University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

John Lehmann : An Inventory of his Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lehmann, John, 1907-
Title: John Lehmann Collection
Abstract: John Lehmann was a poet, autobiographer, and one of the foremost literary editors of the twentieth century. This collection contains signed manuscripts, typescripts and galley proofs for two books: Poets of the First World War and Three Literary Friendships: Byron and Shelley, Rimbaud and Verlaine, Robert Frost and Edward Thomas. Also included in the collection are book reviews written for the London Sunday Telegraph, an essay for the Dictionary of National Biography, and a draft of a birthday poem for Roy Fuller.
Identification: 1984-002
Quantity: 2 boxes
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Biographical Note

(Rudolph) John Frederick Lehmann, was born on June 2, 1907 at Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, England. Lehmann was educated at Eton, and studied history and modern languages at Trinity College, Cambridge. There his close friendship with Julian Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf, plunged him into the Bloomsbury circle. By 1931 he was working at the Hogarth Press, owned by Woolf and her husband, Leonard. Hogarth Press published his first volume of poems, A Garden Revisited (1931). He briefly left publishing and lived for a time in Austria and the U.S.S.R. as a poet and a journalist prior to the start of World War Two.

His first periodical, New Writing, appeared in 1935 and by 1940 the series reached a broad audience both in Britain and on the frontlines of World War Two. Formatted to fit into the side pockets of combat trousers, it averaged monthly sales of up to 75,000.

Lehmann returned to Hogarth Press in 1938 as a partner and general manager and worked as editor of several anthologies showcasing the works of promising new writers. In 1946 Lehmann established his own publishing company, John Lehmann Limited. After the demise of Lehmann Ltd., he founded and edited London Magazine. He relinquished control over the periodical in 1961 and subsequently wrote several biographies, including Rupert Brooke: His Life and His Legend and Thrown to the Woolfs: Leonard and Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press, and three autobiographies which were collected, revised, and condensed into the book In My Own Time: Memoirs of a Literary Life. Lehmann also wrote several volumes of poetry, including A Garden Revisited and Other Poems and Collected Poems, 1930-1963, and the novels Evil Was Abroad and In a Purely Pagan Sense.

He frequently lectured in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After a long illness and unsuccessful hip operations severely limited his mobility, John Lehmann died on April 7, 1987. The New York Times Book Review, called Lehmann "the greatest British literary editor of his time. . . . There is scarcely a writer [of his generation] in Britain . . . who hasn't at one time or other been grateful for his passionate scrutiny."

Sources :

Gale Literary Databases,"(Rudolph) John (Frederick) Lehmann," (accessed August 31, 2006).

David Hughes. "Lehmann, (Rudolph) John Frederick (1907-1987)," rev., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Petra Rau, University of Portsmouth. "John Lehmann." The Literary Encyclopedia. 21 Mar. 2002. The Literary Dictionary Company.

Scope and Contents

This brief record describes a collection that is not fully processed. No further descriptive information is available at this time. Please contact Special Collections for assistance with this collection.

Princeton University's Rare Books and Special Collections holds another collection of Lehmann Family Papers:


Open for research.


Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Index Terms

Terms are either Library of Congress Subject Headings or taken from local sources.

Subjects (Persons)

Lehmann, John, 1907-

Subjects (Organizations)

Sunday telegraph (London, England)


Poets, English--20th century.
Poets, English--20th century--Biography.


Galley proofs

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John Lehmann Collection, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries


This collection was purchased from Burtram Rota, Booksellers, July 1984.

Detailed Description of the Collection

English Poets of the First World War
Box Folder
1 1-3 Autograph Manuscript Signed
4-8 Carbon Typescript
9 Wagstaff Sue. Typewritten Letter Signed
10-13 Photocopied Typescript with Editor's Note
14-17 Photocopied Typescript (Final Version)
18-24 Author's Page Proofs, Corrected
25 Photocopied Typescript (Captions to Line Drawings)
26 Photocopied Typescript (Revised Captions and Photocopies of Illustrations)

Three Literary Friendships
Box Folder
2 1-6 Autograph Manuscript
7 Autograph Manuscript Notes
8-12 Typewritten Manuscript
13-14 Galley Proof, Corrected

Book Reviews for the London Sunday Telegraph
Box Folder
2 15 Autograph Manuscript. "Siegfried Sassoon: Diaries 1915-18." [1981]
16 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Siegfried Sassoon: Diaries 1915-18." March 13, [1981].
17 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "The Opium Eater: A Life of Thomas DeQuincey." August, 1981
18 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Siegfried Sassoon: Diaries 1920-22." September 26, 1981
19 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Voices From The Great War." October 11, [1981]
20 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Voices From the Great War." October 30, 1981
21 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Voices From the Great War." November 8, [1981]
22 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Harold Nicholson: A Biography." November [1981].
23 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Harold Nicholson: A Biography." [1981].
24 Autograph Manuscript Signed "As I Walked Down New Grub Street." December, 1981
25 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "The Gates of Memory." December, 1981.
26 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Vamp Till Ready." January 4, 1982
27 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Roy Campbell: A Critical Biography." March 26, 1981
28 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Roy Campbell: A Critical Biography." April 4 [1982]
29 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "The Diary of Virginia Woolf." Vol. IV. April 16 [1982]
30 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "I Was an English Poet. A Biography of Sir. William Watson." May 23 [1982].
31 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Roy Campbell: A Critical Biography." June 6 [1982].
32 Autograph Manuscripts Signed. "The Passage of Joy", "The Occasion of Poetry" June 21 [1982].
33 Galley Proof, Corrected. "The Passage of Joy", "The Occasion of Poetry" July 4 [1982].
34 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Bosh and Nonsense" September 16 [1982]
35 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Bosh and Nonsense" September 26 [1982].
36 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "With Duncan Grant in Southern Turkey" September [1982].
37 Galley Proof. "With Duncan Grant in Southern Turkey" September 19 [1982].
38 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Blessings, Kicks, and Curses." November 2 [1982].
39 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "All Strachey's Are Cousins" February 15, 1983.
40 Galley Proof, Corrected. "All Strachey's Are Cousins" February 28, [1983].
41 Autograph Manuscript. "Lydia Lopokova" [May, 1983].
42 Typewritten Carbon. "Lydia Lopokova" May, 1983.
43 Galley Proof. "Lydia Lopokova" May 29, [1983]
44 Autograph Manuscript Signed. "Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir." June, 1983.
45 Galley Proof, Corrected. "Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir." July 10 [1983]

Essay for Dictionary of National Biography
Box Folder
2 46 Autograph Manuscript. "Henry Green."

Draft of poem for Roy Fuller
Box Folder
2 47 Autograph Manuscript