D. H. Lawrence:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930
Title: D. H. Lawrence Collection
Dates: 1904-1981
Extent: 52 boxes (21.6 linear feet), 10 galley folders, 4 oversize folders, and 12 bound volumes.
Abstract: The collection include drafts of several major works, including Lady Chatterly's Lover, Women in Love, Sons and Lovers, and Aaron's Rod. The collection also contains numerous letters from Lawrence to various correspondents, particularly the literary agency Curtis Brown, Ltd. Other materials include transcripts of obscenity trials concerning Lady Chatterly's Lover and critical studies of Lawrence's work.
RLIN Record # TXRC98-A9
Language: English.
Access:

Open for research. Due to the fragile condition of the originals, photocopies of the holograph notebooks of Women in Love must be used, unless permission to use the originals is obtained from the Research Librarian. Copies of original manuscripts owned by other institutions are provided for reference and comparison purposes only and cannot be further duplicated.




Acquisition:

Purchases and gifts, 1958-1998

Provenance:

A large portion of the Ransom Center's D. H. Lawrence Collection was included in the 1958 purchase of part of T.E. Hanley's collection of modern art and literature. Hanley's collection of important Lawrence manuscripts, along with other Hanley material, forms one of the cornerstones of the Ransom Center holdings. Hanley acquired many of his Lawrence manuscripts from Frieda Lawrence.

Processed by:

Chelsea S. Jones, 1998

Repository:

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center


Born September 11, 1885, David Herbert Richard Lawrence grew up in Nottingham, a mining town. His father worked in the mines and his mother taught school before marrying. He was the fourth of five children and the third son. His eldest brother, George, was apprenticed to an uncle, but William, the second son, was clever and Mrs. Lawrence had high hopes for his success. He did well in school and obtained a clerkship with a shipping firm in London. Lawrence also did well in school, earning a scholarship to the Nottingham High School and taking several prizes in math, French, and German. At the age of sixteen he obtained a place as a junior clerk with the firm J.H. Haywood Ltd in Nottingham. In the fall of 1901 William died suddenly in London of erysipelas and shortly after the funeral, Lawrence became extremely ill with pneumonia. His mother, shattered by the death of William, nursed him tirelessly for several months, transferring to Lawrence the hopes and ambitions that she had had for William. The resulting relationship between Lawrence and his mother formed the basis of Sons and Lovers (1913), one of his best known novels.

In the fall of 1902 Lawrence became a student teacher and in 1904 he entered the Pupil-Teacher Center in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, for further training. Lawrence also began attending art classes and in 1905 he began writing poetry and qualified to study at University College in Nottingham. By 1907, several of his poems and short stories had been published. He accepted a teaching position in Croyden in 1908, at the same time he continued to write extensively. He received the page proofs for his first novel, The White Peacock, in time to show them to his mother before she died in December 1910.

Lawrence was once again severely ill in November 1911. The following January he left Croyden to convalesce in his aunt's boarding house in Bournemouth, and in February he resigned his teaching post. On March 3 Lawrence visited Ernest Weekley of University College, Nottingham, and met Weekley's wife, Frieda. Shortly after meeting her, Lawrence began an affair with Mrs. Weekley and on May 3 they traveled to Germany together.

Lawrence and Frieda lived together for the rest of his life. After a protracted and bitter struggle, Frieda received a divorce from Ernest Weekley and married Lawrence on July 13, 1914. For the next 16 years they traveled almost constantly, including Italy, Germany, Australia, Ceylon, America, and Mexico in their itineraries. Throughout their travels Lawrence continued to write prolifically. He also continued to contract life-threatening illnesses including influenza and malaria. Generally he ignored his frail state, but late in 1929 he caught a chill which grew steadily in severity until he was forced to accept a doctor's diagnosis of tuberculosis. In February of 1930 he was convinced to enter a sanatorium in Vence, Italy. At the end of the month he left the sanatorium for Villa Robermond, where he died on March 2. He was buried in Vence, however, in 1935 Frieda Lawrence had his body disinterred, cremated, and taken to New Mexico, where his ashes were re-buried in a chapel above the Kiowa Ranch in Taos.


A D. H. Lawrence Chronology. Peter Preston. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994).

D. H. Lawrence: Triumph to Exile, 1912-1922. Mark Kinkead-Weekes. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

D. H. Lawrence: A Composite Biography, 3 vols. Edward Nehls. (Madison: University of Wisconsin press, 1957-59).

A Bibliography of D. H. Lawrence. Warren Roberts. (1963; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982)

D. H. Lawrence: A Calendar of His Works. Keith Sagar. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1982) and (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979).


