University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

William Butler Yeats:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Collection Summary

Creator: Yeats, William Butler, 1865-1939.
Title: William Butler Yeats Collection
Dates: 1872-1970
Abstract: Typescripts and page proofs of works and letters from the author make up the bulk of the William Butler Yeats Collection.
RLIN Record # TXRC02-A7
Extent: 11 boxes (4.62 linear feet) and 1 galley folder
Repository: Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin, Ireland, the eldest of four children born to Susan Pollexfen and John Butler Yeats. While the family lived primarily in Dublin and London, time spent with relatives in County Sligo influenced Yeats' dreams and aspirations. In Sligo he learned the folk lore, myths, and legends which provided the structure and background for so much of his poetry.

An uninspired student, Yeats spent five years at the Godolphin Day School while his father studied painting in London. Upon the family's return to Ireland in 1880 he attended Erasmus High School before being sent to the Metropolitan Art School. His artistic talent proved to be as indifferent as his scholarship, but he came away from the experience with a lifelong friend in his fellow student George William Russell. Russell may have provided impetus to what became Yeats' lifelong interest in mysticism and the occult.

Yeats' first published poems appeared in The Dublin University Review in 1885. By 1889 Yeats was able to publish an entire volume of poems, The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. When Maud Gonne, an actress and Irish nationalist, sought an introduction to Yeats to praise Oisin, Yeats fell immediately in love with her and she became a fixture in his imagination and poetry. She refused his many offers of marriage; however, she encouraged his involvement in the Irish Nationalist movement, thereby adding another dimension to his work.

The 1890s were busy and pivotal for Yeats. His family had returned to London where he co-founded and participated in the Rhymers club with Ernest Rhys, Richard Le Gallienne, Arthur Symons, and Oscar Wilde, among others. He founded the Irish Literary Society in London and in Dublin the National Literary Society, which spread throughout Ireland. During the same period, Yeats began to envision an Irish National Theatre, partly as a vehicle for his first effort at play writing, The Countess Cathleen, but also because he had begun to develop an idea of transforming and uplifting the Irish notion of culture through theatre and literature. In 1896, shortly after returning to live permanently in Ireland, he met Lady Gregory who sought to help the habitually impoverished and frequently ill Yeats. She provided him with summers in the country and it was largely through her efforts that the Irish Literary Theatre, later the Abbey Theater, came into being.

An American lawyer, John Quinn, first met Yeats in 1902 and proposed an American lecture tour. Yeats agreed and in 1903-4 he traveled to America appearing at most of the major American colleges and universities, clubs, and societies. He made an excellent impression and returned for similar tours in 1912 (with the Abbey Theatre troupe), 1914, and 1920.

In 1912, Yeats took up fencing at the suggestion and under the direction of his new secretary, Ezra Pound. Pound also introduced Yeats to Japanese Noh drama, which became a strong influence on his later theatrical works. In 1917, Yeats bought Thoor Ballyle, a stone tower near Coole Park. In the same year, the 52-year-old Yeats married Georgie Hyde-Lee, who was 26. The marriage was a happy one and the couple had two children, Anne Butler (1919) and William Michael (1921).

The year 1922 saw the start of the Irish Civil War, during which Yeats supported the pro-treaty governments, and the death of his father in New York. In 1923 Yeats received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Over the next decade Yeats' health slowly declined; however he continued to write and take an active part in the new politics of Ireland. He worked on a committee to advise the government on a new coinage and in 1928 he served a term in the Irish Senate. By 1936 he was suffering from serious heart problems and nephritis and in January 1939 he died in France. His was originally buried in Roquevurne, France, but in 1948 his remains were reinterred in Drumcliff, County Sligo.

Scope and Contents

Typescripts and page proofs of works and letters from the author make up the bulk of the W. B. Yeats Collection, 1872-1970. The collection is organized into four series: Series I. Works, 1887-1939 (4.5 boxes); Series II. Correspondence, 1891-1938 (4.5 boxes); Series III. Yeats Family, 1872-1970 (1 box); and Series IV. Third-Party Works and Correspondence, 1905-1970 (1 box). This collection was previously accessible through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project. Titles of all works and names of all correspondents are indexed at the end of this guide.

