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Olga Rudge Papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 54

Scope and Contents

The Olga Rudge Papers document the life and activities of musician Olga Rudge and her fifty-year relationship with the poet Ezra Pound. The papers span the dates 1887-1989, but the bulk of the material covers the years 1923-80.

The papers are arranged in eleven series. Series I, Rudge-Pound Correspondence, is housed in Boxes 1-32 and consists of the personal correspondence of Olga Rudge and Ezra Pound from 1923 to 1969. This is followed by Series II, General Correspondence (Boxes 33-92), which contains the personal and professional correspondence of Rudge herself. Series III, Notebooks, fills Boxes 93-102 and includes a series of daily I Ching readings and Rudge's comments on them, as well as notes by Rudge on various subjects, often relating to Ezra Pound. Series IV, Personal Papers, is located in Boxes 102-24. Arranged alphabetically by type of material, the series holds Rudge's writings; biographical information, notes and inventories; and a variety of personal memorabilia.

Boxes 119-26 contain Series V, Financial Papers, which include bank statements, bills and receipts, and rental, tax, and utility information. Series VI, Printed Material, is housed in Boxes 127-34 and is arranged alphabetically by subject and type of material. Newspaper Clippings, Series VII (Boxes 135-41) contains clippings and articles on various topics collected by Rudge. Series VIII, Music, is located in Boxes 142-47 and consists of documentation of Rudge's musical career, including scores, publicity, and reviews. Series IX, Photographs (Boxes 148-54) holds photographs of Rudge, Pound, their families and friends, and other subjects. Family Papers are housed in Series X, Boxes 155-56, and include correspondence, personal papers, and photographs relating to the Rudge family, particularly Julia O'Connell Rudge and Arthur Rudge. Series XI, Box 163, contains papers of the Ezra Pound Foundation and has been restricted until 2016. Oversize material is located at the end of the collection, in Boxes 157-164.

Series I, Rudge-Pound Correspondence , occupies Boxes 1-32. Filling over fifteen feet of shelving and spanning almost a half-century, this extensive correspondence provides much information on the personal relationship and professional activities of Rudge and Pound. The correspondence is arranged chronologically, with Pound's and Rudge's letters interfiled. While Rudge habitually dated her letters, Pound was often more careless in this matter. Where no date appears on the letter, conjectural dates have been assigned, on the basis of postmarks (not always reliable in the case of the Rapallo post office), subject matter, and stationery. Letters that cannot be dated more closely than by year are filed at the end of each year; completely undated letters are located at the end of the correspondence.

One of the most remarkable features of Pound's letters to Rudge are the frequent enclosures. Beginning in the 1920s, it was Pound's habit to send on letters and stray pages of letters from his desk as a way of keeping her informed about his daily activities. He also sent, on occasion, manuscripts of his current work, including Cantos and parts of Cantos, for her to read and comment on. The originals of these enclosures have been filed with the Ezra Pound Addition (YCAL MSS 53) and marked with the date of the original Pound letter in which they appeared. They have been replaced in the Olga Rudge Papers by photocopies.

The correspondence begins in Paris in the summer of 1923, with brief notes arranging meetings between the two and with George Antheil. A letter of November 5, for example, tells Rudge "Come here Tuesday at 3:30" and goes on to instruct her "dont buy a ticket for me unless it is something bloody remarkable--remember I wuz a critik for 3 years= + have had enough concerts to last me for life..." The letters for most of 1924 are concerned with the Pounds' move to Italy, arrangements to meet with Rudge in various cities, such as in Genoa in November 1924, and plans for concerts.

As Rudge's pregnancy proceeded in the winter and spring of 1925, their letters became preoccupied with Rudge's medical plans, travel to Bressanone, and the problems of Italian law, as well as Rudge's need to find suitable reasons for declining to join Antheil on a concert tour. Pound's letters also contain anecdotes about the literary scene and news of his own work. A letter of 22 June, for example, contains his opinions of Italian books, the fact that "Mr Hemingway has bust his hand in a proize fite," and Pound's resolve "to assissinate all my contemporaries ... have begun by sending them defamatory letters ..." The summer's letters are devoted to the news of Mary Rudge's birth and Rudge's health; folder 38 contains several letters of congratulation from Pound on varying stationery and in disguised handwriting, although he complained in one that "he can not disguise his handschrift."

