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Lennox Robinson papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

William Butler Yeats correspondence

General correspondence

Fiction Writings

Non fiction writings

Miscellaneous manuscripts and scrapbooks

Lady Gregory and Robinson correspondence


Lennox Robinson papers, 1892-1954 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

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Collection Overview

Title: Lennox Robinson papers, 1892-1954Add to your cart.

ID: 1/4/MSS 091

Primary Creator: Robinson, Lennox, (1886-1958.)

Extent: 18.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Organized into six series:  (1) William Yeats correspondence, (2) General correspondence, (3) Fiction writings, (4) Non fiction writings, (5)  Miscellaneous manuscripts and scrapbooks, and (6) Lady Gregory and Robinson correspondence.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1960

Subjects: Abbey Theatre, Authors, Irish, English literature - Irish authors - 20th century, Robinson, Lennox, 1886-1958.

Forms of Material: Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932 - Correspondence, O'Casey, Sean 1880-1964. - Correspondence, Shaw, Bernard, 1856-1950 - Correspondence, Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939 - Correspondence

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Lennox Robinson Collection contains several correspondence series, 40 play manuscripts including, in most cases, multiple drafts, 3 short stories, much of his non-fiction writings as well as his scrapbook of newspaper clippings and playbills.  In the latter boxes there are some manuscripts of lesser-known writers Robinson collected himself.  Nearly every aspect of this series has to do with Robinson's involvement in Irish Theatre.

Included in the correspondence are the William Butler Yeats letters, the Lay Gregory letters, as well as letters from AE, George Bernard Shaw, Shawn O'Casey, Gerard Fey, Sean O'Faolain, Nora Robinson, Oliver, St. J. Gogarty, And James Stephens.  The letters date, in general, from 1909 to 1954, but also include several postcards sent to his wife Dolly, after his death.

The manuscripts of Robinson's plays include drafts of his earliest plays like Harvest, the more well-known plays like The Clancy Name, White-Headed Boy, The Big House, and The Lost Leader.  The play manuscripts are in carious stages of drafting and completion.  Consequently, they provide an illuminating glimpse into Robinson's composing process from the earliest, roughest sketches through to the final polished products.  He appeared to be continually revising even as he directed the plays on stage.

The non-fiction writings consist of 43 of Robinson's "At the Play" columns as well as several of his essays on Irish topics.  Drafts of his partially autobiographical novel The Boy from Ballineen are collected here.  In addition, this series contains 11 of the "I Sometimes Think" manuscripts as well as over 20 other essays on primarily Irish artists.  These non-fiction manuscripts give insight into Robinson's opinions about theatre and the interplay between director, writer, and actor/actress.  A series of lecture notes, in various staged of completion, show how Robinson approached historically the subject of the Irish Theatre.

Finally, there are three scrapbooks of press cutting, play programs, and posters from the years of Robinson's activity with the Abbey Theatre.

Biographical Note

Esmé Stuart Lennox Robinson (October 4, 1886 - October 15, 1958) was an Irish dramatist, poet and theatre producer and director who was involved with the Abbey Theatre.

Robinson was born and raised in County Cork in a Protestant and Unionist family. His father was a middle-class stockbroker who in 1892 decided to become a clergyman in the Church of Ireland. A sickly child, Robinson was educated by private tutor and at Bandon Grammar School. In August 1907 his interest in the theatre began after he went to see an Abbey production of plays by W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory at the Cork Opera House. He published his first poem that same year.

His first play, The Cross Roads was performed in the Abbey in 1909 and he became Manager of the theatre towards the end of that year. He resigned in 1914 as a result of a disastrous tour of the United States but returned in 1919. He was appointed to the board of the theatre in 1923 and continued to serve in that capacity until his death.

As a playwright, Robinson showed himself as a nationalist with plays like Patriots (1912) and Dreamers (1915). On the other hand, he belonged to a part of Irish society which was not seen as fully Irish. This division between the "pure" Catholic Irish on one side and the Anglo-Irish on the other can be seen in a play such as The Big House (1926), which depicts a burning of such a Protestant manor by Irregulars, or extreme Republicans.

Robinson's most popular play was The Whiteheaded Boy (1916). His fiction includes Eight Short Stories (1919). In 1951 he published Ireland's Abbey Theatre, the first full-length history of the company.

Subject/Index Terms

Abbey Theatre
Authors, Irish
English literature - Irish authors - 20th century
Robinson, Lennox, 1886-1958.

