With the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the staff of the University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives would like to highlight some of its holdings pertaining Irish poets and writers, as well as its close relationship with prominent Irish figures. The literary and social contributions of these men and women are undeniable, and their legacies endure to this day. Our department holds a vast amount of materials related to late-19th and early 20th century Irish literary figures, as well as some of their contemporary counterparts.
Color portrait of James Joyce from the Paul and Lucie Léon Collection of James Joyce
Probably the most prominent figure in our collections is James Joyce. The broad spectrum of Joyce materials in our collections begin with the Richard Ellmann papers (1988.012). Ellmann was a prominent literary biographer who not only wrote the definitive biography of James Joyce, but also of Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats, Joyce’s fellow Irishmen. In addition to Ellmann’s Joyce-related materials, our department holds a substantial set of Joyce’s correspondence (1000.012) that includes handwritten letters, postcards and calling cards from James Joyce to Leon Paul Fargue, Mrs. Richard Hughes, Mlle Raymonde Linossier, Armand Petitjean, Sean O’Faolain, Charles Ogden, and Niall Sheridan. Rounding out our Joyce archival holdings is the Paul & Lucie Léon Collection of James Joyce (1984-005), which consists of correspondence between Paul and/or Lucie Léon and James Joyce and other friends, colleagues, and fellow Joyceans; page proofs for Finnegan’s Wake and page proofs for James Joyce and Paul Léon, the “Story of a Friendship” by Lucie Léon Noël; over 60 photographs and photo-negatives of James Joyce, the Léons, colleagues and friends, and Joyce family members; and a blue/white striped tie once belonging to James Joyce, a porcelain lion (a gift to the Léons from James Joyce), press cuttings pertaining to Joyce, theatre programs, exhibition announcements, and book seller catalogues. Our department also holds seven first editions of Joyce’s Ulysses. Our holdings pertaining to early 20th century Irish poets and writers are no limited to James Joyce. We have available numerous first editions of works by W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde.
Letter from James Joyce to Niall Sheridan from the James Joyce Correspondence Collection
Materials related to more contemporary Irish authors and poets have also found a place in our holdings. For example, our department holds the correspondence of Irish poet Richard Murphy (1988.014), who also spent some time at the University of Tulsa as a visiting professor. Murphy’s correspondence includes exchanges with, among others, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin and Sylvia Plath. Murphy has also graced the University of Tulsa by appearing as a McFarlin Fellows guest speaker. McFarlin Fellows and our department have also welcomed the late Seamus Heaney. Heaney, whose work embodies the spirit of contemporary Irish poetry, was the 1995 Nobel Laureate in Literature. Another contemporary Irish poet of prominence welcomed by our department is Paul Muldoon. A close friend of Heaney’s and a Pulitzer Prize winner in his own right, Muldoon has graced us with his reflections on his relationship with Heaney, as well as readings of his poetry. McFarlin Fellows has also welcomed Mary Robinson, the seventh President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations. Robinson was also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
The University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives is delighted to celebrate the contributions from these prominent Irish men and women.