Throughout the 1920s, the correspondence is filled with personal news, Pound's literary opinions, enclosed letters from friends, and complex travel arrangements for both. Pound reveals his skill as a publicist in his frequent advice to Rudge on her musical career, the importance of patrons and press notes, and her relations with the mercurial Antheil. Eager to "boom" her 1927 concerts, Pound scolded her lack of attention to press coverage in a January 31 letter: "He is naturally pleased to hear she played the fiddle, but in the early stages of a CAREER the utility of performance is, to say the least, enhanced by allowing the fact to LEAK OUT. DAMN THE EXPENTZ." A calmer letter dated February 21 notes, "All right, she play for Muss," and in the same month Pound praises Marinetti as an "excellent press agent." He frequently comments on his reading. On the 30th of October, he writes: "Have at last seen Hem's great popular novel, very poor with bright spots now-n-again."

During the late 1920s, Pound sent many brief letters describing daily events in Rapallo, particularly mentioning time spent playing tennis or talking with Yeats, as well as reporting on his literary activities and the progress of Exile, while Rudge's letters describe concerts, travel to Capri, France, and England, and her feelings for Pound. The letters of both also contain reports on the health of their daughter Mary and their impressions of her life in Gais. After Rudge's purchase of a house in Venice, many of Pound's letters are occupied with plans for remodeling.

The letters from December of 1928 to January 1930 are perhaps the most open statements about the nature of the Pound-Rudge relationship and each person's perception of it. Apparently in response to a letter from Rudge, Pound wrote a series of letters, beginning with December 9, 1928, explaining his views of their relationship and his theories of personal relations in general, which include the statements "My idea of hell is being expected to do something," and "I have never believed that the affairs of any two people concern a third." The discussion was carried on until Rudge's and Pound's reunion in April of 1929, and renewed in late 1929 and early 1930.

During the 1930s Rudge's life assumed a more regular pattern, with yearly stays in Sant'Ambrogio and time in Venice. Pound's life changed as well, as his parents moved to Rapallo and he became increasingly interested in ecomomics. His December 26, 1929 letters informed Rudge that he had told his father about Mary: "Took him sometime to digest the statement." Increasingly, the Depression became a factor as well. What Rudge referred to in a November 1930 letter as "the American crash" affected patrons like Katherine Dalliba-John, Arturo Brown, and her own father, leaving them unable to finance performances or travel. The letters of the early 1930s contain fewer comments on literature, and scattered asides on the political and financial situations of the United States and Italy.

However, Pound's letters continue to record daily events, including the August 1933 arrival of a postcard from James Laughlin, a "young Hawvud man wants to come to discuss assassinatin all his american elders." From 1933, the letters outline their plans for the Concerti Tigulliani and comment on the performers and concerts, detail Rudge's experiences as "secretary-receptionist" of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, and describe the increasing number of Pound's "projects." Vivaldi and microphotography are also important subjects, particularly during Rudge's researches in Turin in 1936.

Political and economic concerns come to the forefront of the correspondence during late 1935 and early 1936. Rudge embarked on her last visit to England shortly after Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, and her letters are filled with reports of the British "attitude," comments on Eden, discussion of the death of King George, and information on Social Credit and the New English Weekly, in answer to Pound's many questions. His lengthy replies describe the many articles and letters he is writing or planning, his disgust with the European condemnation of Mussolini, Social Credit and the need to propagandize for it in France, and their Vivaldi projects.

Pound's letters from London in the fall of 1938 are filled mainly with personal news and descriptions of the London scene; his letters from his trip to America in 1939 are more informative, listing political figures met and opinions exchanged.

