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Lennox Robinson papers


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],

Series 4: Non fiction writings, 1919-1924Add to your cart.

2 linear feet.

This series includes abundant material including 43 "At the Play" columns written for The Observer along with many of the newspaper clippings and 32 newspaper clippings of the column without manuscripts.  Most of the manuscripts appear to be finished drafts.  There are also drafts of Robinson's partially autobiographical book The Boy from Ballineen.  Several essays about Irish writers and Irish landscapes appear to be written for radio Eireann.  Eleven "I Sometimes Think" manuscripts are included here as well as fascinating lecture notes about Irish Theatre.

Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Non fiction writingsAdd to your cart.

Arnold Bax TMs

copy 1 - marked for reading, pp6

copy 2 - says it's for a talk on Radio Eireann, pp7

AN about Arnold Bax and Dermott O'Byrne to conclude speech

Around and Into Ireland TMs [looks like a piece of travel writing] pp6 + verso

"At the Play" Columns written for The Observer

"The Purpose of Dramatic Criticism" newspaper clipping - 27-1-24

"William Congreve" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 27-1-24

"A National Theatre?" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping - 17-1-24

"The Abbey Theatre I" newspaper clipping 3-1-24

"The Abbey Theatre II" newspaper clipping 10-1-24

"Calling the Tune" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 2-3-24

"Plays; and Mr Gordon Craig" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 9-3-24

"The Art of Gagging" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 16-3-24

"History in the Theatre" TMs pp3-newspaper clipping 23-3-24

"Bernard Shaw" TMs pp3-newspaper clipping 30-3-24

"The Amateur" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 20-4-93

"The Patience of the Gods" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 13-4-24

"The Subtlety of the Cinema" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 6-4-24

"The Story Brought by Brigit" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 27-4-24

"Mr. Eugene O'Neill: the One-Act Play" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 1-6-24

"The Producer" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 8-6-24

"Stage Directions" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 15-6-24

"Those Visitors I" TMs pp4-newspaper clipping 22-6-24

"Those Visitors II" TMs pp4-newspaper clipping 29-6-24

"On Turning Your Back" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 31-8-24

"Personality" TMs pp5 newspaper clipping 10-8-24

"Instinct or Intelligence?" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 17-8-24

"More Programme-making" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 7-9-24

"Going on the Stage" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 14-9-24

"Jacinto Benevente" TMs pp4-newspaper clipping 21-9-24

Folder 4: Non fiction writingsAdd to your cart.

"'The Mask & Some Plays'" TMs pp5-newspaper clipping 12-10-24

"The Season" TMs [discusses why some plays are produced and others not] pp5-newspaper clipping 26-10-24

"Acting as a Trade" TMs [discusses dispute between Actor's Association and Stage Guild] pp4-newspaper clipping 5-10-24

"The Novelist as Playwright" TMs [discusses John Galsworthy] pp4-newspaper clipping 9-11-24

"Play-reading" TMs pp4-newspaper clipping 2-11-24

"Producing as a Career" TMs pp4-newspaper clipping 2-11-24

"Plain English" TMs [discusses translation] pp4-newspaper clipping 7-12-24

"The Sentimentalist" TMs [funny column concerning the increasing respectability of the theater and its actors] pp4-newspaper clipping 14-12-24

"The Christmas Play" TMs [includes a poem written by ?] pp5-newspaper clipping 7-12-24

"Not Mentioning London" TMs [discusses work being done outside of London, including Scottish National Theatre Society] pp8-newspaper clipping of part I 28-12-14 newspaper clipping of part II 4-1-24

"In Yorkshire" TMs [AN verso p.4] pp7-newspaper clipping 18-1-25

Folder 5: Non fiction writingsAdd to your cart.

Untitled TMs [discusses Mr. Evine and Mr. Frank Verson's books] pp5

Untitled TMs [about play-reading in summer and local theatrical societies] pp6

"Censorship" Tms [discussed Huntly Carter's book about Russian Theatre] pp5

"The Dramatic Underworld" TMs pp5

"The Lane and the Dream" TMs pp4

"The Lost Illusions" TMs pp4

"Saint Joan" TMs [AN on verso p.4] pp4

Folder 6: Non fiction writingsAdd to your cart.

