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Olga Rudge papers : addition

Call Number: YCAL MSS 241

Scope and Contents

The Olga Rudge Papers Addition consists of material relating to the life and work of Olga Rudge received by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library after the processing of the 1990 accession of the Olga Rudge Papers was complete. The addition contains correspondence, personal and family papers, photographs, and a variety of printed material. The papers span the dates 1819-1996, but the bulk of the material dates from the 1960s through the 1980s.

The collection is housed in 62 boxes and organized into ten series: Correspondence, Personal Papers, Rudge Family Papers, Photographs, Music, Writings of Others, Newspaper and Magazine Clippings, Printed Material, Periodicals, and Audio Tapes and Other Recordings. Boxes 51-53 house Oversize material.

Series I, Correspondence , is housed in Boxes 1-7 and is organized into four subseries: General Correspondence, First Name Only Correspondence, Birthday Telegrams and Envelopes, and Third-Party Correspondence.

Most of the files in General Correspondence contain one to three letters to Olga Rudge, many from old friends and others who are more extensively documented in YCAL MSS 54. These include Pietro Ambrosini, Sabine Awiszus, Joyce and Geoffrey Bridson, conte Guido Chigi-Saracini, Mabel Duncan, Maria Favai, James Laughlin, Lindy Melton, Desmond O'Grady, Dachine Rainer, Peter Russell, Vanni Scheiwiller, Blanche Somers-Cocks, and Max Wykes-Joyce.

Olga Rudge's extensive correspondence with Ezra Pound is found in Boxes 1-32 of the Olga Rudge Papers, but folders 181-183 of this addition contain approximately twenty letters, notes and enclosures to Olga Rudge from Ezra Pound, most undated. A few are from the earlier years of their relationship, and most are written in the third-person style Rudge and Pound used for their most personal communications. A diagram in pencil by Pound of his mental and emotional universe is found in folder 181. The center of the circle is "E.P hiz poems," surrounded by circles for "E.P. hiz muzik and economiks," and "general prose." Further from the center are "her affairs--those to her advantage within a few months." The outer edge of the diagram is labeled simply, in large capitals, "NO." Folder 183 contains a note which may be in Pound's very late, shaky hand: "Heroic Olga insuperata. Where there beauty she saw it," annotated further by Rudge.

Third Party Correspondence, housed in boxes 6 and 7, holds over fifty files of letters addressed to Ezra Pound as well as fifteen that hold letters and letter drafts by him. As in the General Correspondence subseries, most of these files contain a small quantity of letters from correspondents whose connections with Pound are more extensively documented elsewhere. Correspondents include Alfredo Casella, Cyril Connolly, Achilles Fang, Guy Hickok, Adriana Ivancich, and Winaretta de Polignac. Most of the items in folders 352-366 are actually photostats annotated by Rudge, but folder 358 contains several drafts of notes to Donald Gallup in Pound's late hand.

Series II, Personal Papers , is housed in boxes 8-13 and contains personal papers of Olga Rudge, including agendas, calling cards, financial papers, legal papers, memorabilia and a few writings. Much of the material is of biographical interest. In her later years, Rudge attempted to document her own life extensively, creating albums of collected material, located in boxes 8 and 9, which are filled with informative items grouped thematically or idiosyncratically, including programs, letters, photographs, notes and memorabilia. Likewise, the notes in Box 13 concern the central events and persons in her life, particularly Ezra Pound; the I Ching notes and cards from 1985 supplement the 7 boxes of I Ching notebooks found in YCAL MSS 54. Memorabilia includes a keepsake book signed by numerous friends in honor of her 100th birthday in 1995.

Series III, Rudge Family Papers , fills boxes 14 and 15 and is organized into three subseries: Correspondence with Olga Rudge, Third Party Correspondence, and Family Papers. The two correspondence subseries contain mostly single letters by or to various Rudge relatives, particularly Rudge's mother, Julia O'Connell Rudge. Family Papers has been arranged alphabetically by family member and includes information on Ernest Harold Baynes's plans to domesticate the American buffalo; printed items on the singing career of Julia O'Connell Rudge; and several folders of material related to Peter Buchanan Templeton, a reporter during the 1850s and 1860s, including correspondence and credentialing letters; a scrapbook of clippings of his work, and several shorthand notebooks.