Pound noted the outbreak of war on September 1, 1939 with a subdued letter: "Mebbe still some chance of England or Italy keepin out of the shindy...a chance for localizin' the show." Isolated from many of their correspondents and cautious about the Italian censors, both Pound and Rudge wrote mostly brief and mundane letters throughout 1940 and 1941, sometimes in Italian to avoid suspicion, although Pound complained in July 1940 that he "can't say censorship tends all expressione lirica del movimenti del cuore." Letters from the summer of 1940 comment on American political trends, Odon Por, the need of new education for a new era, and his articles for Italian newspapers and the Japan Times. Notes from late 1940 concern his plans to broadcast on Rome Radio.

Finally, on January 21, 1941, Pound was able to write from Rome: "finito la trasmissisone." The following day he reported recording two more talks. His letters from Rome are laconic and often concerned with broadcasting technicalities, requests for quotations or newspaper clippings, and brief lists of persons he has met. During the spring and summer of 1941 the letters often begin with comments on their horoscopes. There are also letters and telegrams concerning Pound's abandoned plans to reserve seats for his family on a Flying Clipper.

After America's entry into the war, Pound and Rudge corresponded mainly during Pound's absences from Rapallo to record radio broadcasts. These letters can be found in Box 23, folders 603-29 and Box 24, folders 630-38. They describe Pound's activities in Rome, technical information about the recording sessions, food, personal news of Rudge and their daughter (now with Rudge in Sant'Ambrogio), and articles in the Italian press. After the fall of Rome, Pound's increasingly infrequent letters arrived from Saló or Milan.

The only correspondence for the year 1945 is a short note dated "24 Giovedi / Maggio," stating "Talk is that I may go to Rome oggi." Rudge has identified this as a letter left for her by Pound on his way to the Pisan detention camp. The next item, an envelope of newspaper clippings from Washington, D. C., is postmarked Dec 24 1945.

The Rudge-Pound correspondence from his years in St. Elizabeths fills Boxes 23-30. The early St. Elizabeths letters contain copies of Confucian odes for Rudge, advice about their daughter Mary and new son-in-law Boris de Rachewiltz, denunciations of American life and politics, descriptions of his visitors, and requests for information. Pound frequently sent Rudge newspaper clippings, often of "animal interest" stories, odd events, or Westbrook Pegler columns. Rudge's letters contain descriptions of her life in Italy, family news, her passport problems, demands for information about Pound's condition, and suggestions for obtaining his release. Pound discouraged her attempts to visit him, saying in an October 1946 letter: "SHE damn well not set foot in this country...It is no place for her. No--when a man is down a well-hole you dont help by jumpin on top of him...NOTHING- to live on for anyone with less than $5000 a year. & hatred for any activity save pillage."

As the years went by, the correspondence often concerns Pound's students and disciples and his projects for them, some requiring Rudge's cooperation. Rudge often sent Pound her candid opinions of members of his new circle, noting of one attentive young researcher who wanted access to Pound's letters (stored at Sant'Ambrogio) that "he seems to have forgotten a lot of his Henry James." There are also discussions of Pound's plans for Rudge, which included her resuming her concert career and translating the rest of Enrico Pea.

Pound's letters during the 1950s became increasingly impersonal, but Rudge's plans for a second visit to St. Elizabeth's sparked a series of letters in which they analyze each other's character, explore their thirty-year relationship, and reflect on past events. These letters begin in late 1954 and continue until Rudge's visit to America in the summer of 1955.

There are almost no letters between July 1955 and the spring of 1959. Pound's letters resume with discussion of moving his belongings from Sant'Ambrogio to Brunnenburg. The letters from 1959 to 1962 are located in folders 863 to 873 and trace Pound's declining health and mood. A late 1959 letter notes that "INSIDE was where he belonged for COMFORT, and no responsibility able to think soap bubble and be lord of creation with no fuss." Some letters express regret for past actions and affection for Rudge. Rudge's notes are brief inquiries and attempts to cheer him.

Boxes 31 and 32 contain empty envelopes found with the Pound-Rudge correspondence. They have been arranged in roughly chronological order by decade.

