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T. S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot:

An Inventory of His Collection in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965
Title: T. S. Eliot Collection
Dates: 1905, 1917-1979
Extent: 7 document boxes (2.94 linear feet), 1 galley folder (gf)
Abstract: T. S. Eliot materials date from 1905 to 1970 and include handwritten manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, tearsheets, and correspondence, as well as musical scores, proofs, exhibition catalogs, a yearbook, memorial service programs, and photographs.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-01300
Language: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gifts, 1962-2005 (G1957, G11445, G12553); Purchases, 1960-2006 (R2163, R2722, R12736, R2713, R2958, R3217, R3415, R3470, R3600, R3647, R3732, R3735, R3842, R4146, R4171, R4172, R4289, R4228, R4441, R4525, R4591, R4849, R5089, R5180, R5331, R6832, R8574, R8753, R13075, R13883, R14286, R14624, R15367, R15404, R15405, R15415, R15418, R15438, R16478, 2013-03-007-P, 2013-05-004-P)
Processed by: Katherine Mosley, 2007

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Charlotte Stearns and Henry Ware Eliot. His parents were from Massachusetts, and during Eliot’s childhood the family spent summers in Gloucester. Eliot attended Smith Academy in St. Louis (1898-1905), Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts (1905-1906), Harvard University (B.A., 1909; M.A., 1911; Ph.D. courses in philosophy, 1911-1914), University of Paris-Sorbonne (1910-1911), and Merton College, Oxford University (1914-1915). After leaving Oxford in 1915, Eliot remained in England and married Vivienne Haigh Wood; they were separated in 1932, and she died in 1947. Eliot worked first as a teacher and then, from 1917 to 1925, as a clerk at Lloyds Bank in London, at the same time supplementing his income by working as a reviewer, lecturer, and essayist. He was an assistant editor at The Egoist (1917-1919) and founded and edited the literary quarterly The Criterion (1922-1939). Eliot accepted a position as an editor at publishers Faber and Gwyer (later Faber and Faber) in 1925 and eventually became a director of the firm. Eliot was baptized into the Anglican Church and became a naturalized British subject in 1927. In 1957, he married Valerie Fletcher, his secretary. Eliot died from emphysema in London, England, on January 4, 1965. His ashes were buried in East Coker, the town from which his ancestors had immigrated to America.
Eliot, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948, is considered one of the most influential writers in modern literature. He wrote "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in 1911, at age twenty-three. Conrad Aiken, a friend of Eliot’s from Harvard, showed a copy to Ezra Pound, who arranged for its publication in Poetry magazine and then in Eliot’s first book, Prufrock and Other Observations (1917). The Waste Land was completed in 1922, with editorial suggestions from Pound, and won a $2,000 award from the Dial. Poems 1909-1925 (1925) included "The Hollow Men," which bridges the philosophical despair of his earlier works and the religious themes of his next poems, Journey of the Magi (1927), A Song for Simeon (1928), Animula (1929), Marina (1930), Triumphal March (1931), and the better-known Ash-Wednesday (1930). Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, light verse composed for his godchildren, was published in 1939. Eliot’s wartime poetry, Four Quartets (1943), containing Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages, and Little Gidding, was considered by critics and Eliot to be his best work.
Following World War II, Eliot focused on drama and literary essays. He had written his first play, Sweeney Agonistes (1932), in the 1920s. Murder in the Cathedral was performed and published in 1935, and The Family Reunion was performed and published in 1939. In the 1940s and 1950s Eliot wrote The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk (1953), and The Elder Statesman (1958), all comedies. Eliot visited and lectured at numerous universities throughout his life. He delivered the Clark Lectures at Cambridge in 1926, the Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard University in 1932, the Turnbull Lectures at Johns Hopkins University and the Page-Barbour Lectures at the University of Virginia in 1933, and the Theodore Spencer Memorial Lecture at Harvard in 1950; all of these and other lectures were later published. Eliot’s critical essays, along with those of I. A. Richards, became the basis of the New Criticism of the twentieth century.


Bush, Ronald. "T. S. Eliot’s Life and Career," (accessed 25 May 2007).
Contemporary Authors Online, (accessed 23 April 2007).
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 329: Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature, Part I: Agnon-Eucken. Detroit: Gale Group, 1992.