Series IV, Photographs, is housed in boxes 16-24 and contains photographs of Rudge, Pound, their family, Rudge's family, their friends and colleagues, and a variety of places and objects. Undated photographs have been placed in a rough chronological order when possible, but no attempt has been made to assign exact dates to them. The album housed in box 16, folder 572 contains several snapshots taken during Dorothy Pound's trip to the eastern Mediterranean in 1925-26, including several group pictures taken in Egypt. Photographs of Olga Rudge with others include shots of her 1921 summer in Capri with Renata Borgatti, Lindy Shaw-Paige, and Mimy Franchetti.

The subseries "Places" contains photographs taken by Ezra Pound during their walking tour of the Dordogne; shots of Rudge's homes in Sant'Ambrogio and Venice; and an image of Mabel and Ethel Duncan's apartment.

Series V, Music , is housed in boxes 25-29 and contains documentation of Rudge's musical career and research interests. Material related to her work for the Accademia Musicale Chigiana as secretary to conte Guido Chigi-Saracini fills box 25 and includes copies of the bulletin she edited, newspaper clippings and publicity material. There is one folder of contemporary newspaper clippings documenting her performances in the Concerti Tigulliani in Rapallo in the 1930s, and a folder of miscellaneous announcements and programs featuring Rudge. Boxes 28 and 29 hold papers and copies of microfilm connected to her substantial research on Vivaldi, which began in the 1930s.

Series VI, Writings of Others , (boxes 30-32) is arranged alphabetically by author. Most of the included items are printed or clipped copies of works; for example, folder 835 contains a copy of George Antheil's 1924 article about Pound's music for the Chicago Tribune, "Why a Poet Quit the Muses." A hand-illustrated copy of Morton Grinker's Meditation: A Cycle of eleven poems is located in box 30, folder 855. The series also contains a corrected typescript carbon of what appears to be the letters of Ezra Pound to James Laughlin; a photocopy of Donald Pearce's edition of Ezra Pound's correspondence with John Theobald; and a bound typescript of Dachine Rainer's "Giornale di Venezia," accompanied by a typescript poem dedicated to Rudge. Uncorrected galley proofs of Edith Sitwell's "Ezra Pound" are located in Oversize, box 51, folder 1198.

Items by Ezra Pound include galley proofs of Cantos XVII-XIX and "Cavalcanti;" the first printing of "Canto LXXIII" in Marina repubblicana on February 1, 1945; and a series of fragmentary notes probably written by Pound during the last years of his life.

Series VII, Newspaper and Magazine Clippings , is housed in boxes 33-36 and is organized into three topical subseries: Ezra Pound, Literature, and Other Subjects. There are fourteen folders of clippings concerning Ezra Pound, including book reviews, editorials, interviews, and obituaries. Articles, book reviews, and columns about other modern authors are located in Literature, alphabetically arranged by subject. Other Subjects contains files documenting Rudge's long-standing interests in topics including American history, Fascism in World War II, psychiatry, particularly psychiatric "abuses," and Venice.

Series VIII, Printed Material , (boxes 38-41) consists largely of miscellaneous printed material collected by Rudge, including advertisements, invitations, postcards and publishers' catalogs. Folders 1011-1021 hold many copies of Ezra Pound's funeral announcement, each accompanied by an envelope addressed in Rudge's hand.

Series IX, Periodicals, is located in boxes 42-49 and contains a variety of copies of magazines, quarterlies, newsletters and news journals owned by Olga Rudge. Political titles include L'Idea Sociale; The Social Crediter; and Social Justice.

Box 50 holds Series X, Audio Tapes and Other Recordings , which consists almost entirely of reel-to-reel tapes of readings and scholarly conference presentations. Folder 1182 contains an audio cassette of part of a meeting among Ezra Pound, Isamu Noguchi, and Buckminster Fuller at the Cini Foundation.

Oversize material is housed in boxes 51-53 and contains oversize items from all series.


