Scope and Content
Separately Described Materials
Title: Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection:
Date (inclusive): 1819,
Date (inclusive): 1849-1957,
Date (inclusive): 1962
Shelfmark: MS. Wilde
Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Extent: 92 boxes, 8 feet of
Abstract: Material described in this finding aid
represents the main correspondence portion of the Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle
collection at the Clark Library. The collection includes letters by Wilde, his wife, his mother, Lord Alfred Douglas, More
Christopher Millard, Robert Ross, and Adela Schuster, among many others.
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Physical location: Clark Library.
William Andrews Clark, Jr. acquired the nucleus of the Clark Library's Oscar Wilde collection from
Dulau and Company, London, in 1929. Most of the Dulau material had been in the possession of Robert B. Ross
(Oscar Wilde's literary executor), Christopher S. Millard (a.k.a. Stuart Mason,
the Wilde bibliographer), and Vyvyan B. Holland (Wilde's only surviving son).
Since 1929, the Clark Library has steadily purchased important new material and in the year 2000, the collection was estimated
to contain over 65,000 items.
Collection is open for research.
Restrictions on Use
Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial
Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must
be submitted in writing to the Librarian. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library as the owner of the
physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
For additional copyright information related to Oscar Wilde, contact
Merlin Holland, email: merlin.holland[at]wanadoo.fr
Alternate Forms Available
Microfilm copies of portions of the collection are available for patron
[Identification of item, subseries and series], Oscar Wilde and His
Literary Circle Collection : Correspondence. William Andrews Clark Memorial
Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
Many of the manuscript and print materials described within this finding aid have also been cataloged individually. Those
individual records for print materials are available via the UCLA Library's online catalog, while the records for manuscript
materials are accessible only through a physical card catalog located at the Clark.
In 1957, a printed catalog of all Wilde-related works then owned by the Clark Library (approximately 2900 items) was compiled
by John Charles Finzi and published as
Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle by the University of California Press. Over the course of the next four decades, many new Clark acquisitions were added to
the collection and approximately one-third of the collection was microfilmed at least once.
In 2000, the first version of the Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle online finding aid, which described
archival materials in the Clark collections related to Wilde and his circle was written and encoded in EAD by John Howard
Fowler. In 2009, this original finding aid was separated into several parts, edited and re-encoded by Rebecca Fenning in
order to make its very large size (over 1000 pages) and scope more manageable for researchers. Instead of one guide describing
the entire collection, there are now 5 more easily navigated guides devoted to different components of the collection:
Manuscripts and Miscellaneous Materials,
James Lewis May Papers.
Oscar Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin,
Ireland, October 16, 1854. He attended Trinity College and Magdalen College,
Oxford, winning the Newdigate prize in 1878 for the poem
Ravenna. He subsequently established
himself in London society as a champion of the new Aesthetic movement,
advocating "art for art's sake," and publishing reviews and his
Poems (1881). After being satirized (and
made famous) as Bunthorne, the fleshly aesthetic poet in Gilbert and Sullivan's
Patience, he made a year-long lecture tour
of the United States, speaking on literature and the decorative arts. After his return
to London, he married Constance Lloyd in 1884; they had two sons, Cyril and
Vyvyan Holland. In 1891 he met and began a love affair with the handsome but
temperamental poet, Lord Alfred Douglas.
The 1890s saw both Wilde's greatest literary triumphs and his tragic
downfall. His only novel,
The Picture of Dorian Gray, appeared in
1891. The most famous of his witty social comedies--
Lady Windermere's Fan (1892),
A Woman of No Importance (1893),
An Ideal Husband (1895), and
The Importance of Being Earnest
(1895)--were written and produced for the London stage. But in 1895,
after becoming entangled in an unsuccessful libel suit against Douglas's
father, Wilde was prosecuted for homosexuality. Convicted, he was sentenced to
two years' hard labor.
While in prison, Wilde wrote
De Profundis, a letter to Douglas, and
after his release, he published the long poem,
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898). But
despite these final works, his career was essentially over. Bankrupt and in
exile, his health ruined in prison, he died in Paris in 1900.
Scope and Content
The overall Oscar Wilde and His Literary Circle Collection is comprised of
correspondence, draft manuscripts, notebooks, photographs, drawings, newspaper
clippings and other items that reflect the life of Oscar Wilde and his colleagues in the context
of their contemporary literary and artistic world. This finding aid describes only the correspondence portion of the larger
Wilde collection. Items described here include correspondence to and from Wilde, his wife Constance, his mother Lady Wilde,
and friends and colleagues, such as Lord Alfred Douglas, More Adey, Christopher Millard, Robert Baldwin Ross, Adela Schuster,
Ada Leverson and many others.
The following correspondence is arranged in alphabetical order by the sender's last name.
Items listed below may include references to the numbers assigned to them in John Charles Finzi's
Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle, and/or their item numbers from the 1929 Dulau auction catalog. Some items may also include references to available microfilm
copies. The Clark Library shelfmark will
always be given, but all unbound materials are also identified by their box and folder numbers.
Items organized by date are organized by the earliest possible date
assignable. The most likely approximation of the date will usually be found in
the shelfmark of each item.
Separately Described Materials
The following finding aids represent other segments of the Oscar Wilde collection at the Clark Library:
The Clark Library also holds the following collections related to or created by other members of Wilde's extended circle:
The following terms and names have been used to index this collection's description in the UCLA Library's online catalog.
It in no way represents a full index of the subjects or correspondents included in this collection. The names
below have been chosen as being the most frequent contributors to the materials
Adey, More, ca. 1859-1942.
Arnold, Frances Wightman.
Beerbohm, Max, Sir, 1872-1956
Bleackley, Horace, 1868-1931
Burdett, Osbert, 1885-1936
Burnand, F. C. (Francis Cowley), Sir, 1836-1917
Courtney, W. L. (William Leonard), 1850-1928
Croft-Cooke, Rupert, 1903-1980
Derry, Georges, 1886-
Douglas, Alfred Bruce, Lord, 1870-1945
Egerton, George, 1859-1945
Ellis, S. M. (Stewart Marsh)
Galton, Arthur, 1852-1921
Hansell, Arthur D.
Harris, Frank, 1855-1931.
Hichens, Robert Smythe, 1864-1950
Holland, Vyvyan Beresford, 1886-1967
Holman, H. Martin
Image, Selwyn, 1849-1930
Jackson, Holbrook, 1874-1948
Lane, John, 1854-1925
Ledger, Walter E.
Millard, Christopher, 1872-1927
Moore, George, 1852-1933
Mosher, Thomas Bird, 1852-1923
Queensberry, Sibyl (Montgomery) Douglas,
marchioness of, 1844-1936
Richards, Grant, 1872-1948
Ricketts, Charles S., 1866-1931
Ross, Robert Baldwin, 1869-1918
Rothenstein, William, 1872-1945
Searle, W. Townley
Sherard, Robert Harborough, 1861-1943
Smithers, Leonard C. (Leonard Charles), 1861-1907
Symons, A. J. A. (Alphonse James Albert),
Turner, Reggie, 1869?-1938
Wilde, Constance, 1858-1898
Wilde, Lady, 1826-1896
Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900
Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900--Archives.
Authors and publishers--Correspondence.