The works series contains page proofs from many of Yeats' volumes of poetry and plays including The Countess Cathleen, The Wanderings of Oisin, and Wild Swans at Coole,Other Verses and A Play in Verse. In addition is a draft for a proposed eleven volume series of Yeats' work. These volumes are represented by proofs pages from previous publications, rearranged with notes and insertions. A number of individual holograph and typescript poems are also present.

The correspondence series overwhelmingly is made up of letters from Yeats to friends and publishers. Of particular note among his correspondents are Mabel Beardsley, Edmund Dulac, Joseph M. Hone, William Horton, George Russell, and Fisher Unwin. Letters to Yeats are grouped together in a single folder and a lively correspondence between Yeats and Thomas Sturge Moore carried out between 1901 and 1936, is present at the end of the series.

Series III is made up of works and correspondence from members of the Yeats family, including Elizabeth Corbet, Georgie Lees, Jack Butler, John Butler, and Lily. Of particular interest in this series is a set of W. B. Yeats' hand prints on two sheets of paper.

Series IV contains works and letters by and between friends and associates of the Yeats' family. Edmund Dulac's musical score for At the Hawk's Well, Pamela Hickson's "The Fair Youth of Yeats," and James P. O'Reilly's "W.B. Yeats and Undergraduate Oxford," are present, as is correspondence from Russell Alspach to his co-editor R. L. Dewilton, and James F. Drake, Inc.'s letters to Elizabeth and Jack Butler Yeats.

Elsewhere in the Ransom Center are 40 photographs of Yeats, his family, and people and places associated with him, located in the Literary Files of the Photography Collection. Also present are 17 vertical files containing newspaper clippings covering the publication and criticism of Yeats' work, as well as biographical and printed material. Portraits and drawings of Yeats appear in about a dozen collections in the Art Collection, as well as a group of materials from Yeats' personal art collection. Other materials related to W. B. Yeats may be found in the following manuscript collections at the Ransom Center:

  • Armstrong, Terence Ian Eytton
  • Bax, Clifford
  • Blunden, Edmund Charles
  • Casey, Sean
  • Church, Richard
  • Clarke, Austin
  • Coppard, Alfred Edgar
  • Craig, Edward Gordon
  • Cunard, Nancy
  • Dulac, Edmund
  • Ervine, St. John Greer
  • Flint, Frank Stewart
  • Garnett, Edward
  • Garvin, James Louis
  • Gogarty, Oliver St. John
  • Granville-Barker, Harley Granville
  • Johnston, Edward
  • Low, Joseph Farnsworth
  • MacNamara, Brinsley
  • MacNeice, Louis
  • Marsh, Edward Howard
  • Masefield, John
  • Moore, George
  • Morrell, Ottoline Violet Anne
  • Cavendish Bentinck, Lady
  • Morrison, George E.
  • Palmer, Herbert Edward
  • Payne, Leonidas Warren
  • PEN
  • Pound, Ezra Loomis
  • Reid, Forrest
  • Rodgers, William Robert
  • Russell, George William
  • Scott-James, Rolfe Arnold
  • Shaw, George Bernard
  • Sitwell, Edith, Dame
  • Strong, Leonard Alfred George
  • Synge, John Millington
  • Ussher, Arland
  • Warner, Rex
  • Wilde, Oscar
  • Young, Stark



Open for research

Index Terms

Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-.
Beardsley, Mabel, 1871-1916.
Buss, Kate.
Dulac, Edmund, 1882-1953.
Farr, Florrence, 1860-1917.
Gonne, Maud, 1866-1953.
Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932.
Hickson, Pamela.
Hone, Joseph M. (Joseph Maunsell), 1882-1959.
Horton, W.T. (William Thomas), 1864-1919.
Moore, T. Sturge (Thomas Sturge), 1870-1944.
Russell, George William, 1867-1935.
Squire, John Collings, Sir, 1884-1958.
Wellington, Dorothy, 1889-1956.
Unwin, T. Fischer (Thomas Fischer), 1848-1935.
James F. Drake, Inc.
Dulac, Edmund, 1882-1953.
Ballads, English, Ireland.
English poetry.
Folklore, Ireland.
Irish drama (English), History and criticism.
Theatre, Ireland, History.
Document Types
Galley proofs.
Prompt books.