Newspaper clippings only

"Peasant Plays and Another" 4-5-25

"Tolstoi" 11-2-24 newspaper clippings of 2 letters to the editor concerning the above column

"Vow Your Swans!" 18-5-24

"At the Theatre in Spain" 25-5-24

"Mr. Ervine's Plan" 3-8-24

"Programme-Making" 24-8-24

"Our Intelligence" 19-10-24

"Barnstormers" 16-11-24

"The University Towns" 11-1-25

"The Playhouse, Liverpool" 25-1-25

"For the Journey" 1-2-25

"The Patients" 15-2-25

"Musical Comedy" 22-2-25

"Mr. John Barrymore" 1-3-25

"Criticism" 8-3-25

"The Mass Theatre" 15-3-25

"A Truce of Cupid" 22-3-25

"A Young Gentleman" 29-3-25

"Straws" 5-4-24

"Seville and Notting-Hill" 12-4-25

"Filling an Evening" 19-4-25

"The Sick Soul" 26-4-25

"A Neglected Dramatist" 10-5-25

"The Bird in Our Hand" 24-5-25

"In A Café" 31-5-25

"The Second-Hand Art" 7-6-25

"Matinees" 28-6-25

"A Disturber" 14-6-25

"Guide Books" 5-7-25

"Action" 12-7-25

"Touched" 2-8-25

"Distance" 9-8-25

Box 12Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Non fiction writingsAdd to your cart.

The Boy from Ballineen TMs [everything is in a brown and red paisley scrapbook-like folder; this is a partially autobiographical novel, incomplete]

AN - title page: The Boy from Ballineen: specimen of Raymond Grath's work

title page; table of contents; preface (pp2) acknowledgements;pp5 total

chapter 1 - some notes; pp26

chapter 2 - some notes; pp26 + 2 extra pages

chapter 3 - come minor marks; pp21

chapter 4 - minor marks; pp16

chapter 5 - minor marks; pp19

chapter 6 - pp30

epilogue - pp3

AN notecard on word count per chapter

3 printed sketches of scene; one of a house and swimming pool; one of some towers in Dublin; one of a balcony and the view

Folder 2: Non fiction writingsAdd to your cart.

"Brightness Falls From The Air" TMsS [AN on verso is L. Robinson's address; essay about death of Hugh Lane] pp3 + title page

"The Course of Irish Verse by Robert Farren" TMs [marked for reading aloud] pp2

"The Cup" [about Dudley Diggs, Irish-American actor] pp1 + verso

"December 12, 1938" TMs [about James MacNeill] pp1

"Dr. Somerville" TMs [marked for reading aloud; extra copy] pp3

"Edith Somerville" TMs [about women in Irish Renaissance" pp5

"F.J. McCormick" TMs pp3

"A Forgotten Viceroy" TMs pp6

"Homage to America" TMs [4 parts] pp27

"I Liked This Book" TMs [for Radio Eirann about literary aspects of Old Testament] pp9

"An Irishwoman" TMs [written for radio]

I - Emily Lawless [many notes] pp10

II - Moira O'Neill [2 copies]

1. heavily marked; pp8

2. less complete; pp7

III - Katherine Tynan [2 copies]

