William Force Stead papers
Scope and Contents
Series I through Series VI contain material acquired in 1969 and organized shortly thereafter into six series, while Series VII through X contain post-1969 acquisitions in order of acquisition, and Series XI contains printed material acquired at various times during the 1970s. For some types of material, therefore, it is necessary to consult several series.Correspondence is located in Series I, Correspondence, as well as in Series VII through Series X, while Stead's writings are located in Series II, Series III, and Series VII and Series X. Many of the items in Series XI, Printed Materials, are also works by Stead.
Correspondence includes extensive and detailed family correspondence with Stead's father, brother, and wife, Anne Frances Goldsborough Stead; letters from a number of English literary figures, including Edmund Blunden, T. S. Eliot, Frank Morley, Lady Ottoline Morrell, and W. B.Yeats, and English composer Henry Vere Fitzroy Somerset; and letters from a variety of scholarly and religious colleagues on personal and professional subjects. The Stead Papers also contain notes, drafts, and manuscripts and typescripts for many of Stead's works, particularly his poetry and his religious meditations; folders with titles beginning with "Stead" in Series II appear to contain draft chapters of an unpublished memoir. Other material of biographical interest includes several boxes of diaries; papers relating to Stead's consular service; and school notebooks, found in Series IV, as well as additional personal and family documentation in Series VII through Series X.
- 1859 - 1968
- Majority of material found within 1900 - 1940
Conditions Governing Access
Box 68 (film reel): â€¡a Restricted fragile material. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
T. S. Eliot letter to W. F. Stead, 1930 December 2, purchased from Gotham Book Mart, 1969.
32.83 Linear Feet (75 boxes)
Language of Materials
William Force Stead, 1884-1967
Stead was ordained a minister in the Church of England in 1916, and served for two years as a curate at Ross-on-Wye. He received his B.A. in theology from Queen's College, Oxford in 1921, following which he was appointed Assistant Chaplain of the English Church in Florence, Italy. In 1926 Stead received an M.A. from Queen's College, and thereafter served as Chaplain of Worcester College, Oxford from 1926 to 1933. It was during this time that he baptized his friend, the American-born poet T. S. Eliot, into the Church of England. Stead's other literary friends included W. B. Yeats, Edmund Blunden, Richard Cobden-Sanderson, C. S. Lewis, and Robert Sencourt.
Between 1911 and 1933 Stead published seven volumes of poetry, including Windflowers (1911), Festival in Tuscany (1927), and Uriel: A Hymn in Praise of Divine Immanence (1933).
In August of 1933 Stead was received into the Roman Catholic Church by the English Dominican Bede Jarrett. Anne Stead had become a Catholic three years earlier, and spent much of her time in a convent in Birmingham. As a result of his conversion, Stead resigned from the Worcester College chaplaincy; he moved to the nearby village of Clifton Hampden. During the 1930s, Stead published anthololgies, magazine articles and reviews; wrote a B.Litt thesis on the works of the Jesuit poet Robert Southwell; and published the first edition of Christopher Smart's Jubiliate Agno.
Stead and his son Peter sailed for the United States on August 12, 1939 to visit relatives in Baltimore. World War II broke out before they could return to England, and their passports were canceled. Anne Stead remained in England throughout the war, choosing to remain close to their oldest child, Philip, who had proved to be mentally handicapped and was institutionalized.
Stead never lived in England again, although he visited several times after the war. From 1943 through 1958 he was Professor of English at Trinity College in Washington, DC, a Roman Catholic school for girls. In Baltimore, Stead met Nancy Howard DeFord Venable, a widow and literary hostess, and eventually shared her homes in Baltimore and St. Mâlo, France with her. The pair traveled frequently and entertained literary friends, including T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, William Golding, Vere Somerset, and Tennessee Williams. Stead's health and memory began to fail in the final years of his life, and he died in Nancy Venable's Baltimore home on March 8, 1967.
As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection, acknowledgement lists created by library staff, and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are largely based on those provided by the creator or by library staff in the 1970s. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders. Some folder titles are apparently original; other folder titles were supplied by staff during the initial processing and in 2010.
- American poetry -- 20th Century
- Audiovisual materials
- Authors, American -- 20th Century
- Authors, English -- 20th century
- Blunden, Edmund, 1896-1974
- Catholic converts
- Christian life
- Church of England (Clergy)
- Diaries -- Great Britain -- 20th Century
- Diaries -- United States -- 20th Century
- Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965
- English literature -- 20th Century
- English poetry -- 20th Century
- Golding, William, 1911-1993
- Great Britain -- Intellectual life -- 20th Century
- Keats-Shelley Memorial Association
- Morley, Frank, 1860-1937
- Morrell, Ottoline Violet Anne Cavendish-Bentinck, Lady, 1873-1938
- Motion pictures (visual works)
- Photographs -- Great Britain -- 20th Century
- Religious poetry
- Stead family
- Stead, Anne Frances Goldsborough
- Stead, William Force, 1884-1967
- Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
- Guide to the William Force Stead Papers
- by Diane J Ducharme and Thanh Tran
- June 2010
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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