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At a Glance
Arranged into two series.
Series I is primarily correspondence between Frederick William Rolfe and John Lane, whose Bodley Head publishing house published many of the leading writers of the 1890s. Most of the correspondence was published in WITHOUT PREJUDICE: ONE HUNDRED LETTERS FROM FREDERICK WILLIAM ROLFE (BARON CORVO) TO JOHN LANE. Folders containing Rolfe letters to Lane, which were not published in that work, are noted as such. The collection also contains letters written by Rolfe to Grant Richards, H. J. Jenkins, Frederic Chapman, C.B. D'Arcy, Edward Slaughter, and Hubert Bland. The majority of the letters pertain to the publishing of Rolf's translation of the RUBAIYAT. One original Rolfe manuscript, a 1907 dedication to Innocent the Great, is also included.
Series II contains correspondence among collectors, mostly to Donald G. Brien, about their Rolfe collections and the life and works of Rolfe. Among these correspondents are David Roth, A.J.A. Symons, Julian Symons, Donald Weeks, and Cecil Woolf. These letters date from between 1940 and 1961. Roth's letters, written between 1952 and 1956, discuss his Martyr Worthy collection of Frederick Rolfe papers, which were acquired by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1984. The series also contains several folders of Miriam Benkovitz's notes and drafts for her biography of Rolfe, which was published in 1977, and reproductions of photographs by Rolfe.
The collection was previously called the Frederick Rolfe papers. The name was changed to more clearly differentiate it from other assembled collections of Frederick Rolfe materials at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and to reflect that it was assembled by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
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); Columbia University collection of Frederick Rolfe papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material
Stuart B. Schimmel collection of Frederick Rolfe papers, Another collection of Frederick Rolfe manuscripts and related materials at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, this one assembled by the book collector Stuart B. Schimmel.
David Roth Martyr Worthy collection of Frederick William Rolfe papers, The Rare Book and Manuscript Library's most extensive collection of Frederick Rolfe materials, assembled by the English book collector David Roth and named after the Hampshire village in which he lived.
Miriam J. Benkovitz papers, Benkovitz, a Frederick Rolfe biographer, book collector, and English professor at Skidmore College, donated some of the Rolfe materials incorporated into this collection. Further materials related to her biography of Rolfe are located in the Benkovitz papers.
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 collection was acquired by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library through gifts and purchases from several sources, beginning in the late 1970s. The first group of materials acquired was Donald G. Brien's correspondence with Rolfe collectors. In 1986, Miriam Benkovitz contributed two Rolfe letters to Hubert Bland and one manuscript, along with several folders of her notes and drafts for her biography of Rolfe, and reproductions of photographs by Rolfe. The photographs were used in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library's 1986 Rolfe exhibition. The final group of materials, the Rolfe letters to John Lane, Grant Richards, H. J. Jenkins, Frederic Chapman, C.B. D'Arcy, and Edward Slaughter, was purchased in 1992.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Papers: Source of acquisition--various funds. Method of acquisition--purchase; Date of acquisition--09/30/92. Accession number--M-92-09-30.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
The collection was formerly called the Frederick Rolfe papers. Its name was changed in May 2018 in order to differentiate it from the other two assembled collections of Frederick Rolfe materials at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, to clarify that it was assembled by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and to comply with DACS 2.0 rules.
A cataloging error identified a group of Rolfe collectors' letters, mostly to Donald G. Brien, as being components of the Stuart B. Schimmel collection of Frederick Rolfe papers (MS #1081). Those materials are in fact components of this collection.
This collection was processed by HR, BRC, HEW, and JSM. Finding aid written by CLB in May 2018.
2018-05-24 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Frederick William Rolfe, 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.