1. marked for reading; missing a page; pp8

2. earlier draft but missing page is there; pp9

IV - Alice Milligan [marked for reading] pp8

Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 1: from Robinson's I Sometimes Think collectionAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: page proof of table of contents of I Sometimes Think bookAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: "Half-way House" TMs [initialed] pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 4: "Islands" AMs [first paragraphs] pp2, "Islands" TMs [some notes] pp4Add to your cart.
Folder 5: "Kinsale" TMs pp4Add to your cart.
Folder 6: "Murray" TMs pp4Add to your cart.
Folder 7: "Robinsons" TMs pp3Add to your cart.
Folder 8: "Those Tea-Cup Storms" TMs [about Mary Lavin] pp4Add to your cart.
Folder 9: "Tours" TMs pp4Add to your cart.
Folder 10: "Wills" TMs pp4Add to your cart.
Folder 11: "Literature in Ireland 1940-1944" TMs pp4Add to your cart.
Folder 12: "The Littles" TMs pp1 + versoAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: "Living in the City" TMs pp3 although 2 pages are the sameAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: "Lydia Fraser" TMs [incomplete] pp1Add to your cart.
Folder 15: "Maurice Maeterlinck" TMs [marked for reading aloud] pp7Add to your cart.
Folder 16: "Memory Harbour" TMs pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 17: "A Note on Leonid Andreyev" TMs pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 18: "Olive Guthrie" TMs [2 copies of page 1] pp3Add to your cart.
Folder 19: "Poetry and Music" TMs pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 20: "Preference" TMs [rules for card game] pp1Add to your cart.
Folder 21: "Recipe for a National Theatre" printed copy pp12Add to your cart.
Folder 22: "Shaw and the Rock of Gibraltar" TMs pp3Add to your cart.
Folder 23: "Shaw-Bright" TMs [2 copies; 1 pp4; 2 pp3 - incomplete[Add to your cart.
Folder 24: "Somerville-Ross" TMs [many notes] pp9Add to your cart.
Folder 25: "The Song of the Shirt" AMs pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 26: "Then...and Now" TMs - initialed [about deValera] pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 27: "This Set Me Thinking" TMs pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 28: "The Weather" TMs pp3Add to your cart.
Folder 29: "Wicklow - Wexford - Waterford" TMs pp10, "Wicklow" AMs [one page; similar to earlier writings on travel log]Add to your cart.
Folder 30: untitled AMs [about a hashish dream] pp6, untitled TMs [about the hashish dream] pp3Add to your cart.
Folder 31: untitled TMs about Dermod O'Brien] pp2Add to your cart.
Folder 32: untitled TMs [about Maire nic Shiughlaigh] pp1Add to your cart.
Folder 33: untitled AMs [about Bridges-Adams book] pp1Add to your cart.
Folder 34: untitled TMs [about Lady Gregory, Jane Barlow, Lawless] pp2Add to your cart.
Box 14Add to your cart.
Folder 1: "Frescati" TMs [speech as member of Friends of the Irish Academy of Letters about Duke of Leinster's country house] pp7Add to your cart.
Folder 2: "John Dowland" TMs [16th century lutenist] 2 copies of 3 pages eachAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: "Irish Theatre" TMs lecture notes [many handwritten notes] pp10, "The Irish Theatre" TMs lecture notes, syllabus, and exam questions pp17Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Non fiction writingsAdd to your cart.

"At the Play" TMs clean copies

1. "The Abbey Theatre (1)" pp5

2. "The Abbey Theatre (2)" pp5

untitled TMs [possibly a fragment of history of Irish Theatre] pp1 1/2

untitled TMs [incomplete; missing first page; about Irish Theatre] pp4

"Second Lecture" TMs [lecture notes about drama and expressionism] pp6

"Third Lecture" TMs [lecture notes about scenarios in drama] pp6

"Lecture 12" TMs [lecture notes about critics] pp1

"Final" TMs [list  of 4 topics; AN address of Paddy Byrne] pp1

"Audience" TMs [lecture notes] pp1

"Eighth Lecture" TMs [lecture notes about players; many notes] pp1

"Ninth Lecture" TMs [lecture notes about producing; many notes] pp1

"Lecture 9" AMs [list of 5 topics] pp1

"Fourth Lecture" TMs [lecture notes about producing] pp1 + title page

"The Play (1) The Author" TMs [lecture notes about the playwright] pp2

"The Purpose of Dramatic Criticism" TMs [looks like "At the Play" column about Lucien de Rubempre] pp5

"Tenth Lecture" TMs [lecture notes about the stage manager] pp1

"Lecture 11" AMs [lecture notes] pp1

"Property Man" TMs [lecture notes about props and wardrobes] pp1

"Seventh Lecture" TMs [lecture notes on scenarios; many marginal notes] pp3

"Fifth Lecture" TMs [lecture notes about producing; many marginal notes] pp3 + title page

Folder 5: "National Taste" TMs pp22Add to your cart.
Folder 6: untitled TMs [introduction to film on Yeats] pp5Add to your cart.
Folder 7: "Lorraine" Ms [song] pp8; untitled Ms [a book of songs and music]Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Ireland's Abbey Theatre Ms [galley proofs] pp115Add to your cart.
Folder 9: scrapbook or reviews of plays, etc. pp116, 1919-1926Add to your cart.
Folder 10: poster of Court Theatre production of The Lost Leader; press clipping signed and dated about The Lost LeaderAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: scrapbook signed and dated of newspaper clippings; pp6, 1926 DecemberAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: copy of newspaper clipping of Oliver Gogarty's book review of Three Home with ANS (initialed) from Oliver GogartyAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: "Missing so much and much"Add 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],

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