Administrative Information


Purchases, 1950-1980

Processed by:

Chelsea Dinsmore, 2002


Dictionary of Literary Biography -- Volume 19: British Poets, 1880-1914.Donald E. Stanford, ed.
Gale Research Company,

William Butler Yeats Collection--Folder List

I. Works, 1887-1939

Box Folder
1 1 A-K
2 "At the grey round of the hills...," holograph with author revisions and note, 1917, 1p
The Countess Cathleen
Box Folder
1 3 Prompt copy with author revisions, nd, 96pp
4-5 Two sets of page proofs with author revisions, 1898, 142pp each
6 Page proofs with author revisions, 1912, 108pp
7 The Hour Glass, holograph with author revisions, ca. 1903
8 "King Goll," holograph with author revisions, notes and photocopies, 1887
9 L-Z
10 Oedipus at Colonus, typescript with author revisions, 78pp
Box Folder
2 1 "An Old Song Resung," bound holgraph with author revisions, nd, 1p
2-3 "Per Amica Silientia Lunae," two holograph versions with author revisions and additional pages, 1920, 72pp
4 A Reverie Over Childhood and Youth, typescript with author revisions, 1914, 110pp
5 Various holograph poems, holograph letter, and newsclippings in a bound volume, 1916-1930
6 The Wanderings of Oisin, page proofs with author revisions, 1889, 156pp
7 Wild Swans at Coole, Other Verses and A Play in Verse, page proofs with holograph additions and author revisions, 1917, 43pp
8-9 The Winding Stair, typescript and paste-up for first edition with author revisions throughout, 1928-29
Collected Poetry and Prose, page proofs and typescript indices, 1937-1939
Box Folder
2 10 List of contents and description of proposed eleven volume project
11 Volume 1
Box Folder
3 1-5 Volume 2
6 Volume 3
7 Volume 4
8 Volume 5
9 Volume 6
Box Folder
4 1-2 Volume 7
3-4 Volume 8
5 Volume 9
6 Volume 10
Box Folder
5 1 Volume 10, cont.
2-3 Volume 11
4-5 Page proofs and photocopies from various volumes
6-7 Draft holograph tables of content, 22pp

II. Correspondence, 1891-1938

Outgoing, 1891-1938
Box Folder
5 8 A-B
9 Beardsley, Mabel
Box Folder
6 1 "Twenty-One Letters to Mabel Beardsley," edited with an introduction by Hazard Adams, nd, 67pp
2 Bullen, Arthur Henry
3 C-G
4-5 Dulac, Edmund
6 H-K
7 Higgins, F. R.
8 Hone, Joseph Maunsell
9 Horton, William T.
Box Folder
7 1-2 Horton, William T., cont.
3 L-O
4 MacDonagh, Thomas
5 Matthews, Elkin
6 Milligan, Alice L.
7 P-Z
8 Russell, George William
Box Folder
8 1 Squire, John C., Sir
2 Unwin, T. Fisher
3 Incoming, A-Z; unidentified
4-5 Moore, Thomas Sturge, 1901-1936
Box Folder
9 1-4 Moore, Thomas Sturge, cont.

III. Yeats Family, 1872-1970

Yeats, Elizabeth Corbet
Box Folder
10 1 Diary entry; two receipts; and correspondence, A-Z, unidentified, 1888-1939
2 Buss, Kate, 1917-1924
3 James F. Drake, Inc., 1920-1936
4 Yeats, Georgie Lees, correspondence, 1918-1945
Yeats, Jack Butler
Box Folder
10 5 Correspondence, 1901-1952
6 MacGowran, Jack, 1949-1956
Yeats, John Butler
Box Folder
10 7 Correspondence, 1906-1920
8 Yeats, Susan Pollexfen, 1872-1873
Yeats, Lily
Box Folder
10 9 Works and correspondence, 1918-1948
10 Hone, Joseph Maunsell, 1939-1943
11 Yeats, Michael, correspondence, 1970
12 Yeats, William Butler, signed hand prints and notes, 1932-1933, nd

