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Paul and Lucie Léon collection of James Joyce, 1920-1971

 Collection
Identifier: 1984-005

Scope and Contents

Consists of correspondence between Paul and/or Lucie Léon and James Joyce and other friends, colleagues, and fellow Joyceans; page proofs for Finnegan’s Wake and page proofs for James Joyce and Paul Léon (listed separately in the McFarlin bibliographic catalog), the Story of a Friendship by Lucie Léon Noël; over 60 photographs and photo-negatives of James Joyce, the Léons, colleagues and friends, and Joyce family members; and a blue/white striped tie once belonging to James Joyce, a porcelain lion (a gift to the Léons from James Joyce), press cuttings pertaining to Joyce, theatre programs, exhibition announcements, book seller catalogues, etc.
The Léons came to Paris in the 1920s via London as Russian exiles after the Boshevik Revolution and established a close friendship with Nora and James Joyce, until the darker years of World War II dispersed them tragically. Still together in 1940 as refugees in the unoccupied zone of Vichy France, they were separated toward the end of that year: the Joyces went into exile in neutral Switzerland, but the Leons returned to Nazi-occupied Paris when their finances ran out, lured back by Lucie's job at the Paris Herald Tribune and their possessions in their Paris apartment.
Paul Léon was arrested soon after by the Gestapo and died in a German camp in Silesia in 1942. While he was imprisoned, the Gestapo came to the Leon residence searching for the valuable items they assumed would be there - first editions of James Joyce's works, which were already worth a great deal of money. Lucie Léon had hidden them away where the Gestapo could not get to them and retrieved them after the war, continuing to add to them as publications and memorabilia accumulated. This is the collection that was acquired by the University of Tulsa, thanks to a generous donor.
The Léon Collection is actually two interconnected collections, each a testimony to the friendship that first began in Paris in 1928. The first consists of Joyce's gifts to his friend and collaborator Paul Léon and include the first editions, the porcelain lion and Joyce's necktie, the postcards, and the photographs. The second group of items are those that Lucie Léon went on to collect after the war. A new era of Joyce scholarship had begun after Joyce's death, and Lucie Léon proved to be an avid collector of secondary material, as well as a collector of old first editions of even the most obscure Joyce items (such as French translations of Joyce works and out-of-the-way printings). In addition, she maintained a constant correspondence with a new generation of Joyce scholars, many of whom came to Paris to interview her. The letters, cards, and telegrams affirm her commitment to the memory of James Joyce and to his genius and it is apparent that the collection is dedicated to their friendship. This collection of James Joyce related material includes postcards and several rare photographs.
Scope and Contents SEE ALSO EXTERNAL DOCUMENTS FOR BOOKS AND BOOK MATERIALS

Books and certain book materials were removed from the archival collection and are housed as book materials. These are listed together under the subject heading "Paul and Lucie Léon Library" in the McFarlin Bibliographic catalog.

Dates

  • 1920 - 1971

Creator

Language

These materials are in English and French.

Access

This material is open for research use by any registered reader.

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.

Extent

2 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 oversize box)

Physical Location

Collection shelved on 3rd floor, and 5th floor oversize shelves.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase
Title
Paul and Lucie Léon collection of James Joyce, 1920-1971
Status
Completed
Author
Milissa Burkart
Date
2002 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

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

Contact:
McFarlin Library
University of Tulsa
2933 E. 6th St
Tulsa 74104-3123 US US
918-631-2496
918-631-5022 (Fax)