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At a Glance
Arranged into three series.
Contains correspondence, letterbook, manuscripts, typescripts, documents, photographs, microfilm, and other printed materials by and about Frederick William Rolfe"Baron Corvo" (1860-1913). This collection includes Rolfe's letters to Fr. C. S. Beauclerk, S.J. written while they both lived in Holywell, to H. C. Bainbridge and Grant Richards while Rolfe lived in London, and to others. There are typescript copies of his letters to R. M. Dawkins, Charles Masson Fox, and J. J. Walsh. In the letterbooks of 1909-1910, Rolfe kept copies of his letters sent from Venice to many recipients. There are also 33 manuscripts by Rolfe, including parts of his books, IN HIS OWN IMAGE ("More Stories Toto Told Me"), HUBERT'S ARTHUR, and AMICO DI SANDRO, as well as short stories, essays, and poems. Finally, there are sections of two tree trunks, with carvings by Rolfe, from Seaton House, Aberdeen where he was a tutor for the Hay family.
The collection also contains 19 letters from Rolfe collector A. J. A. Symons to Grant Richards, along with letters received by Symons in preparing his 1934 study of Rolfe, THE QUEST FOR CORVO. Several manuscripts and documents by Rolfe's contemporaries and collectors concern Rolfe. There are also periodical articles, booksellers' catalogs, and other printed materials by and about Rolfe.
The collection was given the name Martyr Worthy Collection of Frederick William Rolfe by its assembler, David Roth, after the English village of Martyr Worthy in which Roth lived.
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.
This collection has no restrictions.
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); David Roth Martyr Worthy collection of Frederick William Rolfe papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material
Stuart B. Schimmel collection of Frederick Rolfe papers, A collection of Frederick Rolfe manuscripts and related materials assembled by the Greenwich, Connecticut book collector Stuart B. Schimmel.
Columbia University collection of Frederick Rolfe papers, A collection of Frederick Rolfe manuscripts and related materials assembled by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Miriam J. Benkovitz papers, Benkovitz was a Frederick Rolfe biographer, book collector, and English professor at Skidmore College. The Benkovitz papers include materials related to her biography of Rolfe.
Ned Edward Hoopes papers, Hoopes was another Frederick Rolfe biographer; his papers include notes and other materials related to that work.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Rare Book and Manuscript Library purchased the collection from David Roth in 1984.
A small addition of clippings, typescripts of letters, and ephemera was given to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library by David Roth's sons in 1995.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Rolfe collection entered in AMC 11/28/1990
65 additional items processed by HR, 05/17/2000
Finding aid written by CLB, May 2018
In addition to manuscripts and printed ephemera, the collection also originally contained books by and about Frederick Rolfe, all but two of which were individually cataloged and incorporated into the Rare Book and Manuscript Library's book collections. The remaining two books are located in Box 5.
The collection was formerly called the Martyr Worthy Collection of Frederick William Rolfe. Its name was changed in May 2018 in order to incorporate the name of its collector in compliance with DACS 2.0 rules.
2018-05-25 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
David Roth was a book collector who lived in the English village of Martyr Worthy, Hampshire.
Frederick William Rolfe (1860-1913), whose pen name was Baron Corvo, authored numerous books and stories. Amongst the most famous are the Toto stories, HADRIAN THE SEVENTH, called by some the greatest ecclesiastical novel ever to be written, and the masterpiece THE DESIRE AND PURSUIT OF THE WHOLE. To say that Rolfe was at times eccentric, acerbic and petulant is understatement, but he was also an excellent story teller, conversationalist and amateur athlete. His life of trials and tribulations ended in 1913, when he died in Venice at the age of 53.