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright.  Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection.  Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Acquisition Source: Purchased.

Acquisition Method: Purchased some letters and 1 manuscript from John Wilson 2003.

Related Materials: Lennox Robinson papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Preferred Citation: [after identification of item(s)], Lennox Robinson papers, Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Processing Information: Processed by:   Karl Kageff, Jill Hampton and Patricia Ireland


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: William Butler Yeats correspondence, 1892-1935],
[Series 2: General correspondence, 1909-1966],
[Series 3: Fiction Writings, 1918-1954],
[Series 4: Non fiction writings, 1919-1924],
[Series 5: Miscellaneous manuscripts and scrapbooks, 1903-1950],
[Series 6: Lady Gregory and Robinson correspondence, 1919-1930],
[All]

Series 1: William Butler Yeats correspondence, 1892-1935Add to your cart.

97 letters.

This series consists of correspondence  from William Butler Yeats to Lennox Robinson, covering the years 1913-1935.  One of the unifying features of the series is from where the letters were written, since Yeats only rarely included the year on his letters.  The letters are arranged chronologically where dating is possible, and grouped into folders by place of origin.  The last two folders contain letters which could not be dated at all, and 6 ALS to people other than Robinson, respectively.

The overwhelming majority of the letter in the series are concerned with Abbey Theatre business, especially discussions of plays being considered for production by the Abbey.  This discussion often includes whether the plays were accepted or rejected (or simply recommended) by Yeats and Lady Gregory.  Yeats offers a good deal of constructive criticism of many plays he has read, often suggesting revisions of scenes and acts.  In some cases, these suggested revisions are extensive and specific, with the acceptance of the play depending on whether or not the revisions are made.  These kinds of letters correspond to Lennox Robinson's time as manager, producer of the Abbey and give readers a sense of the importance of Yeats' role in shaping productions at the theater, even from afar.

Although Yeats sometimes mentions he is working on his memoirs, poetry, lectures, etc., ad includes copies of corrections to "Hour Glass" and an MS of "Crazy Jane and The King" (both are housed in the Yeats Manuscripts series), there is relatively little personal or literary material about Yeats in this series.  There are some gaps in Yeats' correspondence to Robinson, most notably during Robinson's first years as manager of the Abbey Theatre (1909-1913), and the last few years of Yeats' life (1935-1939).  Also, there are almost no letters from the period 1923-1926.

A number of the letters are significant for the comments Yeats makes on the effects of violence of the Irish civil war and struggle for power on the future of the Abbey (see 18 Dec. [1920?], folder 2; Monday [Dec. 1921], 6 March [1922], folder 3).  Brief discussions of theories of drama in general and opportunities for Irish dramatists after the war appear in several letters (see [5] Nov. [1919?], folder 2; 31 Jan. [ND], 21 June [1921], folder 3; 20 Aug. [1922]. folder 4).  After suggesting some changes to  one of Sean O'Casey's plays in a letter of 14 Aug. [1922?], Yeats says, "If we let O'Casey fall back into his mechanical propaganda we may ruin him."  Of the letters to people other than Robinson, the most significant one if to Prof. Edward Dowden (19 May [1895]), which discusses Yeats' attempts to visit Oscar Wilde in prison.

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Yeats to Robinson; letters written from WBY's residence at 18 Woburn Buildings, as well as temporary residences at Stone Cottage, Sussex and Ballylee Castle, Gort.  Also included are some letters from the Savile Club.  10 ALS, 3 TLS, 23 pp., 1913 July-1919 OctoberAdd to your cart.

1 ALS. 2 pp.  25 Jly. [1913] 18 Wodburn Buildings, London

1 TLS, 2 pp.  7 Jan.  1915 Stone Cottage, Sussex

1 TLS, 1 pp.  5 Feb.  [1915] Stone Cottage, Sussex

1 TLS, 2 pp.  24 Jun.  1915 18 Wodburn Buildings, London

1 ALS, 2 pp.  13 Mar.  [1916] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  26 Mar. [1916?] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  16 Dec.  [1917] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  12 Dec.  [1918?] Savile Club, 69 Brook St, London

1 ALS, 1 pp.  16 Dec.  [1918?] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  24 Dec.  [1918?] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  21 July  [1919?] Ballylee Castle, Gort

1 ALS, 3 pp.  3 Aug.  [1919?] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  6 Aug.  [1919?] "

Folder 2: Yeats to  Robinson; letters written from WBY's residence at 4 Broad Street, Oxford.  Also included is one letter written from USA.  13 ALS, 1 TLS, 3 LS, 47 pp., 1919 October-1920 DecemberAdd to your cart.

