This collection contains the papers of British-American writer Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986), chiefly dating from the
1920s to the 1980s.
Consisting of scripts, literary manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, audio-visual material, and Isherwood’s
library, the archive is an
exceptionally rich resource for research on Isherwood, as well as W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender and others. Subjects documented
in the collection include homosexuality and gay rights, pacifism, and Vedanta.
Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) was born on August 26, 1904, in Cheshire, England, the son of Frank and Kathleen Bradshaw-Isherwood.
He attended Repton School, 1919-1922,
and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 1924-1925. He went to Berlin in 1929 to visit W. H. Auden and remained, intermittently,
for the next four years. In 1939 he
immigrated to the United States, settling in Santa Monica, California. From 1954 until his death on January 4, 1986, Isherwood
lived with his companion Don Bachardy.
approximately 3,000 items.
Letters and manuscripts by W. H. Auden may be seen but may not be
photocopied without written permission from the Auden literary executor,
Edward Mendelson. In no case will permission be granted to copy all of the letters or manuscripts. His permission must also
be obtained in order to quote from or publish any of the Auden items.
The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department, with two exceptions:
The series of Isherwood’s daily diaries, which are closed until January 1, 2030. These sealed diaries are not listed in the
Expurgated texts of these diaries have been edited and published by Katherine Bucknell. (Please see Selected Bibliography
in this finding aid for citations.)
Other diaries are available for research and are itemized in the Container List, below.
Scholars’ essays and letters addressed to Christopher Isherwood or to Don Bachardy after 1975 are closed for 30 years after
This material is listed, along with opening dates, at the end of this finding aid.