Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Sherard (Robert Harborough), Collection on
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Materials
  • Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    Title: Collection on Robert Harborough Sherard
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.1997.004
    Physical Description: 0.42 Linear Feet 1 box
    Date (inclusive): 1881-1987
    Abstract: Correspondence and other materials related to Robert Harborough Sherard, collected by both Glennyth M. Woods and by Francis Watson. Letters and other documents are concerned with the reputation of Oscar Wilde, Sherard's life and career, his views on other literary and social figures of his day, and other topics, such as his views on World War II.
    Physical Location: Clark Library.
    Language of Material: English .


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Clark Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert Harborough Sherard Collection, MS.1997.004 and MS.1997.005, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    This collection is currently comprised of two separate accessions: The Glennyth M. Woods Holtz papers, originating in accession MS.1997.005, were a gift to the Clark in 1997; the Francis Watson papers on Sherard, accession MS.1997.004, were purchased by the Clark Library in 1997.


    Robert Harborough Sherard:
    Robert Harborough Sherard was born in London on December 3, 1861, the fourth child of the Reverend Bennet Sherard Calcraft Kennedy, the illegitimate son of the sixth and last Earl of Harborough. His mother was Jane Stanley Wordsworth, granddaughter of the poet. In 1880 he went up to New College, Oxford but after a quarrel with his father, who cut him off from the expected family inheritance, was forced to leave for financial reasons. At this time he dropped the surname Kennedy. He left for Europe and later enrolled at the University of Bonn to study law and oriental languages, but again had to leave for lack of money.
    At the age of twenty he settled in Paris to earn his living as a journalist and novelist. In Paris he became acquainted with a number of the leading French literary figures of the eighties and nineties, including Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant and Alphonse Daudet, and also with Oscar Wilde, with whom he formed a close friendship, although they fell out after Wilde's release from prison. In 1902, two years after Wilde's death, he published 'Oscar Wilde: the story of an unhappy friendship', which was to be the first of several works in which he maintained Wilde's innocence of the charge of homosexuality. Others include 'Oscar Wilde twice defended' (1934) and 'Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris and Oscar Wilde' (1936).
    Sherard supported himself mostly through journalism, contributing articles to papers in France, England and America. He was also a prolific writer of novels, biographies and social commentaries, publishing thirty-three works in total. The biographies, besides those on Wilde, are 'Emile Zola' (1893), 'Alphonse Daudet' (1894), and 'Guy de Maupassant' (1926). His social investigations, during which he lived with the poor and studied their conditions, resulted in works such as 'The White Slaves of England' (1897). In 1933 he founded the Vindex Publishing Co., Calvi, in Corsica, and he used this base to publish several pamphlets he wrote attacking Gide's biography of Wilde. He lived in France for most of his life but died in Ealing (UK) on January 30, 1943.
    Francis Watson:
    Francis Watson was born in Dudley, Worcestershire (UK) and attended St. John's College, Cambridge. He worked for a number of publishing companies before spending nearly four decades working at the Wallace Collection in London, where he published a widely acclaimed furniture catalog. In 1947 he was given the appointment of deputy surveyor of the King's works of art. Watson was a prolific writer, including very many radio programs. He is probably best known for his biography of Dawson of Penn and for his publications on eighteenth-century decorative arts.
    Glennyth M. Woods Holtz:
    Glennyth M. Woods (born in 1914 in Oregon) was a correspondent of Robert Sherard who first contacted him because of her interest in Oscar Wilde. Sherard thought of her as an adopted niece because she shared the same first name as one of his nieces. A published author, Woods worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C. and also lived in Denver for a time. She went with the 82nd Airborne Division to England with the American Red Cross during World War II and returned in January of 1946 on the Queen Mary. She later married Oscar Holtz.

    Scope and Content

    The Robert Harborough Sherard collection is comprised of papers and correspondence regarding or written by Robert Harborough Sherard, and collected by both Glennyth M. Woods and Francis Watson. Oscar Wilde and his posthumous reputation figure importantly in the correspondence collected here, and other documents discuss Sherard's own career and other acquaintances.
    The Francis Watson collection on Sherard was primarly assembled during Watson's preparation of a radio program about Sherard, which was produced in 1987. He had corresponded and built up a friendship with Sherard, and the papers include several letters from Sherard in the 1930s, copies of pamphlets, and the script for the above-mentioned radio program.
    The Glennyth Woods collection of Sherard materials is primarily composed of correspondence between Woods and Sherard regarding Oscar Wilde and other matters, but also includes letters between Woods and Lord Alfred Douglas, correspondence between other parties and ephemera.

    Related Materials

    There is additional correspondence to and from Robert Harborough Sherard and other material related to him and his circle in the Oscar Wilde collection of the Clark Library. Please see the Clark's Wilde-related finding aids for these materials.


    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Glennyth M. Woods collection on Robert Sherard, 1895, 1937-1944. .25 linear feet
    • Series 2. Francis Watson collection on Robert Sherard, 1933-1938, 1977-1987. .25 linear feet

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Letters -- United States -- 20th century
    Letters -- England -- 20th century
    Radio plays -- England -- 20th century
    Ephemera -- England -- 20th century
    Authors -- 20th century -- Correspondence
    Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900
    Douglas, Alfred Bruce, Lord