Scope and Contents

T. S. Eliot materials date from 1905 to 1970 and include handwritten manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, tearsheets, and correspondence, as well as musical scores, proofs, exhibition catalogs, a yearbook, memorial service programs, and photographs. The materials are arranged in four series: I. Works, 1928-1967, undated; II. Correspondence, 1917-1964, undated; Series III. Personal Material, 1905, 1948, 1965; and Series IV. Third-Party Works and Correspondence, 1922-1979. This collection was previously accessible through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.
Eliot’s works are arranged alphabetically. Among notable works are a recording script of Ash-Wednesday and typescripts and tearsheets of broadcasts on John Dryden, James Joyce, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Tennyson, and Charles Williams. Also present are typescripts of "Cape Ann,"  "Difficulties of a Statesman,"  "Five-finger Exercises," "Marina,"  "A Song for Simeon,"  "Triumphal March," and "Usk," and handwritten manuscripts of "Eyes that Last I Saw in Tears" and "Journey of the Magi."  The Cocktail Party is represented by a typescript and a bound mimeograph proof copy with handwritten revisions dictated by Eliot to Mary Trevelyan. The Dry Salvages is represented by a corrected typescript and a handwritten manuscript of the last eighteen lines. A corrected typescript of The Elder Statesman is present, as is a corrected typescript of The Hollow Men [Part I]. Murder in the Cathedral materials include a signed acting edition, a prompt copy with corrections and notes by Ashley Dukes for the first production at the Mercury Theatre, and a printed third edition with Eliot’s handwritten revisions for the fourth edition. Noctes Binanianæ, which contained anonymous poems by Eliot, is present as a proof copy with corrections by John Hayward. A handwritten copy of The Waste Land made by Eliot for an auction benefiting The London Library contains an extra line not present in its original publication. Citations to Alexander Sackton’s 1975 bibliography The T. S. Eliot Collection of the University of Texas at Austin are given in the following folder list where appropriate; Sackton used the same numbering as Donald Gallup in his T. S. Eliot: A Bibliography (1969) and added his own numbers where necessary.
Series II. Correspondence is subdivided into Subseries A. Outgoing, 1917-1964, undated, and Subseries B. Incoming, 1920-1962, undated, and is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The outgoing subseries is the larger one; notable letters include those to Montgomery Belgion, Marion Dorn, Charles Du Bos, Peter Du Sautoy of Faber and Faber, Ronald Duncan, Rayner Heppenstall, William Turner Levy, Philip Mairet, Marianne Moore, Thomas Sturge Moore, Henry Sherek, and Virginia Woolf. Incoming correspondence includes letters from Montgomery Belgion, Eudo C. Mason, and Henry Sherek. Letters from Thomas Sturge Moore to Eliot have handwritten drafts of manuscripts by Moore on the back.
Series III., Personal Material, is limited to Eliot’s 1905 school yearbook, photographs of Eliot and E. McKnight Kauffer, and programs and tickets from the memorial service held after Eliot’s death.
Series IV. Third-Party Works and Correspondence is subdivided into Subseries A. Third-Party Works, [1945]-1970, undated, and Subseries B. Third-Party Correspondence, 1922-1979. Subseries A. Third-Party Works contains works by other authors, including musical scores by Denis ApIvor and Camillo Togni of works by Eliot and manuscripts about Eliot by Cyril Connolly and Henry Sherek. A typescript of "Sebastian (Fragment)" by Rayner Heppenstall contains handwritten notes by Eliot. Notable among third-party correspondence in Subseries B are letters from Valerie Eliot to Philip Mairet and other individuals, as well as letters to and from Gilbert Seldes regarding letters and works by Eliot and other matters.

Related Material

Other manuscripts relating to T. S. Eliot at the Ransom Center may be found in numerous other collections: James D. Adams, Richard Aldington, Margaret Anderson, Terence Armstrong, George Barker, Clifford Bax, John Betjeman, Edmund Blunden, Ronald Bottrall, Elizabeth Bowen, Neville Braybrooke, Roy Campbell, Richard Church, Austin Clarke, Willard Connely, Cid Corman, El Corno Emplumado, Nancy Cunard, David Daiches, Kay Dick, Patric Dickinson, Ronald Duncan, Constance FitzGibbon, John Gould Fletcher, Frank Stewart Flint, E. M. Forster, David Garnett, Stuart Gilbert, Harley Granville-Barker, Geoffrey Grigson, Allanah Harper, John Heath-Stubbs, Glenn Hughes, Mary Hutchinson, Samuel Hynes, Hugh Kenner, Rudyard Kipling, George Knight, Carlton Lake, John Lehmann, London Magazine, Marie Lowndes, Compton Mackenzie, Louis MacNeice, Hugo Manning, John Masefield, W. S. Maugham, Guy de Maupassant, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Marianne Moore, Christopher Morley, Nimbus, Charles Norman, Peter Owen, PEN, Herbert Palmer, Brigit Patmore, Leonidas Payne, Ezra Pound, Llewelyn Powys, J. B. Priestley, Frederic Prokosch, John Pudney, Lynette Roberts, John Rowland, Leonard Russell, George Santayana, Ludmila Savitsky, Arnold T. Schwab, Rolfe Scott-James, Karl Shapiro, Edith Sitwell, Osbert Sitwell, C. P. Snow, Stephen Spender, Derek Stanford, Leonard Strong, Dylan Thomas, Ruthven Todd, Henry Tomlinson, Henry Treece, George Trevelyan, John Wain, Hugh Walpole, Rex Warner, Edward Weeks, Geoffrey Wells, Eric Walter White, Walt Whitman, Colin Wilson, Donald Wolfit, and Louis Zukofsky.

Separated Material

Newspaper clippings of book reviews have been transferred to the Center’s Vertical File holdings. Books, including ones from Eliot’s library, have been cataloged with the Center’s book holdings. In addition, images of Eliot are present in the Center’s Art and Photography Collections.
Sound recordings were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recording collection and are described individually in a list at the end of this finding aid and in a searchable database.

Index Terms


Aldington, Richard, 1892-1962.
ApIvor, Denis.
Barker, George, 1913-1991.
Belgion, Montgomery, 1892- .
Dorn, Marion.
Du Bos, Charles, 1882-1939.
Duncan, Ronald, 1914-1982.
Du Sautoy, Peter.
Eliot, Valerie.
Healy, J. V.
Heppenstall, Rayner, 1911- .
Kauffer, E. McKnight (Edward McKnight), 1890-1954.
Kelly, Gerald, 1879-1972.
Knight, W. F. Jackson (William Francis Jackson), 1895-1964.
Levy, William Turner, 1922- .
Mairet, Philip, 1886-1975.
Mason, Eudo Colecestra.
Monro, Harold, 1879-1932.
Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972.
Moore, T. Sturge (Thomas Sturge), 1870-1944.
Pudney, John, 1909-1977.
Russell, Peter, 1921- .
Seldes, Gilbert, 1893-1970.
Sherek, Henry.
Smith, Ronald Gregor.
Woolf, Leonard,| 1880-1969.
Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941.
Wright, David, 1920- .


Authors, English.
Poetry, Modern--20th century.
Poets, English.

Document Types

Christmas cards.
Galley proofs.

Container List