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Ezra Pound Papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 43

Scope and Contents

The Ezra Pound Papers document the life and career of the poet Ezra Pound. The papers span the dates 1868-1976, but the bulk of the material covers the years 1918-1960.

The papers are arranged in six series. Series I, General Correspondence consists of alphabetically arranged correspondence to and from Ezra Pound. Series II, Family Correspondence is composed of chronologically arranged correspondence to Homer and Isabel Pound from Ezra Pound. Series III, Family Correspondence With Others contains alphabetically arranged correspondence sent to Homer and Isabel Pound. Series IV, Manuscripts, consists of manuscripts arranged by title, surname, or subject, written by Ezra Pound. Manuscripts written by others are arranged by author at the end of the series. Series V, Personal and Financial Documents, is composed of the financial and personal papers of Ezra Pound. Series VI, Printed Material, contains printed material relating to Ezra Pound.

Series I, General Correspondence , consists of alphabetically arranged correspondence to and from Ezra Pound spanning the years 1868-1976. The material is arranged chronologically within each folder. Pound corresponded with many writers, poets, and critics throughout his life and his letters discuss a variety of topics, including history, politics, art, economics, music, and poetry. Individuals of interest include Richard Aldington, Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach, Basil Bunting, Jean Cocteau, E. E. Cummings, H.D., T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, James Laughlin, Wyndham Lewis, Archibald Macleish, Marianne Moore, H. L. Mencken, John Quinn, W. B. Yeats, and Louis Zukofsky. Other correspondents include George Antheil, Sir Max Beerbohm, William Bird, Constantin Brancusi, Mary Butts, Nancy Cunard, Eva Hesse, Robert McAlmon, Benito Mussolini, and Norman Holmes Pearson.

Pound acted as a contributor and editor for many publications, including Poetry, The Dial, The Little Review, Hound and Horn, The Townsman, and Four Pages.

Series II, Family Correspondence , consists of chronologically arranged photocopies of letters to Homer and Isabel Pound from Ezra Pound, spanning the years 1895-1948. Series III, Family Correspondence With Others , houses alphabetically arranged letters to Pound's parents, spanning the years 1906-1944, from non-family members including T. S. Eliot, H.D., John Quinn, May Sinclair, and W. B. Yeats.

Series IV, Manuscripts , consists of writings arranged in a single alphabetical sequence combining titles, surnames, and subjects. For instance, the section devoted to the cantos is arranged numerically by canto, while A Lume Spento is arranged by poem. The section concerning Radio is divided into alphabetically arranged sections. In addition to writings by Pound, the series holds manuscripts written by others and sent to Pound. Included are manuscripts by Richard Aldington, J. P. Angold, D. G. Bridson, Basil Bunting, E. E. Cummings, H.D., Eva Hesse, Paul Morand, William Carlos Williams, and W. B. Yeats, as well as a group of manuscripts which Pound submitted to The Dial.

Series V, Personal and Financial Documents , is composed of personal papers relating to Ezra Pound, spanning the years 1914-1961. The Series contains addresses, identification cards, calling cards, bills and receipts, and royalty statements.

Series VI, Printed Material , is arranged into three subseries: Ephemera and Periodical Contributions; Periodicals; and Newspapers. The first subseries contains printed ephemera and periodical contributions by Pound (including translations of works by Pound) that are described fully in Donald Gallup, Ezra Pound, A Bibliography (Charlottesville, 1983), and these have been arranged by Gallup bibliographic number. Periodicals contains issues of periodicals owned and/or annotated by Pound, and these have been arranged alphabetically by periodical title. The final subseries, Newspapers, consists of alphabetically arranged issues of newspapers, many of which contain Pound contributions or annotations. As all of the material in this subseries is oversize, the full listing for these items is found at the end of Oversize.

Series VII, Scrapbooks, contains scrapbooks that were kept by Pound's father, Homer Pound. Series VIII, Clippings and Ephemera, contains newspaper clippings and other printed items collected by Ezra Pound.

Oversize material in series order is housed in 42 boxes at the end of the collection.


  • 1868-1976


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 148(audiovisual material): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 277-279: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Ezra Pound 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

The papers were purchased from the estate of Ezra Pound and the poet's daughter, Mary de Rachewiltz, in 1973.


203.4 Linear Feet (300 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Ezra Pound Papers document the literary career and political interests of Ezra Pound. Major correspondents include Richard Aldington, George Antheil, William Bird, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, James Laughlin, Wyndham Lewis, Marianne Moore, Odon Por, and Henry Swabey. The collection contains manuscripts of many of Pound's works, including the Cantos, Guide to Kulchur, and scripts of Pound's wartime radio broadcasts.


1885 Born Oct 30 in Hailey, Idaho, a small mining town where his father was an official in the Federal Land Office. Only child of Homer Loomis Pound of Wisconsin and Isabel Weston of New York City.

1887 Moved East to Wyncotte, near Philadelphia, where he was raised.

1901 Entered the University of Pennsylvania and attended two years. Met William Carlos Williams during the second academic year (1902-03) and initiated a lifelong friendship. He also came to know Hilda Doolittle ("H.D.") who attended Bryn Mawr College (1905-06).

