University of Texas at Austin

The I. H. Slater Collection of Alexandre Dumas:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Slater, I. H. (Ivan), 1900-1968.
Title: The I. H. Slater Collection of Alexandre Dumas
Dates: 1918-1968
Extent: 44 document boxes, 1 oversize box (osb) (19.48 linear feet)
Abstract: Ivan H. Slater, from Kaeo, Northland, New Zealand, owned possibly the largest private collection of editions of Alexandre Dumas Pere (1802-1870) during the 1930s through the 1960s. His Dumas collection consists mainly of typescripts of Dumas’ works, materials about Dumas, correspondence, and miscellaneous items.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-1245
Language: English and French
Access: Open for researchPart or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center’s Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 1972 (R5297)
Processed by: Wendy Bowersock, 1991, updated by Hagan Barber, 2012

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Ivan H. Slater (1900-1968), from Kaeo, Northland, New Zealand, owned possibly the largest private collection of editions of Alexandre Dumas Pere (1802-1870) during the 1930s through the 1960s. Dumas, who began as a clerical worker, is best known for his novels Les Trois Mousquetaires (1844) and Le Comte de Monte Cristo (1844). Dumas used many collaborators in his writing, especially Auguste Maquet, who collected facts for the historical backgrounds of Dumas' novels. Mr. Slater began collecting in 1918 at the age of eighteen when he browsed through Dumas' The Black Tulip. His passion for collecting Dumas material lasted until his death in 1968. Slater worked in association with other Dumas collectors in New Zealand and abroad, principally by correspondence, as he never traveled outside of New Zealand. He corresponded with Frank Wild Reed of Whangarei, a fellow Dumas enthusiast, from 1925 until Reed's death in 1953. Reed bequeathed most of his Dumas notes and material to Slater, which greatly contributed to the Slater Dumas collection.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

Holograph manuscripts, notebooks containing manuscript translations, typescripts, bound volumes containing works by Dumas, works about Dumas, as well as bibliographies, correspondence, photographs, and a scrapbook comprise the I. H. Slater collection of Alexandre Dumas Pere. The material is arranged in six series: Undated Typescripts of Works by Dumas, Works about Alexandre Dumas, Correspondence, Bibliographical Works about Dumas, Works by F. W. Reed not pertaining to Dumas, and Miscellaneous Items.
The material in the Slater Dumas collection spans from 1918 to 1968, and includes notebooks that contain partial translations, typescript drafts of transcriptions of Dumas' works, as well as the correspondence between Slater and fellow Dumas collector F. W. Reed. The only materials in the collection in Dumas' hand are the note and the manuscript fragment found in the first series. The remaining materials are handwritten or typed translations of Dumas' works or materials about him. The last series, Miscellaneous Items, contains a hodgepodge of materials including some personal items that belonged to Slater. Photographs, Slater's scrapbook, and F. W. Reed's calling card can be found here.
Most of the materials are presented in one of two formats. The loose items are stored in folders, while some materials were bound together by Slater. Slater assigned a number sequence to some of the bound volumes, which is stamped on the spine. The unnumbered volumes were assigned numbers during cataloging to facilitate use.
The Ransom Center holds an extensive collection of Dumas' published works in its library which may serve as a compliment to this vast and detailed Dumas archive.

Series Descriptions

Series I. Undated Transcripts of Works by Dumas
All of Dumas' major works are represented in Slater's collection. Two holograph manuscripts in Dumas' hand begin the first series, followed by translations of various editions of Dumas' works arranged alphabetically. Many of the translations are handwritten in notebooks. Also included in the first series are bound volumes containing typed translations of Dumas' plays, novels, short stories, and poetry. The bound volumes are arranged alphabetically by title, with some volume numbers assigned by Slater and some assigned by the cataloger for organizational purposes.
Series II. Works about Alexandre Dumas
The life of Alexandre Dumas is represented in the second series. The manuscript of Craig Bell's Alexandre Dumas, as well as various other works about Dumas are arranged alphabetically by the author's name. Also included are Charles Robin's and Gustave Simon's texts concerning the collaboration of Alexandre Dumas with Auguste Maquet. The second series includes bound volumes containing works about Dumas.
Series III. Correspondence
The third series comprises correspondence primarily between F. W. Reed and I. H. Slater from 1925 to 1953, in which they shared bibliographical information about Dumas. This series also includes Slater's correspondence with such figures as A. Craig Bell, Blackwell's, N.P. Davis, Douglas Munroe, as well as many others. There is one folder of unidentified correspondence. There is a complete list of correspondents at the end of the inventory.
Series IV. Bibliographical Works about Dumas
The fourth series contains bibliographical works about Dumas, compiled predominantly by I. H. Slater and F. W. Reed. The bound bibliographical works are arranged chronologically to reflect the progression of Slater's and Reed's collection.
Series V. Works by F. W. Reed not pertaining to Alexandre Dumas
In the fifth series, works by F. W. Reed that do not pertain to Alexandre Dumas can be found. These plays, novels, and other various works are arranged alphabetically by title, and cover a wide range of subjects. Some of the titles include Early Pharmacy in Whangarei, A Pawn to Play, and Three Playlets.
Series VI. Miscellaneous Items
The final series, Miscellaneous Items, contains a variety of materials collected by Slater. Various works not relating to Dumas, a picture of Dumas, Dumas' coat of arms, printing blocks, photographs, and a scrapbook are some of the items found in this series.

Index Terms


Bell, A. Craig.
Duthie, R.
Davis, N. P.
Feil, M. B.
Munroe, Douglas.
Nielsen, Aksel J.
Reed, Frank Wild, 1874- .
White, Richard, of New Zealand.


B.H. Blackwell Ltd.


Dumas, Alexandre, 1802-1870.

I. H. Slater Collection of Alexandre Dumas--Folder List