W. H. Auden Papers

Collection Summary

Title: W. H. Auden Papers
Call Number: MS 89-03
Size: 0.5 linear feet
Acquisition: Purchased from Second Life Books, 6-1988
Processed by: AHC, 9-16-1988; JEF, 3-6-1998; MN, 1-2015
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

This collection includes several letters, photographs, and newspaper clippings from English and American poet W. H. Auden. One clipping contains an extensive obituary for Auden, while another clipping records details of a trial over ownership of Auden's papers and manuscripts after his death.


W. H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden was born in England in 1907 and published his first poem in 1922. He attended Oxford and later traveled to Berlin, where he became fluent in German. Returning to Great Britain, he became a schoolmaster in Scotland and England while beginning his prolific writing career. Later poems were based on his experiences in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and travels to Iceland, China and the United States. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1946 and died in 1973 in Austria, after residing there for several years.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Box 1 FF 1 Contains a reproduction of Jack Levine’s drawing of Auden for the New York Times Review of Books, undated.
Box 1 FF 2 Contains a clipping from New York Times, December 14, 1979, page B1. The article “Auden Poem Cited and Recited at Trial on His Papers” describes a dispute between the New York Public Library and Dr. Edward Kallman for possession of Auden’s manuscripts. Kallman was the father of Chester Kallman, who collaborated with Auden on a number of works.
Box 1 FF 3 Contains two undated newspaper reviews of Auden’s works.
Box 1 FF 4 Contains an obituary for Auden from the London Daily Telegraph, October 1, 1973, page 3.
Box 1 FF 5 Contains a letter from Auden to “Dear John,” undated. Auden writes that his book cannot be ready before September. He also gives several suggestions for titles.
Box 1 FF 6 Contains two Auden letters. One, to “Dear Mr. Cole,” January 9, 1971, asks Cole to mail copies of “A Certain Work” to two persons, and the second, to “Dear Mr. Albert or Mr. Cunningham,” November 13 (1971?) thanks them for their recent letter and says, “I never read in the john, I concentrate on what I am there for.”
Box 1 FF 7 Contains an invitation to a party celebrating Auden’s birthday and publication of Chester Kallman’s “Absent and Present.”
Box 1 FF 8 Contains notes on Auden’s early poetry by Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood comments on how Auden’s background and personality affected his early works.
Box 1 FF 9 Contains two picture postcards of Auden. The first is a picture of a drawing of Auden done in 1967 by Don Bachardy, and the second is a copy of a photograph taken by Howard Coster, c. 1936.
Box 1 FF 10 Contains a letter from Auden to “Dear Mr. Tobin,” December 7, 1967. Auden regrets not being able to extend or revise an acceptance speech.
Box 1 FF 11 Contains a Christmas card with Auden’s poem, “Chorus of Angels,” printed inside.
Box 1 FF 12 Contains an invitation for a birthday party for Auden.
Box 1 FF 13 Contains a letter from Auden to Richard Cary, Waterville, Maine, December 8, 1967. Auden regrets that he cannot say “anything original or worthwhile” about G. A. Robinson.
Box 1 FF 14 Contains a program for “An Informal Literary Gathering at the Gotham Book Mart and Gallery.” Auden is among those pictured on the cover.
Box 1 FF 15 Contains a program for “Proceedings at a Congregation of the University of Birmingham,” July 8, 1967. Auden was to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
Box 1 FF 16 Contains a letter to M. Dawson from Auden, dated December 8, 1972, and a manuscript copy of the poem “Lullaby."
Box 1 FF 17 Contains a manuscript copy of the poem “The Leaves of Life” which show changes to be made.
Box 1 FF 18 Contains a postcard photograph of W. H. Auden by Howard Coster, c. 1936.
Box 1 FF 19 Contains a postcard with postmark date of July 2, 1935, written to Geoffrey Gipson from Auden.
Box 1 FF 20 Contains a letter from Auden to Mrs. Fisher, dated August 18, 1963 and the enclosed manuscript “To-Night at Seven-Thirty” (for M. F. K. Fisher).
Box 1 FF 21 Contains two letters to David Wright, one dated August 30, 1962 and the other September 11. Auden enclosed the manuscript of “Thanksgiving for a Habitat” (two copies).
Box 1 FF 22 Contains “In Time of War,” a sonnet sequence with a verse commentary.
Box 1 FF 23 Contains a one page, unpublished, manuscript poem autographed by W. H. Auden.
Box 1 FF 24 Contains a one page poem “A Mosaic for Marianne Moore,” typescript; also a note which is signed by Auden (November 15, 1967).
Box 1 FF 25 Contains a note written to Mrs. Heckstall-Smith and signed Wystan (not dated).
Box 1 FF 26 Contains a poem entitled “Marginalia.” It includes a three page corrected proof and Auden’s original five page typescript.
Box 1 FF 27 Contains a letter from Auden to Harold dated June 3, 1946? from Napoli, Italy.
Box 1 FF 28 Contains “Poetry and Freedom,” a speech given by W. H. Auden at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, February 27, 1948.
Box 1 FF 29 Contains an invitation to Auden’s 65th birthday party.
Box 1 FF 30 Contains a handwritten (in ink) two page manuscript copy of “The Aliens,” signed by Auden.
Box 1 FF 31 Typescript of The Chase: A Play In Three Acts
Box 1 FF 32 Typescript of poem “This Lunar Beauty” with manuscript corrections. Signed by Auden.
Box 1 FF 33 Handwritten letter from Auden to “Mr. Lohner,” July 25, 1955. Signed by Auden.
Box 1 FF 34 2 typewritten letters from Auden to “Mr. Lohner,” May 26, 1955 and June 27 (year unknown), both signed by Auden.
Box 1 FF 35 2 typewritten letters to Auden from “Bill” July 20 and July 28, 1947.
Box 1 FF 36 Handwritten letter by Auden to “Bill” [William Henry Miller, Jr.], July 2, 1947
Box 1 FF 37 Handwritten letter by Auden to “Bill” [William Henry Miller, Jr.], July 23, 1947 with envelope.
Box 1 FF 38 Signed by Auden. Handwritten letter by Auden to “Bill” [William Henry Miller, Jr.], August 2, 1947 with envelope. Signed by Auden.
Box 1 FF 39 Signed by Auden. Handwritten letter by Auden to “Bill” [William Henry Miller, Jr.], January 17, 1948 with envelope.
Box 1 FF 40 Typescript of Sermon By An Arament Manufacturer [1934] with manuscript corrections.
Box 1 FF 41 Offprint from “The Map of All My Youth,” inscribed “For the Wichita State Library’s Auden Collection,” [illegible signature].
Box 1 FF 42 Manuscript book review “In Poor Shape” of The Condition of Man by Lewis Mumford, October 1944. Signed by Auden.