1 ALS, 3 pp.  [18?] Oct.  [1919?] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 TLS, 3 pp.  [5?] Nov.  [1919?] "

1 LS, 2 pp.  13 Nov.    1919 "

1 ALS, 3 pp.  15 Nov.  [1919?] "

1 ALS, 3 pp.  19 Dec. [1919?] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 LS, 4 pp.  24 Dec.  1919 "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  24 Feb.  1920 Pittsburgh, PA

1 ALS, 4 pp.  23 Jly.  [1920] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 ALS, 2 pp.  [18?] Aug.  [1920?] "

1 ALS. 3 pp.  1 Sep.  [ND] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  26 Sep. [1920] "

1 LS, 3 pp.  7 Oct.  [1920] "

1 ALS, 4 pp.  27 Oct.  [1920] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  14 Nov.  [1920] "

1 ALS, 3 pp.  9 Dec.  [1920] "

1 ALS, 3 pp.  [13?] Dec.  [1920?] "

1 ALS 3 pp.  18 Dec.  [1920?] "

Folder 3: Yeats to Robinson; letters written from WBY's residence at 4 Broad St, Oxford, as well as temporary residences at Minchin's Cottage, Shillingford and Cuttlebrook House, Thame.  22 ALS, 1 Ls, 46pp., 1921 January-1922 MarchAdd to your cart.

1 ALS, 1 pp.  1 Jan. [ND] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 ALS, 1pp.  26 Jan.  [ND] Stone Cottage, Sussex

1 ALS, 4 pp.  31 Jan.  [ND] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 ALS, 1 pp.  5 Feb.  [ND] "

1 ALS, 3 pp.  16 Mar.  [1921] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  30 Mar.  [1921] Minchin's Cottage, Shillingford, Berks

1 ALS, 3 pp.  [17?] Apr. [1921] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  2 [Jun.?]  [1921] "

1 ALS, 3 pp.  21 Jun.  [1921] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  21 Aug.  [1921] Cuttle-brook House, Thame, Oxon

1 ALS, 1 pp.  10 Oct.  [ND] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 ALS, 2 pp.  17 Nov.  [1921] "

1 ALS, 3 pp.  7 Dec.  [1921?] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 ALS, 2 pp.  Mon. [Dec. 1921] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  9 Jan.  [1922] 82 Merrion Square, Dulin

1 ALS, 2 pp.  12 Jan.  [1922] 4 Broad Street, Oxford

1 ALS, 4 pp.  15 Jan.  [1922] "

1 LS,    4 pp.  1 Feb.  1922 "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  21 Feb.  [1922] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  24 Feb.  [1922?] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  6 Mar.  [1922?] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  [8?] Mar.  [1922?] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  15 Mar.  [1922?] "

Folder 4: Yeats to Robinson; letters written from WBY's residence at 82 Merrion Square, Dublin, as well as Thoor Ballylee.  Also included are a letter from Cannes, France, and several from Rapallo, Italy.  10 ALS, 2 TLS, 27 pp., 1922 March 20-1928 JulyAdd to your cart.

1 TLS, 1 pp.  24 Jun.  1922 Thoor Ballylee, Gort

1 ALS, 2 pp.  14 Aug.  [1922?] 82 Merrion Square, Dublin

1 ALS, 3 pp.  20 Aug.  [1922?] Thoor Ballylee, Gort

1 ALS, 2 pp.  7 Sept.  [1922?] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  10 Sept.  [1922?] "

1 TLS, 4 pp.  23 Sept.  1926 82 Merrion Square, Dublin

1 ALS, 3 pp. Jun.  [ND] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  15 Dec.  [1927?] Hotel St George, Cannes

1 ALS, 3 pp.  27 Feb.  [1928?] Albergo Rapallo, Rapallo, Italy

1 ALS, 3 pp.  10 Mar.  [1928?] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  25 Mar. [1928?] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  26 Oct.  [ND] Merrion Square, Dublin

Folder 5: Yeats to Robinson; letters written from WBY's residence at 42 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, as well as Rapallo, Italy, and Coole Park, Gort.  Also included are on letter each from London, Savile Club, and Collooney.  12 ALS, 10 TLS, 32pp., 1928 August-1932 JulyAdd to your cart.