  • 1819-1996


Language of Materials

Mostly in English; some material in Italian. A few letters in French.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 50, 54-62: (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Olga Rudge Papers Addition is 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

Purchased from Olga Rudge and the Ezra Pound Foundation in 1990. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Associated Materials

The majority of the 1990 purchase of papers from Olga Rudge and the Ezra Pound Foundation was processed as YCAL MSS 54, Olga Rudge Papers. Additional Ezra Pound material was acquired at the same time from the same source, and was processed as YCAL MSS 53, Ezra Pound Papers Addition.


33.66 Linear Feet ((65 boxes) + 3 broadside folders)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL



OLGA RUDGE (1895-1996)

Olga Rudge was born in Youngstown, Ohio on April 13, 1895, the daughter of J. Edgar Rudge, a real estate investor, and Julia O'Connell Rudge, a singer. Around 1905, Julia Rudge moved to Europe with her three children, first to London and then to Paris, in pursuit of her singing career. Olga was educated at St. Anthony's Convent in Sherborne, England and began her musical training early, studying in Paris with the violinist Carambât.

At the outbreak of World War I both of her brothers, Arthur and Teddy, joined the R.A.F.: Arthur Rudge was killed in action in France in 1916. Olga's scrapbooks from the war are filled with notices of her playing at many war benefits and "war entertainments," some sponsored by Isodore de Lara. She also played at the Studio Meeting Society of Mrs. Katherine Dalliba-John, a patroness of Ildebrando Pizzetti who became a supporter of Rudge as well. Late in 1918, Rudge played modern Italian music with Pizzetti in a series of concerts in Italy.

During the war, she was often accompanied by the pianist Percy Kahn; but she began to appear increasingly with Renata Borgatti. Their concert at the Aeolian Hall in November 1920 was reviewed by Ezra Pound in the New Age: he praised the "delicate firmness of her fiddling" but objected to Borgatti's "piano whack."

Rudge continued to pursue her interest in modern Italian music, playing with Pizzetti and at the Sala Bach in Rome with Ernesto Consolo in 1921 and joining Renata Borgatti for a concert of Italian music at the Salle Pleyel in 1922.

Rudge met Ezra Pound in Paris in the summer of 1923. In an article in Il Mare ten years later Pound recalled "her delicate and unemphatic reserve" during their meeting at Natalie Barney's salon. Pound himself was highly interested in music at this time, attempting to compose an opera and promoting the work of American composer George Antheil. Pound and the young violinist soon began a professional collaboration and a personal relationship that was to endure for forty-nine years.

In December of that year Rudge and Antheil played at the Salle du Conservatoire. The program included pieces by Pound, Antheil, Mozart, and Bach. On July 7, 1924 Rudge and Antheil performed "Musique Americaine" at the Salle Pleyel, including two pieces by Pound and the Deuxième Sonate by Antheil, which he dedicated to Rudge.

During 1924, the Pounds were relocating from Paris to Rapallo, and Rudge visited Pound several times in Italy during the summer and fall. By early 1925 the optimistic Antheil was pressing Olga to join him on a musical tour in the United States, but she was unable to accept his invitations due to her pregnancy. She entered the Sanatoria della Cittá Bressanone in June 1925, where Mary Rudge was born on July 9. Pound joined her there at the end of the month, and their child was boarded with a family in the nearby village of Gais.

Rudge resumed her musical career. She played in the debut of Pound's opera, Paroles de Villon, at the Salle Pleyel in June 1926; rejoined Antheil for concerts in Budapest and Rome in 1927; and performed an all-Mozart program with Ernesto Consolo in Florence. With Daniel Amphitheatrow, Rudge played for Mussolini and received an audience with him. During the late 1920s, Rudge traveled constantly between Paris and various Italian cities, occasionally visiting friends and patrons in England as well. In the fall of 1928 she purchased a small house in Venice, 252 Calle Querini, with her father's assistance and began bringing Mary Rudge there for occasional visits, which often included Pound. Beginning in the summer of 1929 she also rented a small house in Sant'Ambrogio, above Rapallo; her yearly stays there gave her further opportunities to see Pound.

During the 1930s Rudge's concert career slackened, in part because the Depression had affected so many of the patrons who had previously sponsored musical performers. In 1933 she joined the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena as its secretary-receptionist, and worked there for part of every year until World War II. Between 1933 and 1939 she also played a prominent part in the Concerti Tigulliani, an annual series of concerts organized and promoted by Pound, along with musicians such as Gerhart Münch and Tibor Serly, and other guest artists.

