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Maurice Saillet:

An Inventory of His Collection of Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company in the Carlton Lake Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Saillet, Maurice, 1914-1990
Title: Carlton Lake Collection of Maurice Saillet, Sylvia Beach, and Shakespeare and Company
Dates: 1917-1976
Extent: 4 boxes (1.68 linear feet), 1 oversize flat folder
Abstract: The collection relates primarily to Sylvia Beach's Paris bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, and to James Joyce's Ulysses.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-04960
Language: Largely in French, with a few letters in English.
Note: We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which provided funds for the processing and cataloging of this collection.
Access: Open for research. Permission from copyright holder must accompany photoduplication requests for James Joyce materials.

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 1986
Processed by: Bob Taylor, 1997

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Maurice Saillet (1914-1990) first met Sylvia Beach in the 1930s when he was employed at Adrienne Monnier's La Maison des Amis des Livres. Saillet and Beach soon became friends and remained close until her death in 1962. Due to his interest in modern French literature Saillet wrote or edited several works in the postwar period featuring Monnier, Beach, Valéry Larbaud, the comte de Lautréamont, and others.
Sylvia Beach was born 14 March 1887 into the family of a Presbyterian minister in Baltimore. Growing up in a home of modest means but considerable learning, Sylvia was early attracted to French culture as the result of her father's 1901 call to the student ministry in Paris. The Beach family's extended residence in Paris confirmed Sylvia's desire to live there, and in 1916 she moved to France permanently.
In 1918 Sylvia Beach met her lifelong friend Adrienne Monnier, and, following Mlle. Monnier's example, in late 1919 Beach opened Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore and lending library specializing in Anglo-American literature. The timing of Beach's venture--coming as it did just as the "lost generation" discovered Paris--made Shakespeare and Company a central feature of the Parisian literary scene of the 1920s.
In addition to her capacity for hard work, Sylvia Beach had the genius for making and keeping friends. Her developing friendship with James Joyce led to her becoming the first publisher of Ulysses in 1922. As publisher, confidant, and friend Beach assisted Joyce personally and financially throughout the 1920s.
Shakespeare and Company struggled--as did many businesses--during the 1930s and finally succumbed to the German occupation of Paris after 1940. Having survived six months' internment and the other rigors of a second world war Sylvia Beach became in the 1950s an embodiment of and voice for the literary and cultural Paris of the 1920s. In 1959 her Joyce collection went to the University of Buffalo; in that same year she was the focus of the exhibition "Les Années vingt," sponsored by the American embassy. Sylvia Beach died in her sleep the night of 5-6 October 1962.

Scope and Contents

The Maurice Saillet collection of Sylvia Beach embraces a significant group of materials documenting Beach's Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company, her activities as the first publisher of James Joyce's Ulysses, and her personal life. The collection contains a significant portion of her personal correspondence, a large group of photographs, together with some business records and ephemera related to Shakespeare and Company. The arrangement of the material is essentially that given it by Maurice Saillet, although a few of the folders have been moved to afford a better topical arrangement.
The collection represents the years 1917 to 1976, with most of the material covering the years from 1919 to 1964. The Parisian literary scene of the 1920s, Adrienne Monnier, James Joyce and other English-speaking authors, and Sylvia Beach herself are the principal subjects. The large correspondence in the collection includes numerous letters from Beach to Monnier and to Maurice Saillet. Among the many persons who wrote to Saillet about Beach are Hélène Baltrusaitis, Bryher, Jackson Mathews, and Charles Mauron.
The Saillet collection is strongest in documenting Sylvia Beach's personal life, especially her relationship with Monnier. The material relating to Shakespeare and Company and to James Joyce is slighter but nevertheless noteworthy. These papers form a part of the Carlton Lake collection at the Ransom Center.

Series Descriptions

Index Terms


Baltrusaitis, Hélène.
Beach, Sylvia.
Bryher, 1894- .
Dudley, Katherine.
Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965.
Gilbert, Stuart.
Jolas, Maria, 1893-1987.
Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930.
Mathews, Jackson.
Mauron, Charles.
Monnier, Adrienne.
Monnier, Marie, 1894-1976.
Porter, Katherine Anne, 1890-1980.
Rice, Howard C. (Howard Crosby), 1904- .
Spender, Stephen, 1909- .
Steinbrugge, Camilla.
Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975.


Joyce, James, 1882-1941.
Shakespeare and Company.
Booksellers and bookselling--France--Paris--Biography.
Paris (France)--Intellectual life.

Document Types

Galley proofs.

Maurice Saillet Collection of Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company--Folder List