|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
The collection contains letters and manuscripts by and relating to Wilfred Owen, including seven letters (Nov. 5, 1917 to Oct. 10, 1918) written by Owen to Siegfried L. Sassoon (1886-1967) (English war poet, writer, and soldier). Additional correspondence includes 22 letters from the poet's mother, Mrs. Susan Owen to Sassoon (1921-1933); 28 letters written by the poet's brother, Harold Owen to Sassoon (1921-1966); one letter written by the poet's cousin, Leslie Gunston, to Sassoon (1921), and one letter (1930) to Edmund C. Blunden (1896-1974) (English poet, author and critic). There are also three letters from the Wilfred Owen scholar, Dennis S.R. Welland, to Siegfried Sassoon (1950). Finally, the collection holds one letter from Ian M. Parsons a partner at Chatto and Windus and one letter from the editor John Bell of Oxford University Press to Siegfried Sassoon (1946 and 1965).
The letters from Wilfred Owen to Siegfried Sassoon span the period from shortly after Owen left the Craiglockhart War Hospital to several weeks before Owen's death on November 5, 1918. The correspondence covers the period of Owen's greatest achievement as a war poet and have been published in the Collected Letters OF Wilfred Owen edited by Harold Owen and John Bell (1961).
The correspondence written by Mrs. Susan Owen contain a great deal of information about her son, his manuscripts and papers, and the preparations for the 1931 edition of the Poems edited by Edmund C. Blunden. The Harold Owen letters cover a wide range of subjects and are of particular interest for their information about the writing of his book, Journey from Obscurity: Memoirs of the Owen Family.
There are also three poetry manuscripts in the collection: 1) an autograph manuscript of "The Blind" (published as "The Sentry"), 37 lines, 2 pp. (September 1918); 2) an autograph manuscript of "Spring Offensive" 18 lines, 1 p. (September 1918), early draft of the poem as published in Poems, 1920, edited by Siegfried Sassoon; 3) and autograph manuscript of "Shadwell Stair" 16 lines, 1 p. (circa November 1917).
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located on-site.
Researchers must use published version of Wilfred Owen's letters or photocopies filed with the collection.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Wilfred Owen collection; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--1979. Accession number--M-79.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
1989-08-00 Cataloged Christina Hilton.
2022-05-25 Corrected and edited the Description Summary. Created a box and folder list with enhanced description. cml
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
British World War I poet Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) was killed on the battlefield in France. His book titled Poems was posthumously edited and published by his friend Siegfried Sassoon.