Rudge and Pound were involved in promoting the music of Antonio Vivaldi. The Concerti Tigulliani for 1936 were devoted to "Vivaldi study" and performances of relatively unknown pieces. Rudge journeyed to Turin to study unedited Vivaldi manuscripts, and Pound obtained microfilm of others from Dresden. Rudge and Pound were both interested in microfilm as an aid in the study of early music manuscripts and tried to promote its use. She attempted to organize a Vivaldi Society with David Nixon in Venice. This failed, but with S. A. Luciani and Antonio Bruers, Rudge founded the Centro di Studi Vivaldiani within the Accademia Chigiana in 1938. The Settimana Vivaldiana was held in Siena in the following year. Organized by Rudge and Luciani and featuring Alfredo Casella, the festival showcased many neglected concerti and the opera L'Olympiade. Rudge's thematic catalogue of the Turin manuscripts was published by the Accademia as part of its Vivaldi homage.

Rudge gradually stopped traveling outside of Italy as the political situation in Europe worsened; her last trip to England took place in the winter of 1935, during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. She supported Pound in his radio broadcasts and sometimes suggested topics based on newspaper articles or other information. During 1941 she apparently considered accompanying Pound to America, but abandoned this idea when Pound decided not to go.

With the onset of World War II Rudge no longer worked at the Chigiana. Her house in Venice was sequestered after America's entry into the war, and she spent most of her time in San Ambrogio. For the first years of the war she was sometimes accompanied by her daughter Mary, who had been attending a convent school in Florence. Pound continued his series of talks on Italian radio. When the Pounds were ordered out of their seafront apartment in Rapallo late in 1943 as enemy aliens, they moved in with Rudge for the duration of the war, while Mary returned to her foster parents in Gais. The war brought hardship to all of them. Food was scarce, and in the last months of the war the household's only income was the fees Rudge received for giving language lessons.

On May 3, 1945, Pound was arrested by partisans and brought to American army headquarters in Genoa. Rudge accompanied him there, and was released after questioning. Several months passed before she was permitted to correspond with Pound, although she and Mary visited him at least once while he was in detention in Pisa.

At the end of the war, Rudge resumed her work at the Accademia Chigiana, and her house in Venice was restored to her. During Pound's 12-year confinement in St. Elizabeths, she approached his friends and acquaintances with ideas that she hoped might lead to his release. She circulated a petition in Rapallo testifying that Pound had never been a member of the Fascist Party, and suggested to Eliot that Pound might be allowed to retire to a monastery in America. She also dealt with the students and disciples whom Pound sent to her in search of information in the "archives" of his papers at Sant'Ambrogio. She visited Pound in America in 1952 and 1955; after the second visit their correspondence was infrequent for several years.

On Pound's release from the asylum in 1958, he and Dorothy returned to Italy and moved in with his daughter Mary, who had married Boris de Rachewiltz and established residence at Brunnenberg castle in Tirolo. Pound's health deteriorated, and in 1962 he joined Olga Rudge permanently in Venice after almost a year in a clinic at Martinsbrunn. For the next ten years Rudge cared for the frail and almost silent Pound, arranging his schedule and dealing with the increasing numbers of scholars and admirers who wanted contact with him. In 1965 they journeyed to London for the funeral of T.S. Eliot; on their last extended trip, they came to the United States in 1969. Pound died on November 1, 1972, and Rudge took charge of the funeral arrangements in Venice.

Over the next decade and a half, Rudge continued to live in Venice. She had frequent contacts with Pound scholars, giving interviews, answering requests, and helping to organize several exhibits and tributes to Pound, while pursuing several possible plans for memorials in Idaho and Venice. One of these, the Ezra Pound Foundation, became a source of controversy and family distress in the later 1980s, and was eventually legally dissolved.

By 1990, Rudge's memory was obviously failing, and she could no longer live alone at 252 Calle Querini. She spent the last years of her life with her daughter Mary at Schloss Brunnenberg, where she died on March 15, 1996 at the age of 101.

Guide to the Olga Rudge Papers Addition
Under Revision
by Diane J. Ducharme
June 2007
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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