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Inventory of the Leonard Sidney Woolf Papers, 1900-1918
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Subject matter
  • Description of contents

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Leonard Sidney Woolf Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1900-1918
    Creator: Woolf, Leonard Sidney
    Extent: 67 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Sotheby's, Dec. 13, 1975.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Leonard Sidney Woolf Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Subject matter

    Letters from Woolf to Saxon Arnold Sydney-Turner, a college roommate and friend and one of the group of "Apostles" at Cambridge. The letters tell of Woolf's activities and projects while on vacation from Cambridge, of his life as a Civil Servant in Sri Lanka, and a few treat the period after his return to England.

    Description of contents

    38 letters date from Woolf's college days at Cambridge and they treat a variety of scholastic subjects (his reading of Plato, Byron etc.) on which he was working during his vacations. Lytton Strachey is mentioned frequently in the letters as some incident concerning him or a fragment of a letter from him is reported.
    22 letters date from the period when Woolf served as a Civil Servant in Sri Lanka and they are written from a number of cities and remote outposts throughout the country (Jaffna, Kandy, Hanbantota, Marichchukkadi etc.). Woolf describes with humor his life in Sri Lanka, especially the change in the state of his mind brought on by the long hours of work, the heat, and the isolation from the kind of society he had been used to. Among other things, he describes a public hanging, a meeting of a local Shakespeare society, and his experience of becoming ill in a remote village on one of his circuits of the territory.
    4 letters date from the period after his return to England in 1911. 1 letter was written from Spain during his honeymoon there, describing his and Virginia's efforts to communicate with the locals and the omnipresent smell of "stale urine".
    Most of the letters do not concern literary matters.
    There are two poems by Woolf contained in the letters:
    • 1) "2:30 AM" in a letter dated Apr. 17, 1901 HM 42126
    • 2) "To Ponamma" in a letter dated June 12, 1910 HM 42179
    A "chronological list of mystics", written during Woolf's school days groups various "mystics" by time and nationality. HM 42119