IV. Third-Party Works and Correspondence

Box Folder
10 13 A-H
14* Alspach, Russell K. to R. L. Dewilton, 1963-1970
(*galley files for the Variorum Edition of the Plays of W. B. Yeats, edited by Alspach, removed to galley folder 1)
15 Dulac, Edmund, music for At the Hawk's Well, holograph, typescript and page proofs versions with author notations, 1920-1921, 49pp
Hickson, Pamela
Box Folder
11 1 "The Fair Youth of Yates," typescript and carbon copy with author revisions, 1957, 160pp
2 Correspondence with Harry Ransom re publication of "The Fair Youth of Yates" in The Texas Quarterly, 1957-1966
3 I-Z
James F. Drake, Inc.
Box Folder
11 4 Correspondence with Elizabeth C. Yeats, 1920-1936 (fragile)
5 Correspondence with Jack Butler Yeats, 1921-1930 (fragile)
6 Maxwell, William, The Dun Emer Press and the Cuala Press, bound volume with author notes and correspondence, 1932, 67pp
7 Morgan, Louis, "How Writers Work: W.B. Yeats on the Future of Poetry,"
typescript, 1931, 14pp
8 O'Reilly, James P., "W.B. Yeats and Undergraduate Oxford, 1919-1922,"
holograph, 1953, 20pp
9 Reviews of The Wanderings of Oisin,
holograph copies of reviews in a bound volume, handwriting unidentified, 6pp
10 Wedderburn, William, Sir, guestbook with entries by Elizabeth Yeats and other signatures, 1905-1927

William Butler Yeats Collection--Index of Correspondents

Names in bold appear in the RLIN record.