Manuscripts of novels, poems, short stories, plays, and other writings, correspondence, transcripts of court hearings, and miscellany trace the writing career and personal life of D. H. Lawrence, 1904-1981 (bulk dates 1904-1935), as well as popular reaction to his work. The collection is organized into five series, which are generally arranged alphabetically by author or title: I. Works, 1903-1970 (33.5 boxes), II. Letters, 1904-1930 (5 boxes), III. Recipient, 1912-1929 (.25 boxes), IV. Curtis Brown, Ltd. Correspondence, 1922-1935 (3.25 boxes), V. Miscellaneous, 1911-1981 (10 boxes). This collection was previously accessible through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.

The Works series contains drafts of many of Lawrence's major works, including Sons and Lovers, Aaron's Rod, Women in Love, and four versions of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Also included is a holograph of "Odour of Chrysanthemums" transcribed by Louise Burrows, as well as numerous versions of The Plumed Serpent: Quetzalcoatl and Mr. Noon. Page proofs and paste ups from the publishing of Body of God, a series of poems by Lawrence produced posthumously, are included. Additionally, a quantity of photocopies of poems and other writings held at other institutions, including the University of California and the University of Nottingham, is present in two groupings and as individual items. They are identifiable by stamps that provide copyright permission information. The materials in this series are in a variety of formats including notes and fragments, notebooks, typescripts, galley proofs, paste ups, and page proofs. Individual titles can be accessed through the Index of Works at the end of this finding aid.

The Letters series is fairly extensive and made up largely of holograph letters and notes from Lawrence. The series is fairly evenly split between business and personal matters; several recipients of these letters are particularly well represented including Lady Cynthia Asquith, Earl and Achsah Brewster, Curtis Brown, A.W. MacLeod, Knud Merrild, Nancy Pearn, Laurence Pollinger, and Thomas Seltzer. The Recipient series is made conspicuous by its small size--a single folder. Very few letters to Lawrence are included and most of those that are present deal with business. A good example is the group of five letters from Thomas Seltzer in 1923 which encourage Lawrence to drop Robert Mountsier as his literary agent and to deal instead directly with Seltzer's publishing house. Additional authors and recipients of correspondence can be identified using the Index of Correspondents in this finding aid.

The Curtis Brown Ltd. Correspondence Series, organized chronologically, consists of about 1500 items and includes letters to Lawrence, booksellers, agents, Curtis Brown's lawyers, and various other people involved in the publication and sales of Lawrence's writing. Also included are contracts with Frieda Lawrence for 1933 and 1934, as well as letters, financial statements, and listings of copyright accounts sent to her after Lawrence's death. The letters in this series are not listed individually in the Index of Correspondents. Lawrence's letters to Curtis Brown are in the Letters Series.

The Miscellaneous Series consists of a wide variety of materials directly and indirectly related to Lawrence. A few personal items belonging to Lawrence--passports, address books, bank statements, check stubs--are included. However, the bulk of this series is made up of correspondence between other parties regarding Lawrence's works. Communication between Robert Mountsier, Lawrence's literary agent for a few years around 1920, and publishers, is particularly well represented here. Also included are transcripts from the American and English obscenity trials involving Lady Chatterley's Lover (Regina v. Penguin Books, Ltd.), and manuscripts of scholarly works about Lawrence. Notable among the latter are the complete notes and working manuscripts of F. W. Roberts' book A Bibliography of D. H. Lawrence (1959). Letters in this series are listed in the Index of Correspondents.

Elsewhere in the Ransom Center is a large collection of newspaper clippings covering the publication and criticism of Lawrence's work (222 Vertical Files and two Scrapbooks). Also, located in the Art Collection are 32 drawings and paintings by Lawrence. There are a few items in the Personal Effects Collection, and over 800 photographs and negatives of the Lawrences, their friends, and their travels are located in the Literary Files and five photo albums in the Photography Collection. D. H. Lawrence materials may also be found in the following collections also held by the Ransom Center: Dorothy Brett, Giuseppe Orioli, Frieda Lawrence, E.D. McDonald, Edward Nehls, Thomas Seltzer, and I.P. Stone.


Correspondents

Asquith, Cynthia, Lady, 1887-1960.

Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977.

Brewster, Achsah.

Brewster, Earl.

Chambers, Jessie.

Clarke, Lettice Ada Lawrence.

Grauer, Benjamin Franklin, 1908- .

Huebsch, B.W. (Benjamin W.), 1876-1964.

Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963.

King, Emily Lawrence.

Koteliansky, S.S. (Samuel Solomonovitch), 1880-1955.

Lawrence, Frieda von Richthofen, 1879-1956.

Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925.

Luhan, mabel Dodge, 1874-1962.

MacLeod, A.W.

McDonald, Edward David.

Mena, Maria Christina.

Merrild, Knud, 1894- .

Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972.

Mountsier, Robert Montague.

Murry, John Middleton, 1889-1957.

Pearn, Nancy.

Seltzer, Adele Szold, 1876-1940.

Seltzer, Thomas.

Organizations

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Subjects

Authors, English--20th century.

Censorship.

Poets, English--20th century.

Places

England--Social life and customs--20th century.

Italy--Fiction.

Document Types

Address books.

Galley proofs.

Guest registers.

Legal documents.