Guide to the John R. Theobald Collection

Finding Aid Authors: Jennifer Hollander.
© Copyright 2008 Special Collections & University Archives. All rights reserved.
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Guide to the John R. Theobald Collection 1920/1989

Special Collections & University Archives

Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: John R. Theobald Collection
Dates: 1920-1989
Identification: MS-0359
Creator: Theobald, John R., 1903-1989
Physical Description: 2.17 linear ft
Language of Materials: English
Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Biographical Information:

John R. Theobald was born September 5, 1903 in India where his parents were doing missionary work. He was sent to England at age 6 for schooling. He later attended Oxford University, graduating in 1925 with honors in English. He was also the recipient of the England Fellowship to Union Seminary in New York where he received a degree in theology in 1929. Dr. Theobald earned his doctorate in 1943 at the University of Iowa. He taught at Queens University in Canada, Amherst, Trinity College, Grinnell College, and San Diego State University. He also worked as a research associate in the Division of War Research at the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Theobald came to San Diego State University in 1946 as an associate professor in the English department. He later became a full professor and retired in 1969 as professor emeritus. While at San Diego State University, Dr. Theobald gave numerous recitals and addresses on National Public Radio. He wrote a series of radio talks called The Nine Ultimate Questions that covered subjects from man to God and beauty and peace. He also did a fourteen part series on poetry and poets called The Spoken Word.
Dr. Theobald was also a respected author. His works include: The Earthquake and Other Poems, An Oxford Odyssey, A Second Light, Planetsong, and Introducing Poetry. His translations of French poetry were published in Midi-Noon, A Work by Leconte De Lisle, The Lost Wine: Seven Centuries of Lyric French Poetry Into English Lyrical Poetry.
Dr. Theobald died in December of 1989.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Corporate Name:

San Diego State University -- Faculty -- Biography -- Sources

Genre/Form of Material:

Personal Papers

Personal Name:

Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930 -- Criticism and interpretation
Theobald, John Richmond -- Archives


German poetry -- Translations into English

Topical Term:

American literature -- 20th century -- Sources
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography -- Sources

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use:

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Identification of item, folder title, box number, John R. Theobald Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Arrangement of Materials:

I. Personal Files
II. Professional Files

Scope and Contents

The John R. Theobald Collection documents Theobald's writings.  The collection dates from the 1920s to 1989 with many materials undated.  The collection has been divided into two series: Professional and Personal.
The Professional series documents Theobald's numerous radio addresses, poetry translations, and publications from 1926-1989, with some undated materials.  Included in this series is the script for Theobald's Nine Ultimate Questions radio address; scripts for various other radio talks given in San Diego; gallery proofs, introduction, and publicity for his book The Lost Wine: Seven Centuries of Lyric French Poetry Into English Lyrical Poetry; manuscripts for some of his other works; poems in German translated into English by Theobald; and original poems.  Also included in this series is correspondence between Theobald and Ezra Pound.  There is no filing order.
The Personal series includes Theobald's memoirs, correspondence, poems (published and unpublished), essays, his thesis from Union Seminary on Benedetto Croce, and his PhD thesis on D.H. Lawrence.  This series also includes a group photo of Theobald's class at Mansfield College in 1922.  There is no filing order. The series dates from the 1920s to 1990, with some undated materials.  There is no filing order.



Box 1, Folder 1

Nine Ultimate Questions (script for radio series)

Box 1, Folder 2

Radio Talks Given in San Diego 1950s

Box 1, Folder 3

Gallery Proofs for "Lost Wine"

Box 1, Folder 4

Introduction for "Lost Wine"

Box 1, Folder 5

Publicity for "Lost Wine" 1982-1985

Box 1, Folder 6

Forward for "Pound/Theobald Letters," and correspondence 1984

Box 1, Folder 7

German Poems Translated by Theobald

Box 1, Folder 8

RM Rilke Translations by Theobald

Box 1, Folder 9

German Poem Translations with Helga Barthold

Box 1, Folder 10

MSS for "The Earthquake and Other Poems" 1930-1949

Box 1, Folder 11

Original MSS and notes for "Was Blake a Mystic"

Box 1, Folder 12

Certificate of Copyright Registration for "Planesong" 1986

Box 1, Folder 13

"Twentieth Century Literature and Poetry" essays 1947, 1958

Box 1, Folder 14

"Vestiges of Bodhi in Indian Poetry" by Theobald

Box 1, Folder 15

Poems in "The Oxford Outlook" 1927-1928

Box 1, Folder 16

Poems in "Oxford Poetry" 1926-1927



Box 1, Folder 17

Childhood Memoirs

Box 1, Folder 18


Box 1, Folder 19


Box 1, Folder 20


Box 1, Folder 21

Another Time Regained

Box 1, Folder 22

The Cauldron

Box 1, Folder 23

Biting Through

Box 1, Folder 24

Nightmare Parables

Box 1, Folder 25

The Sea Again

Box 1, Folder 26

Starting at State

Box 1, Folder 27

Awakening Into Day

Box 1, Folder 28

Return Passage

Box 1, Folder 29

Correspondence re. Poetry 1970-1990

Box 1, Folder 30

Correspondence from W.R. Johnson 1957-1977

Box 1, Folder 31

Two Essays Taken at Mansfield College 1921

Box 1, Folder 32

Early Poems done in Georgian Vein 1920s

Box 1, Folder 33

Testimony to Paul Lingren 1989

Box 1, Folder 34


Box 1, Folder 35

Thesis on Benedetto Croce 1929

Box 1, Folder 36

Impressions of the gospels; unpublished poems 1980s

Box 1, Folder 37

"Recollections of Frieda" (Mrs. D.H. Lawrence)

Box 1, Folder 38

Published Poems

Box 1, Folder 39

PhD Thesis on D.H. Lawrence 1942

Box 2

Group Photo at Mansfield College