1 TLS, 1 pp.  9 Aug.  1928 42 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublon

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Tuesday [ND] Albergo Palazzo, Rome

1 TLS, 3 pp.  9 [&] 20 Mar.  1929 Via Americhe, Rapallo, Italy

1 TLS, 1 pp. [1929?] "

1 TLS, 2 pp.  16 Apr.  1929 "

1 TLS, 1 pp.  16 Nov.  [1929?]  Knightsbridge Hotel, London

1 TLS, 1 pp.  25 Nov.  1929 Via Americhe, Rapallo, Italy

1 TLS, 2 pp.  24 Dec.  1929 "

1 TLS, 2 pp.  28 Feb.  1930 "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  20 Sept.  [1930?] Coole Park, Gort

1 ALS, 2 pp. [1930?] Savile Club, 69 Brook St., London

1 ALS, 2 pp.  1 Sept.  [ND] 42 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin

1 TLS, 2 pp.  4 Sept.  [1931?] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Thursday [ND] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  1 Dec.  [1931?] Coole Park, Gort

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Saturday [ND] "

1 ALS, 2 pp.  31 Aug.  [ND] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Tuesday [1932?] South Hill, Killiney

1 TLS, 2 pp.  14 Oct.  [ND] Coole Park, Gort

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Friday  [ND] "

1 ALS, 1 pp.  31 Aug.  [ND] 42 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Thursday  [ND]  Markree Castle, Collooney

Folder 6: Yeats to Robinson; letters written from WBY's residence at Riversdale, Rathfarnham, Dublin.  Also included are one letter each from the Savile Club and Marble Arch.  4 ALS, 1 TLS, 8 pp., 1932 August-1935 JulyAdd to your cart.

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Xmas  [1934?] Savile Club, 69 Brook St., London

1 ALS, 2 pp.  Tuesday  [1934?] Riversdale, Rahfarnham, Dublin

1 ALS, 1 pp.  Sunday  [1934?] "

1 TLS, 2 pp.  23 Mar.  1935 "

1 ALS, 2 pp. [1935?] 45 Seymour St., Marble Arch

Folder 7: Yeats to Robinson; letter written from various locations.  5 ALS, 8 pp., undatedAdd to your cart.

1 ALS, 2 pp.  16 Mar.  [ND]  Savile Club, 107 Picadilly, London

1 ALS, 1 pp. [ND]            Arts Club, 40 Dover St., London

1 ALS, 3 pp.  17 Aug.  [ND]  Renvyle House, Co. Galway

1 ALS, 1 pp.  13 Sept.  [ND] "

1 ALS, 1 pp. [1935?] Coole Park, Gort

Folder 8: Three letters from Yeats to Prof. Edward Dowden, one letter each to Miss Munroe, Lady Gregory and Mr.s Trevor-Smith.  6 ALS, 14 pp.  (includes typescripts of some ALS.)Add to your cart.

Yeats to Dowden  1 ALS, 2 pp.  Sunday [27 Nov.  1892?]  Lonsdale House, Clontarf (Kelly 337)

Yeats to Dowden  1 ALS, 2 pp.  19 May [1895]  3 Blenheim Road, Bedford, Park, Chiswick (Kelly 465-66)

Yeats to Dowden, 1 ALS, 2 pp.  3 July [ND]  Coole Park, Gort

Yeats to Munroe  1 ALS, 1 pp.  [ND]  42 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin

Yeats to Trevor-Smith  1 ALS, 3 pp.  [ND]  Ballylee Castle, Gort

Yeats to Lady Gregory 1 ALS, 4 pp.  18 Jan. [1921?] 4 Broad St., Oxford

[Kelly, John, ed.  The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats. vo. I 1865-1895, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.]

Folder 9: Typed Transcriptions of all Yeats Correspondence, pp. 120Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: William Butler Yeats correspondence, 1892-1935],
[Series 2: General correspondence, 1909-1966],
[Series 3: Fiction Writings, 1918-1954],
[Series 4: Non fiction writings, 1919-1924],
[Series 5: Miscellaneous manuscripts and scrapbooks, 1903-1950],
[Series 6: Lady Gregory and Robinson correspondence, 1919-1930],
[All]

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