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Wilde (Oscar) and his Literary Circle Collection: Wildeiana
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Collection Details
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  • Provenance
  • Access
  • Restrictions on Use
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Note
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content

  • Contributing Institution: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    Title: Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Wildeiana
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.Wildeiana
    Physical Description: 35 Linear Feet 30 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1858-1998
    Abstract: This finding aid describes a wide-ranging collection of material relating to Oscar Wilde and to his literary and artistic circle in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Great Britain.
    Physical Location: Clark Library.
    Language of Material: English .


    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.
    It appears that large segments of the Wildeiana collection were likely originally part of the collection assembled by Wilde bibliographer Christopher Millard. The actual date the Clark acquired these materials is unknown and any documentation about the source of these items has been lost.


    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item, subseries and series], Oscar Wilde and His Literary Circle Collection: Wildeiana. William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Processing Note

    Many of the manuscript and print materials described within this finding aid are also cataloged individually. 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 (approximately 2900 items) was compiled by John Charles Finzi and published as Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle by the University of California Press. Many of the items listed below also include Finzi catalog numbers.
    In 2000, the first version of the Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle online finding aid, which described all Wilde archival materials in the Clark collections was written by John Howard Fowler. In 2009, this original finding aid was separated into several parts by Rebecca Fenning in order to make its very large size (over 1000 pages) more manageable for researchers.
    In 2013-2014, Rebecca Fenning Marschall physically reorganized material in the Wildeiana collection in addition to reorganizing and streamlining the Wildeiana finding aid, so that the collection could be more easily paged and accessed by researchers.
    Wildeiana Boxes 24 and 25 were processed and cataloged by Rebecca Fenning Marschall in 2017. These boxes consist of previously uncataloged material that had been at the library from before at least 2005.

    Biographical Note

    Oscar Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin, Ireland, October 16, 1854. He attended Trinity College and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won 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 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 Wildeiana finding aid describes the ephemera and related materials portions of the Clark Library's Oscar Wilde Collection, which comprises items that are about Wilde, but not necessarily by Wilde. These items include photographs and portraits of Wilde and his colleagues, caricatures and cartoons, literary and theater reviews, news clippings, correspondence related to exhibitions and conferences, bookseller catalogs containing Wilde materials, and various other items.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900
    Douglas, Alfred Bruce, Lord
    Wilde, Constance, 1858-1898
    Beerbohm, Max, Sir, 1872-1956
    Bryan, Alfred, 1852-1899
    Clark, William Andrews, 1877-1934