1905 Received bachelor of philosophy (Ph.B) degree from Hamilton College, New York. Returned to University of Pennsylvania for graduate studies, obtaining an M.A. in 1906. Worked another year towards doctoral degree, developing a talent for languages.

1906 First three articles were published in Book News Monthly (Philadelphia) from material collected during a summer trip to Europe. "Raphaelite Latin," focusing on the Latin poets of the Renaissance, and "Interesting French Publications," on the troubadours, were both published in September. The third article, "Burgos, a Dream City of Old Castile" appeared in the October issue.

1907 Joined the faculty of Wabash Presbyterian College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, as Professor of Romance Languages. Left after one semester and in February 1908 set sail for Europe, taking the manuscript of a book of poems which had been rejected by an American publisher.

1908 While staying in Venice, published A Lume Spento at his own expense.

Settled in London, striking up a friendship with Ford Madox Ford, writer and editor of the English Review. Ford provided introductions to such prominent English literary figures as William Butler Yeats and Wyndham Lewis. Pound published several poems and articles in the English Review.

1909 Personae, a book of poems published by Elkin Mathews.


1910 The Spirit of Romance, a text based on lectures delivered in London (1909-10).


1911 Met Alfred Orage, editor of the Socialist Weekly, New Age, who began to publish articles by Pound.


1912 Became London correspondent for Poetry (Chicago).

Named the "Imagist Movement."


1913 Employed as Yeats' secretary (winters of 1913-14 and 1914-15), living at Stone Cottage, in the Ashdown Forest, Sussex.

1914 Edited Des Imagistes, the first anthology of Imagist poetry. Began correspondence with James Joyce.

Met T. S. Eliot. Pound subsequently encouraged Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry, to print one of Eliot's poems.

Married Dorothy Shakespear, the daughter of Olivia Shakespear, a close friend of Yeats.

1915 Cathay, an English translation of early Chinese poetry, inspired by the work of the late Ernest Fenollosa.

1916 Lustra.

Certain Noble Plays of Japan and "Noh" or Accomplishment.

1919 Quia Pauper Amavi.

1920 Hugh Selwyn Mauberly.


1921 Moved to Paris where he met Ernest Hemingway. Other Paris associates included Joyce, Cocteau, and Brancusi.

Edited T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land." Wrote "Paris Letter" for the New York literary journal The Dial.

Completed work on a one-act opera, "Le Testament," based on poems of François Villon; the opera was first performed in Paris (1926) and later in London (1931 and 1962).

Other important works published during the period 1921-24 included Poems, 1918-1921 (1921); The Natural Philosophy of Love, a translation from Remy de Gourmont's Physique de l'amour, (1922); and Indiscretions, an autobiographical fragment (1923).

1924 Moved to Rapallo, Italy.

1925 A Draft of XVI Cantos.

1926 Personae (The Collected Poems).

1927 Edited his own magazine, Exile (1927-28).

1928 Draft of Cantos 17-27.

Ta Hio: The Great Learning.

1930 A Draft of XXX Cantos.

In the next ten years, there were three more publications of "The Cantos:" Eleven New Cantos (1934); The Fifth Decade of Cantos (1937); Cantos LII-LXXI (1940). A collection of essays, Make It New, was also published in 1934.

With Olga Rudge, arranged a series of concerts during this period which helped to lead to the twentieth century rediscovery of Antonio Vivaldi.

1933 Increasing interest in economic theory led to an intensive study of monetary reform and a series of publications: ABC of Economics (1933); Social Credit (1935); What is Money For? (1939).

1935 Involvement in politics resulted in an essay declaring his admiration for Benito Mussolini, Jefferson and/or Mussolini.

1937 Confucius: Digest of the Analects.

1939 Visited United States for the first time since 1910. Received honorary degree from Hamilton College.

1940 Began 'Radio Broadcasts' from Rome. Openly condemned United States role in war effort.

1942 Attempted without success to join evacuation of United States nationals from Italy.

1943 Charged with treason, in absentia (Washington, D.C.).

1945 Arrested by United States forces, spending 6 months in the Army Disciplinary Training Center near Pisa. Later brought to Washington D. C. for treason trial.

1946 Found medically unfit to stand trial and committed to Saint Elizabeth's Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Washington, D.C.

1947 Confucius: The Unwobbling Pivot and The Great Digest.

1948 The Pisan Cantos.

1949 Received Bollingen Prize for The Pisan Cantos.

1954 The Classical Anthology Defined by Confucius.

1955 Section: Rock Drill 85-95 de los cantares.

1956 Sophokles Women of Trachis, a translation.

1958 Released from Saint Elizabeth's Hospital and returned to Italy, taking up residence in his daughter's home near Merano.

1959 Thrones, 96-109 de los cantares.

1960 Impact, economic, political and cultural essays.

1965 Traveled to London for funeral of T. S. Eliot. Visited widow of W. B. Yeats in Dublin.

1969 Briefly revisited United States.

1972 Died on November 1 in Venice.

Processing Information

Material from the former Series IV, Special Correspondence, has been interfiled into Series I.

Scrapbooks and clippings acquired with the papers were not listed in the collection at the time that it was processed. These have now been processed to a basic level and in 2021 were added to the collection as Series VII and VIII.

Guide to the Ezra Pound Papers
by Phyllis Cohen
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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