University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Maurice Saillet:

An Inventory of His Collection of Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company in the Carlton Lake Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Saillet, Maurice, 1914-1990
Title: Carlton Lake Collection of Maurice Saillet, Sylvia Beach, and Shakespeare and Company
Dates: 1917-1976
Abstract: The collection relates primarily to Sylvia Beach's Paris bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, and to James Joyce's Ulysses.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-04960
Extent: 4 boxes (1.68 linear feet), 1 oversize flat folder
Language: Largely in French, with a few letters in English.
Note: We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which provided funds for the processing and cataloging of this collection.
Repository: Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Sponsor: Collection cataloged with financial assistance from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Biographical Sketch

Maurice Saillet (1914-1990) first met Sylvia Beach in the 1930s when he was employed at Adrienne Monnier's La Maison des Amis des Livres. Saillet and Beach soon became friends and remained close until her death in 1962. Due to his interest in modern French literature Saillet wrote or edited several works in the postwar period featuring Monnier, Beach, Valéry Larbaud, the comte de Lautréamont, and others.

Sylvia Beach was born 14 March 1887 into the family of a Presbyterian minister in Baltimore. Growing up in a home of modest means but considerable learning, Sylvia was early attracted to French culture as the result of her father's 1901 call to the student ministry in Paris. The Beach family's extended residence in Paris confirmed Sylvia's desire to live there, and in 1916 she moved to France permanently.

In 1918 Sylvia Beach met her lifelong friend Adrienne Monnier, and, following Mlle. Monnier's example, in late 1919 Beach opened Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore and lending library specializing in Anglo-American literature. The timing of Beach's venture--coming as it did just as the "lost generation" discovered Paris--made Shakespeare and Company a central feature of the Parisian literary scene of the 1920s.

In addition to her capacity for hard work, Sylvia Beach had the genius for making and keeping friends. Her developing friendship with James Joyce led to her becoming the first publisher of Ulysses in 1922. As publisher, confidant, and friend Beach assisted Joyce personally and financially throughout the 1920s.

Shakespeare and Company struggled--as did many businesses--during the 1930s and finally succumbed to the German occupation of Paris after 1940. Having survived six months' internment and the other rigors of a second world war Sylvia Beach became in the 1950s an embodiment of and voice for the literary and cultural Paris of the 1920s. In 1959 her Joyce collection went to the University of Buffalo; in that same year she was the focus of the exhibition "Les Années vingt," sponsored by the American embassy. Sylvia Beach died in her sleep the night of 5-6 October 1962.

Scope and Contents

The Maurice Saillet collection of Sylvia Beach embraces a significant group of materials documenting Beach's Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company, her activities as the first publisher of James Joyce's Ulysses, and her personal life. The collection contains a significant portion of her personal correspondence, a large group of photographs, together with some business records and ephemera related to Shakespeare and Company. The arrangement of the material is essentially that given it by Maurice Saillet, although a few of the folders have been moved to afford a better topical arrangement.

The collection represents the years 1917 to 1976, with most of the material covering the years from 1919 to 1964. The Parisian literary scene of the 1920s, Adrienne Monnier, James Joyce and other English-speaking authors, and Sylvia Beach herself are the principal subjects. The large correspondence in the collection includes numerous letters from Beach to Monnier and to Maurice Saillet. Among the many persons who wrote to Saillet about Beach are Hélène Baltrusaitis, Bryher, Jackson Mathews, and Charles Mauron.

The Saillet collection is strongest in documenting Sylvia Beach's personal life, especially her relationship with Monnier. The material relating to Shakespeare and Company and to James Joyce is slighter but nevertheless noteworthy. These papers form a part of the Carlton Lake collection at the Ransom Center.



Open for research. Permission from copyright holder must accompany photoduplication requests for James Joyce materials.

Index Terms

Baltrusaitis, Hélène.
Beach, Sylvia.
Bryher, 1894- .
Dudley, Katherine.
Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965.
Gilbert, Stuart.
Jolas, Maria, 1893-1987.
Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930.
Mathews, Jackson.
Mauron, Charles.
Monnier, Adrienne.
Monnier, Marie, 1894-1976.
Porter, Katherine Anne, 1890-1980.
Rice, Howard C. (Howard Crosby), 1904- .
Spender, Stephen, 1909- .
Steinbrugge, Camilla.
Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975.
Joyce, James, 1882-1941.
Shakespeare and Company.
Booksellers and bookselling--France--Paris--Biography.
Paris (France)--Intellectual life.
Document Types
Galley proofs.