  • The Academy--5.8
  • Addyes-Scott, Reginald A.--10.5
  • Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901- --10.14
  • Armsby-Wilson, R. E.--5.8
  • Bailey, --, Mr.--5.8
  • Beardsley, Mabel, 1871-1916--5.9
  • Beauclerk, --, Miss.--5.8
  • Bigger, Francis Joseph, 1863-1926--5.8
  • Blunt, Wilfrid Scarwen, 1840-1922--5.8, 8.3
  • Brophy, John, 1899-1965--5.8
  • Browne, --, Mr.--5.8
  • Bullen, A.H. (Arthur Henry), 1857-1920--6.2
  • Buss, Kate--10.2, 10.5, 10.7
  • Calvert, D.H.--10.13
  • Cambell, --, Mrs.--6.3
  • Carton, --, Mr.--6.3
  • Chambers, Maria Cristina--See Mena, Maria Cristina
  • Charles Scribners' Son--10.3
  • Chesson, Nora, 1871-1906--6.3
  • Clement, Cyril--6.3
  • Cockerell, Sydney Carlyle, Sir, 1867-1962--6.3
  • Coffey, -- --6.3
  • Colefax, Lady--10.13
  • Cousins, James Henry, 1873-1956--6.3
  • Day, --, Mr.--6.3
  • De Bl├ícam, Aodh, 1891-1951--8.3
  • Doone, Rupert, 1903-1966--10.13
  • Dukes, Ashley, 1885-1959--10.13
  • Dulac, Edmund, 1882-1953--6.4-5, 8.3, 10.4, 10.9
  • Dulac, Helen--6.3, 10.4
  • Duncan, --, Mr.--6.3
  • Duncan, Alan--10.13
  • Dunn, --, Mr.--6.3
  • Elton, Oliver, 1861-1945--10.13
  • Emery, Florrence Farr--See Farr, Florrence
  • Farr, Florrence, 1860-1917--6.3
  • Foden, Gwyneth--6.3, 10.4
  • Gonne, Maud, 1866-1953--6.3, 10.13
  • Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932--6.3, 10.5
  • Guinan, John--6.3
  • Gwynn, Stephen Lucius, 1864-1950--6.3
  • Hackett, --, Mr.--6.6
  • Hall, Agnes--6.6
  • Harris, Frank--6.6
  • Hayward, John, 1905-1965--6.6
  • Heald, Edith Shakleton--10.13
  • Henderson, --, Mr.--6.6
  • Hickson, Pamela--11.2
  • Higgins, F.R. (Frederick Robert), 1896-1941--6.7
  • Hinkson, Katherine Tynan, 1861-1931--6.6
  • Hirth, Mary Martha Mulnix, 1906- --10.11
  • Holloway, Joseph--8.3
  • Hone, Joseph M. (Joseph Maunsell), 1882-1959--6.8, 10.1, 10.4, 10.5, 10.10, 10.13
  • Horton, W.T. (William Thomas), 1864-1919--6.9-7.2
  • Irish Academy of Letters--6.6
  • Jackson, William--10.1
  • James F. Drake, Inc.--10.3, 10.5, 11.4-5
  • John, Augustus, 1878-1961--11.3
  • Joiner, --, Mr.--10.1
  • King, Frederick Allen, 1865-1939--6.6
  • King, Richard Ashe, 1839-1932--6.6
  • Langbridge, Frederick, 1849-1922--7.3
  • Laurie, Thomas Werner--7.3
  • Le Fanu, --, Mrs.--7.3
  • Le Gallienne, Richard, 1866-1947--7.3
  • Llewelyn-Davies, Moya O'Connor--7.3
  • Lovell, Mary--11.3
  • MacBride, Maude Gonne--See Gonne, Maud
  • MacDonagh, Thomas, 1878-1916--7.4
  • MacGowran, Jack, 1918-1973--10.6
  • MacKintosh, Graham--7.3
  • Mann, Maud--8.3
  • Martyn, Edward--11.3
  • Masefield, Constance, d. 1960--7.3
  • Masefield, John, 1878-1967--7.3
  • Matthews, Elkin, 1851-1921--7.3, 7.5, 10.5
  • McCartan, Patrick, 1878-1966--7.3
  • McGibbon, James--8.3
  • Mena, Maria Cristina, 1893-1965--7.3
  • Meynell, Wilfred, 1852-1948--7.3
  • Milligan, Alice, 1866-1953--7.6
  • Monro, Harold, 1879-1932--7.3
  • Moore, T. Sturge (Thomas Sturge), 1870-1944--8.4-9.4
  • Murray, John--7.3
  • Norman, Harry F.--8.3
  • O'Donoghue, David, 1866-1917--7.3
  • O'Leary, John, 1830-1907--7.3
  • O'Reilly, James P.--11.3
  • O'Riordan, Conal, 1874-1948--7.3
  • O'Sullivan, Seumas, 1879-1958--7.3
  • Payne, --, Mr.--7.7
  • Poel, William, 1852-1934--7.7
  • Prokosch, Frederick, 1908- --7.7
  • Quinn, John, 1870-1924--8.3, 11.3
  • Rathay, R.F.--7.7
  • Ray, --, Mr.--7.7
  • Reardon, --, Mr.--7.7
  • Redman, --, Miss--7.7
  • Redway, Frank--11.3
  • Richards, Grant--7.7
  • Riding, Laura, 1901- --7.7
  • Roberts, Ellis--10.1
  • Robinson, Lennox, 1886-1958--7.7
  • Ross, E. Denison (Edward Denison), Sir, 1871-1940--8.3
  • Rossi, Mario Manlio--7.7, 11.3
  • Ruffort, Walter--7.7
  • Rummel, Walter Morse, 1887-1953--7.7
  • Russell, George William, 1867-1935--7.8
  • Schwartz, Jacob--11.3
  • Scribner, --, Mrs.--7.7
  • Shakespear, Olivia--7.7
  • Shaw, George Bernard, 1856-1950--7.7
  • Shorter, Clement King, 1857-1926--7.7
  • Sidgwick, Frank--7.7
  • Smith, --, Mr.--7.7
  • Smyth, Ethel, 1858-1944--11.3
  • Spare, Austin Osman, 1886-1956--7.7
  • Squire, John Collings, Sir, 1884-1958--8.1
  • Starkey, James--See O'Sullivan, Seumas
  • Stone, --, Miss.--7.7
  • Stuart, Francis, 1902- --7.7
  • Stuart, Iseult MacBride--7.7
  • Symmons, Arthur, 1865-1945--7.7
  • Symons, A.J.A. (Alphonse James Albert), 1900-1941--10.4
  • Tagore, Rabindranath, 1861-1941--11.3
  • Turner, W.J. (Walter James), 1889-1946--8.3
  • Wellington, Dorothy, 1889-1956--7.7, 11.3
  • Wheelock, John Hall, 1886-1978--11.3
  • Wilson, David--8.3, 11.3
  • Wilson, Rathnell--7.7
  • Wright, --, Mrs.--7.7
  • Unwin, T. Fischer (Thomas Fischer), 1848-1935--8.2
  • Yeats, John Butler, 1839-1922--7.7, 10.7
  • Yeats, Susan Pollexfen--10.8

