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Leonard Woolf Letters: Finding Aid
mssHM 42119-42183  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Leonard Woolf Letters
    Dates (inclusive): 1900-1918
    Collection Number: mssHM 42119-42183
    Creator: Woolf, Leonard, 1880-1969.
    Extent: 67 pieces in 1 box
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The collection consists primarily of letters from English writer Leonard Woolf (1880-1969) to college roommate and friend Saxon Sydney-Turner, including thirty-eight letters date from Woolf's college days at the University Cambridge, twenty-two are from the period when Woolf served as a civil servant in Sri Lanka, and four letters date from the period after his return to England in 1911. One letter was written from Spain during his honeymoon with his wife, Virginia Woolf. Although most of the letters do not concern literary matters, there are two poems by Woolf in the collection: "2:30 A.M." and "To Ponamma."
    Language: English.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

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

    Provenance

    Purchased from Sotheby's, December 13, 1975.

    Biographical Note

    Leonard Sidney Woolf (1880-1969) was an English author, political essayist, and social reformer. He was a member of the Bloomsbury group--a group of friends, writers, artists, and intellectuals. He was married to author and fellow Bloomsbury member Virginia Woolf.

    Scope and Content

    Letters from English writer Leonard 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.
    Thirty-eight 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.
    Twenty-two 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.
    Four letters date from the period after his return to England in 1911. One 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)

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Arrangement

    Items are arranged in chronological order.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Strachey, Lytton, 1880-1932.
    Woolf, Leonard, 1880-1969 -- Archives.
    Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941.
    University of Cambridge -- Students -- Correspondence.
    Sri Lanka -- Description and travel.
    Sri Lanka -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.

    Forms/Genres

    Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 20th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- Sri Lanka -- 20th century.
    Poems -- Great Britain -- 20th century.
    Poems -- Sri Lanka -- 20th century.

    Contributors

    Sydney-Turner, Saxon, correspondent.