Administrative Information


Purchase, 1986

Processed by:

Bob Taylor, 1997

Maurice Saillet Collection of Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company--Folder List

Series I. Shakespeare and Company and James Joyce, 1919-1947

This series is arranged in two subseries: A. Shakespeare and Co., 1919-1947 (7 folders) and James Joyce, 1921-1935 (5 folders).
The materials comprising the series are fragmentary but even so of considerable value in understanding Sylvia Beach's part in promoting Ulysses, as well as the role Shakespeare and Company played in the cultural scene of between-the-wars Paris.
The Shakespeare and Company subseries contains, most significantly, the first register of subscribers of the firm's lending library, beginning 17 November 1919. Also present is a notebook entitled "Livres anglais" which records the books of Shakespeare and Company that Monnier's Maison des Amis des Livres sold after Beach's store was closed in December 1941. A list of subscribers reimbursed by Monnier on Beach's behalf during the wartime years is appended at the end of the notebook.
Also present are a large number of photographs made between 1919 and 1945 depicting Shakespeare and Company, Beach, famous customers (Joyce, Hemingway, Dos Passos, and Pound, among others), as well as an après liberation party held in the fall of 1944 in Beach's apartment.
The subseries also contains a number of ephemeral items, including prospectuses and invitations of Les Amis de Shakespeare and Company, a friends' group established in the early 1930s to assist the firm in the deepening depression.
The Joyce subseries is sketchier than that of Shakespeare and Company, but does include three manuscript fragments of Ulysses, the Beckett and Péron "Anna Lyvia Pluratself" translation in galley proof, together with a list of subscribers for the novel maintained by Beach in the months before its 1922 publication. Ephemeral materials include manifestoes of support for Joyce and Ulysses and early advertising matter.
Materials relating to the Morel and Gilbert French translation of Ulysses include a chronology of publication in the hand of Monnier, together with publishing ephemera and a facsimile of the subscribers' list for the first French edition of 1929.
Subseries A. Shakespeare and Company
262.1 Ephemera and borrowers' cards, 1919-
262.2 Subscribers' list, 1919-
262.3 Account book, 1941-47
262.4 Les Amis de Shakespeare and Company
262.5 Dispersion, 1941-
262.6 1919-1930
262.7 1935-1945
Subseries B. James Joyce
262.8 Ulysses manuscript fragments
262.9 Publication announcements, ca. 1921
262.10 List of subscribers, ca. 1921
262.11 Manifestoes of support; contract with SB
262.12 Ulysse français
os96 "Anna Lyvia Pluratself" galley (located in oversize flat file)

Series II. Sylvia Beach, 1917-1962,

The life Sylvia Beach led away from her bookstore forms the substance of Series II. The major portion of the correspondence in the series is the 121 letters Beach wrote to Adrienne Monnier between 1919 and 1955. A smaller number of letters from Beach to others is included, as are letters (mostly typescript copies) from Monnier to Beach. Other correspondents represented include Camilla Steinbrugge and D. H. Lawrence; there are single letters from Robert McAlmon, André Gide, and Valéry Larbaud. Correspondence (as well as other materials) relating to Beach's wartime internment at Vittel includes six more letters from Beach to Monnier, as well as letters to Monnier from Tudor Wilkinson, Katherine Dudley, and Françoise Bernheim.
A substantial number of photographs are found in the series documenting Beach's visits to the Monnier family at Rocfoin, as well as to her own retreat at Les Déserts in Savoy. Other photographs depict the travels and activities of her later years.
Sylvia Beach's own writing present in the collection include periodical articles, translations, a manuscript of an article on Ezra Pound, and several "notes bibliographiques" on William Bird, William Saroyan, and various French authors. Articles on Beach and obituaries complete the series.
263.1-2, os96 Writings
Correspondence from SB
263.3 To all but Adrienne Monnier, 1917-59
263.4-7 To Adrienne Monnier, 1919-55
263.8 Correspondence to SB
264.1 Rocfoin and the Monnier family
264.2 Les Déserts
264.3 Vittel
264.4 Photos, 1950-62
264.5 Obituaries of SB
264.6 Articles on SB
264.7, os96 Miscellaneous
264.8 Photos of sculpture by Mabel Gardner

Series III. Sylvia Beach and Maurice Saillet, 1942-1976 (bulk 1948-1964)

The years after Shakespeare and Company closed its doors and Adrienne Monnier died form the nucleus of this final series. Beach's extensive correspondence--134 letters--with Monnier's former shop assistant forms the core of the series and gives a view of Beach's activities and interests in the final two decades of her life.
Also included in the series is an extensive group of letters sent Saillet by a wide range of persons about Beach after her 1962 death. These letters indicate the range of her acquaintance: Hélène Baltrusaitis, Samuel Beckett, Cyril Connolly, Stuart Gilbert, Maria Jolas, Jackson Mathews, Charles Mauron, Dorothy Pound, and Thornton Wilder, among many others.
The series concludes with a large group of photographs taken at the exhibition "Les Années vingt" sponsored by the United States Embassy in Paris in 1959. The exhibition used many of Sylvia Beach's books, photographs, and other memorabilia in recreating the literary world of 1920s Paris.
264.9-11 SB to Saillet, 1942-64
265.1-3 Correspondents to Saillet about SB
"Les Années vingt" exhibition
265.4-5 Photos
265.6 Guest register