Letters by TS Eliot

TS Eliot’s complete correspondence is in the process of publication, with nine volumes covering the years up to 1940 published to date. The volumes can be seen on the Faber & Faber website here – search for Letters of T. S. Eliot for details.

Letters omitted from the published volumes can be read online here.

Facsimiles of some letters from TS Eliot, several including his drawings, can be viewed here.

Letters and book reports by TS Eliot can be seen in the Faber archive.

TS Eliot’s London Letters to The Dial (In 1921 and 1922 T.S. Eliot was the London correspondent to The Dial magazine published in New York.  In all, The Dial published eight letters written by Eliot about the cultural scene in England.)

Letters from Margate and from London, by both TS and Vivienne Eliot, relating to The Waste Land, can be seen on the British Library website.

reproduction of a 1924 letter from Eliot to Virginia Woolf

A recently resurfaced letter from Eliot at Faber in 1957, unusually signed ‘Tom Eliot’

A New Yorker article explores the unlikely but genuine correspondence between TS Eliot and Groucho Marx. (See also our Events page, June 2014, for a BBC radio programme relating to Marx and Eliot.)

An entertaining spoof of Eliot’s correspondence by John Crace

(Some letters illustrated with Eliot’s drawings can be seen via our Miscellany page)

The Emily Hale Letters

In 1956, Emily Hale donated 1,131 letters from TS Eliot to Princeton, along with related printed items and enclosures. Her deed of gift stipulates that the letters be kept “completely closed to all readers until the lapse of fifty years after the death of Mr. Eliot or myself, whichever shall occur later. At that time the files may be made available for study by properly qualified scholars in accordance with the regulations of the Library for the use of manuscript materials. To carry out this intention the Library is to keep the collection in sealed containers in its manuscript vaults.” Their official opening was on 2 January 2020.

The Eliot Foundation has now made the complete collection of Hale letters, edited and provided with footnotes and index, freely available online here.

Details of the Princeton collection and of access to the original letters are here.

The history of the donation of the letters to Princeton is here.

Details of the manner in which the letters were sealed is here.

An article by the Princeton Library about the unsealing of the letters is here.

A statement written by TS Eliot in 1960 pertaining to the letters, which remained sealed until the letters themselves were made public, is here.

The original documents forming the “narrative” written by Emily Hale, and sealed along with the letters, can be viewed here. A transcript can be read more easily here.

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