William Butler Yeats Collection--Index of Works

  • Chambers, Maria Cristine-- Personal Glimpses: William Butler Yeats--10.13
  • Dulac, Edmund--
    • "A report on a visit paid to Mr. David Wilson..."--10.13
    • "Music and Poetry" --10.13
    • Music for At the Hawk's Well--10.15
  • Foden, Gwenyth-- Review of Last Poems of W.B. Yeats--10.13
  • Gonne, Maude-- Yeats and Ireland--10.13
  • Hamilton, Ian Standish--
    • Reminiscenses of W.B. Yeats--10.13
    • The Irish Times
    • William Butler Yeats--11.3
  • Jones, M. Pryce-- W.B. Yeats, died 28/1/39--11.3
  • Llewelyn-Davies, Moya-- W.B. Yeats and Bertrand Russell
  • Maxwell, William--The Dun Emer Press and the Cuala Press--11.6
  • Morgan, Louis-- "How Writers Work: W.B. Yeats on the Future of Poetry" --11.7
  • O'Reilly, James P.-- "W.B. Yeats and Undergraduate Oxford, 1919-1922" --11.8
  • Robinson, Lennox-- "Address to be made..." --11.3
  • Rossi, Mario M.-- Yeats and Philosophy--11.3
  • Salkeld, Cecil-- Memories of W.B. Yeats--11.3
  • Yeats, Lily--
    • Account of Yeats' Family and Childhood--10.9
    • Notes on W. B. Yeats--10.9
  • Yeats, William Butler--
    • "All things can tempt me" --1.1
    • Anima Hominis--1.1 (with this: The Countess Cathleen)
    • Astrological chart--1.1
    • "At the grey round of the hills..." --1.2
    • The Ballad of Earl Paul--1.1
    • The Countess Cathleen in Paradise--1.1, 1.3-6
    • The Dreaming of the Bone--1.1
    • A Fairy Song--1.1
    • Four Plays for Dancers: Preface--1.1
    • A Full Moon in March--1.1
    • Genealogical Tree of Revolution--1.1
    • The Green Helmet and Other Poems--1.1
    • The Hour Glass--1.7
    • "If any man draw near..." --1.1
    • In Memory of Robert Gregory--1.1
    • Introduction for My Plays--1.1
    • Introduction for My Work--1.1
    • Introduction to Essays--1.1
    • King Goll--1.8
    • The Lake Isle of Innisfree--1.9
    • "Never give all the heart...--1.9
    • Oedipus at Colonus--1.10
    • "An Old Song Resung--2.1"
    • On those that hated the `playboy of the Western World'--1.9
    • Per Amica Silientia Lunae--2.2-3
    • Pigeon Irish--1.9
    • Reader's Opinion on "Gumbeenism"--1.9
    • A Reverie Over Childhood and Youth--2.4
    • Roger Casement--1.9
    • The Song of Wandering Aengus--1.9
    • The Sorrow of Love--1.9
    • Three Songs to the Same Tune--1.9
    • "To a friend..." --1.9
    • Two Songs from a Play--1.9
    • A Vision: Introduction--1.9
    • The Wanderings of Oisin--2.6
    • Wild Swans at Coole, Other Verses and a Play in Verse--2.7
    • The Winding Stair--2.8-9