Restrictions on Use
Alternate Forms Available
Scope and Content
Title: Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Manuscripts and Miscellaneous Materials,
Identifier/Call Number: MS. Wilde mss
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Language of Material:
38.36 Linear feet
90 boxes plus bound volumes
Date (inclusive): 1854-1962
This finding aid described literary and miscellaneous manuscripts related to or composed by Oscar Wilde and his literary circle.
Significant manuscripts include drafts of
Lady Windermere's Fan
An Ideal Husband
, and a chapter of
The Picture of Dorian Gray
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
William Andrews Clark, Jr. acquired the nucleus of the Clark Library's Oscar Wilde collection from Dulau and Company, London,
in 1929. Most of the Dulau material had been in the possession of Robert B. Ross (Oscar Wilde's literary executor), Christopher
S. Millard (a.k.a. Stuart Mason, the Wilde bibliographer), and Vyvyan B. Holland (Wilde's only surviving son). Since 1929,
the Clark Library has steadily purchased important new material and in the year 2000, the collection was estimated to contain
over 65,000 items.
Collection is open for research.
Restrictions on Use
Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote
from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the William
Andrews Clark Memorial Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
For additional copyright information related to Oscar Wilde, contact Merlin Holland (email: merlin.holland[at]wanadoo.fr).
Alternate Forms Available
Microfilm copies of portions of the collection are available for patron use.
[Identification of item, subseries and series], Oscar Wilde and His Literary Circle Collection: Manuscripts and Miscellaneous
Materials. William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
Many of the manuscript and print materials described within this finding aid have also been cataloged individually. Those
individual records for print materials are available via the UCLA Library's online catalog, while the records for manuscript
materials are accessible only through a physical card catalog located at the Clark.
In 1957, a printed catalog of all Wilde-related works then owned by the Clark Library (approximately 2900 items) was compiled
by John Charles Finzi and published as
Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle by the University of California Press. Over the course of the next four decades, many new Clark acquisitions were added to
the collection and approximately one-third of the collection was microfilmed at least once.
In 2000, the first version of the Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle online finding aid, which described
all archival materials in the Clark collections related to Wilde and his circle was written and encoded in EAD by John Howard
Fowler. In 2009, this original finding aid was separated into several parts, edited and re-encoded by Rebecca Fenning in order
to make its very large size (over 1000 pages) and scope more manageable for researchers. Instead of one guide describing the
entire collection, there are now 5 more easily navigated guides devoted to different components of the collection.
Oscar Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin, Ireland, October 16, 1854. He attended Trinity College
and Magdalen College, Oxford, winning the Newdigate prize in 1878 for the poem
Ravenna. He subsequently established himself in London society as a champion of the new Aesthetic movement, advocating "art for art's
sake," and publishing reviews and his
Poems (1881). After being satirized (and made famous) as Bunthorne, the fleshly aesthetic poet in Gilbert and Sullivan's
Patience, he made a year-long lecture tour of the United States, speaking on literature and the decorative arts. After his return
to London, he married Constance Lloyd in 1884; they had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan Holland. In 1891 he met and began a love
affair with the handsome but temperamental poet, Lord Alfred Douglas.
The 1890s saw both Wilde's greatest literary triumphs and his tragic downfall. His only novel,
The Picture of Dorian Gray , appeared in 1891. The most famous of his witty social comedies--
Lady Windermere's Fan (1892),
A Woman of No Importance (1893),
An Ideal Husband (1895), and
The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)--were written and produced for the London stage. But in 1895, after becoming entangled in an unsuccessful libel suit
against Douglas's father, Wilde was prosecuted for homosexuality. Convicted, he was sentenced to two years' hard labor.
While in prison, Wilde wrote
De Profundis, a letter to Douglas, and after his release, he published the long poem,
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898). But despite these final works, his career was essentially over. Bankrupt and in exile, his health ruined in prison,
he died in Paris in 1900.
Scope and Content
The Oscar Wilde and His Literary Circle Collection of Papers: Manuscripts and Miscellaneous Materials finding aid describes
literary and historical manuscripts and miscellaneous material authored by or concerning Oscar Wilde and his coterie. Manuscript
versions of Wilde's work, including drafts of
Lady Windermere's Fan,
An Ideal Husband and portions of
The Picture of Dorian Grey are included, as are numerous manuscript works composed by Wilde's circle, and historical and biographical documents concerning
Wilde and his family.
This collection is organized into the following series:
Series 1. Manuscripts
Series 2. Miscellaneous
Items listed below may include references to the numbers assigned to them in John Charles Finzi's
Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle, and/or their item numbers from the 1929 Dulau auction catalog. Some items may also include references to available microfilm
copies. The Clark Library shelfmark will always be given, but all unbound materials are also identified by their box and folder
Items organized by date are organized by the earliest possible date assignable. The most likely approximation of the date
will usually be found in the shelfmark of each item.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Adey, More, ca. 1859-1942
Beerbohm, Max, Sir, 1872-1956
Douglas, Alfred Bruce, Lord, 1870-1945
Ross, Robert Baldwin, 1869-1918
Symons, A. J. A. (Alphonse James Albert), 1900-1941
Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900
Authors, English--19th century--Manuscripts
Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900--Archives.