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University of Texas at Austin

Leslie Daiken:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Daiken, Leslie, 1912-1964
Title: Leslie Daiken Papers
Dates: 1935-1963
Extent: 4 boxes, 8 galley folders, 1 oversize folder (1.75 linear feet)
Abstract: The collection documents the author's early career as a poet and his later career as an authority on children's customs, toys, games, and nursery rhymes.
Identification TXRC94-A17
Language: English.
Access Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition Purchases, 1960, 1963 (R1637)
Processed by Robert Kendrick, 1994

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Leslie Daiken, author and educator, was born in Dublin in 1912. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, and lived thereafter in London. Daiken's early poetry and short fiction appeared in periodicals and anthologies such as Choice, The Dublin Magazine, The New English Weekly, Goodbye, Twilight,and New Irish Poetry. In 1944 Daiken compiled They Go, the Irish, an anthology in which contributors attempted to evoke the spirit of the Irish war effort. Daiken published a monograph of his own verse, Signatures of All Things, the following year.
After these literary endeavors, Daiken turned to the study of children's customs, games, nursery rhymes and toys. His post-graduate thesis was titled “A Comparative Study of Nursery Literature” (1943). Daiken also wrote Children's Games Throughout the Year (1949), Children's Toys Throughout the Ages (1953), Let Us Play in Israel (1950), Teaching Through Play (1954), The Lullaby Book (1959), Out Goes She! (1963), and World of Toys (1963). In “Boys and Girls Come Out to Play,” “Sticks and Stones,” “The English Nursery Rhyme,” “The Feast of St. Stephen” and “Tinsel, Holly and Tinklebell,” Daiken explored the same subjects for radio and television. “Three Outcasts,” a radio play, dramatizes the stereotypes found in children's rhyme; another radio play, “The Circular Road,” explores a child's bereavement in the Jewish-Irish community. London Pleasures for Young People was written as a children's guidebook. His film, One Potato, Two Potato, which documents contemporary children's street rhyme, won an award at the 1958 Festival mondial du film in Brussels. Inspired by his interest in the history of toys, Daiken also founded the Toy Museum of Britain.
Leslie Daiken died in 1964.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Leslie Daiken, 1935-1963, document his early career as a poet and his later career as an authority on children's customs, toys, games, and nursery rhymes. The collection has been arranged into two series, Correspondence, 1936-1963 (0.5 boxes) and Works, 1935-1963 (3.5 boxes). The Correspondence series reflects Daiken's and his circle's literary and political concerns as well as the character of his friendships. The Works series consists of Daiken's manuscripts for his early book of verse and his later books, articles, radio and television productions, and documentary film.

Series Descriptions

Index Terms


Beckett, Samuel
Clarke, Austin
Cusack, Cyril
Heath-Stubbs, John Francis Alexander
Henderson, Wyn
Lewis, Alun
MacDiarmid, Hugh
Milne, Ewart
O'Casey, Sean
O'Sullivan, Seumas
Rudmose-Brown, Thomas B.
Salkeld, Blanaid
Saunders, Roy
Thomas, Caitlin
Thomas, Dylan
Ussher, Arland
Williams, William Carlos


Authors, Irish
Toys, History
Games, History
Nursery rhymes

Document Types

First drafts
Galley proofs

Container List