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Landor papers

Call Number: OSB MSS 23

Scope and Contents

The Landor Papers contain correspondence and other material principally relating to the financial and family difficulties of Landor's later years. The papers span the dates 1838-1880 and have been organized into two series: I. Correspondence; and II. Other Papers.

Series I,Correspondence , is housed in Boxes 1-2 and contains alphabetically arranged letters to and by Landor and other family members. The letters from Landor to his children, located in folders 48-54, present his view's of the family's quarrels and their financial burdens, while the letters of Elizabeth Sophia Landor discuss Landor's problems and Browning's attempts to assist him in Florence. Other correspondence includes many brief social notes from his friend and admirer Rose Paynter and business letters from several advisors.

Series II,Other Papers , is housed in Boxes 2-3. Folders 84-99 contain a variety of fragments in Landor's late hand, many of them apparently quotations from his own work or attempts at versification. Other material includes genealogical notes and a partial description of some items in the collection.


  • 1838-ca. 1880


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Landor Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.


1.04 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers contain correspondence and other manuscripts principally relating to the financial and familial troubles of Landor's last years. Letters from his niece Elizabeth Sophia Landor to Robert Browning discuss Landor's affairs in detail and Browning's attempts to assist his friend in Florence; Landor's letters to his children Walter, Julia and Charles present his view of the family's struggles. Other correspondents include his friend and admirer Rose Paynter; Richard Monckton Milnes; and Luizinha O'Donnell.
The collection also contains approximately 300 manuscript fragments by Landor, including drafts of letters, short poems, statements concerning his legal affairs, and memoranda.


Walter Savage Landor was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College, Oxford, from which he was sent down in 1794 after firing a gun at the windows of a fellow-student. In the course of a long and frequently unsettled life, Landor published poetry, criticism, travel works and memoirs, and is now principally remembered for the prose dialogues Imaginary Conversations (1824-1853).

Landor was acquainted with some of the notable literary figures of his time, including Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt, Charles Dickens, Robert Southey, and John Forster, but both his literary and his personal relationships were often marked by quarrels and difficulties. He married Julia Thuillier in 1811; the Landors and their growing family lived in Florence until 1835, when Landor separated from his wife and returned to England. In 1857, after a series of legal and financial entanglements culminated in a costly libel judgement against him, Landor fled back to Florence, where he made several unsuccessful attempts at residing with his family before he was eventually settled in an apartment by Robert Browning and given an allowance by his brothers at Browning's request. In the last year of his life, he was visited by Algernon Charles Swinburne, who dedicated his "Atalanta in Calydon" to him. Landor died in Florence on September 17, 1864, survived by his four children.

Processing Information

This finding aid was produced from a previously existing card set in the Manuscripts Catalog. All pertinent bibliographic information has been retained.

Guide to the Landor Papers
Under Revision
by Diane J. Ducharme
December 2001
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

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