Description of contents
Title: Leonard Sidney Woolf Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1900-1918
Woolf, Leonard Sidney
Extent: 67 pieces
The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
Sotheby's, Dec. 13, 1975.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information
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[Identification of item], Leonard Sidney Woolf Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
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