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Rupert Hart-Davis archive, Undated

Identifier: 1999-002

Scope and Contents

The library of Sir Rupert Hart-Davis, publisher, editor, author and man of letters, contains over 18,000 volumes, many with letters and other correspondence tucked in. A man who enjoyed extraordinary position within the publishing profession, Hart-Davis was the literary executor for such authors as Edmund Blunden, Sir Max Beerbohm, Sir Hugh Walpole, and the poet, Siegfried Sassoon, all who entrusted to him what they cared about most. As an editor, Hart-Davis produced volumes of the letters of Oscar Wilde, Max Beerbohn and George Moore, and edited the diaries of Siegfried Sassoon. He also published six volumes of literary correspondence with his former teacher at Eton College, George Lyttleton, a writer. In addition, Hart-Davis wrote a biography of Hugh Walpole (1952) and a memoir titled The Arms of Time in 1979. A common practice, evidenced in the library, is Sir Rupert's habit of slipping a letter from an author into a copy of one of their books. Hundreds of letters were removed from the books by Lady Hart-Davis as the strain on the bindings increased, but hundreds of other letters, clippings and notes have yet to be discovered within the volumes. A few of the authors whose correspondence is represented include Rebecca West, W. Somerset Maugham, Edmund Wilson, and Richard Ellmann. The library includes an exceptionally strong collection of novels and personal correspondence of Edmund Blunden, an English writer who is best known for his World War I memoir Undertones of War. This library also includes a substantial manuscript collection from such authors as Sir Hugh Walpole (manuscripts of four of his novels and his Book of Prefaces), Henry James, W. B. Yeats, George Moore, letters from T. S. Eliot, caricatures by Sir Max Beerbohm, and many Siegfried Sassoon letters. These are just a few of the authors represented in the collections and many of the volumes contain interesting inscriptions and notes. Sir Rupert Hart-Davis started in publishing as an office boy at the publishing house William Heinemann Ltd. in London in 1929. He later bought a stake in Jonathan Cape Ltd. which he joined as a director in 1933. He founded his own publishing company, Rupert Hart-Davis Ltd. in 1946. This collection was acquired from Sir Rupert Hart-Davis in 1983 and the University of Tulsa took possession of the materials in December 1999 upon the death of Hart-Davis. This collection is unprocessed.


  • Undated



These materials are in multiple languages, primarily English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection remains unprocessed with the exception of the Julien Maclaren-Ross correspondence.

Use and Copyright

This material is owned by the University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections. Unpublished manuscripts are under copyright. Therefore, permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from both the repository and the copyright holder.


1428 Linear Feet (16513 volumes (2006 count) + boxes containing manuscripts, photographs, correspondence, and ephemera. (90.5 linear feet=181 boxes.))

Physical Location

Collection boxes shelved on 3rd floor. RHD books shelved in Satin Room and 4th floor.

Immediate Source of Acquisition



A partial paper Finding Aid exists.

Rupert Hart-Davis archive, Undated
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections & University Archives Repository

McFarlin Library
University of Tulsa
2933 E. 6th St
Tulsa 74104-3123 USA
(918) 631-2496