Series II, General Correspondence , fills Boxes 33-92 and consists of the alphabetically arranged correspondence of Olga Rudge. Individuals represented by four or more items have received separate listings; the letter general files usually contain routine letters such as requests for autographs, Christmas cards, isolated business letters, and single notes. Unidentified correspondence has been placed toward the end of the series, in Boxes 83 and 84, followed by empty envelopes addressed to Rudge and a small section of alphabetically arranged third-party correspondence.

Pound lived with Rudge from 1962 to 1972, and correspondents often addressed letters to "Ezra Pound and Olga Rudge," "Ezra and Olga Pound," and other combinations. All of these letters are retained in the Olga Rudge Papers. Letters specifically addressed to Ezra Pound alone have been processed with the Ezra Pound Addition (YCAL MSS 53).

Family correspondents in the Olga Rudge Papers include Rudge's parents, brother, daughter, grandchildren, and various cousins. The correspondence with Julia O'Connell Rudge consists of letters exchanged while Rudge was a student at St. Anthony's Convent in Sherborne. Her letters describe school events, studies, and her relations with the other girls. Julia Rudge's letters offer sympathy, advice, and details of her own life and emotional state. The only surviving letters from J. Edgar Rudge discuss money he sent to his daughter and the financial difficulties he faced during the Depression. A 1930 letter, written shortly after Rudge had purchased her Venice house with her father's assistance, notes "you will have to try and do something to earn a living. It is too bad if you cannot make it go with your music..."

Letters from Rudge's brother Teddy are located in Box 71, folders 1937-52. There are a few letters from the 1920s, but most of the correspondence is post-1950. The letters contain family news, travel plans, discussions of Teddy's medical practice and dislike of postwar socialized medicine, and the varying fortunes of a parking lot in Youngstown that the two had inherited. The postwar letters offer limited assistance to Rudge while advising her to distance herself from Pound: "The less you are involved the better," according to a late 1945 letter. Folders 1934-36 contain letters written by Teddy Rudge's son Peter. These usually contain news of his family and plans to visit Italy, but a 1948 letter from Brunnenburg describes the last illness of Isobel Pound.

Boxes 63-69 contain the correspondence of Rudge's daughter, Mary de Rachewiltz. Spanning the years 1930-1989, these letters document many aspects of Rudge's personal life and relationship with Pound. The earliest notes, written from Gais in the German dialect of the area and in school Italian, seem to contain mostly thanks for visits or presents and requests for letters; edelweiss is frequently enclosed. Beginning in 1937, Mary often writes from the Istituto delle Signore Montalve alla Quiete in Florence, the convent school that she attended until the Second World War. In Italian, English, and occasionally French, the letters discuss her studies, teachers, school friends, her foster family in Gais, and her hopes for visits with Rudge and Pound. A letter from November 1938, for example, contains the news that Mary has become a Daughter of Mary, reports on her language lessons, notes that "Babbo has sent me a book of poems of Robert Browning, very beautiful," and expresses her wish to spend her holidays with the Marchers in Gais.

As the war in Europe worsened, Mary's letters began to reflect its effects on her own life. Rudge refused to allow her to go to Gais in the fall of 1939, despite her desire to go and "help them, who, you know well, don't know how to speak Italian." Other letters note sewing for soldiers, prayers for peace, and films of "the German soldiers in Paris." Also in 1940, at Pound's urging, Mary began a series of translation exercises, some of which are included in these letters.

Mary left the Quiete in the summer of 1941 and joined her mother first in Siena and then in Sant'Ambrogio. She spent several months in Gais in the summer and fall of 1942, and her letters discuss food, the Marcher family, the effects of the war in Gais, and news from Pound. A series of Rudge's replies for these months, written in German, survives as well. Mary returned to Gais in the summer of 1943, and remained separated from her parents until the end of the war. Her letters from this period document the various jobs she held, the last in an army hospital in the Dolomites, food, Todt work, friends, reactions to the war news, and fears for her family. A July 1943 letter begins "Temo anche per E. [Pound] che probabilimente torneré a Roma," while a February 1944 letter comments "sono cosi contente che E. possa continuare la sua attività." Pound appears to have been in fairly regular contact with his daughter, and in early 1945 she received copies of his new Cantos, which she called "stupefacenti."

Letters from 1945-47 deal with Mary's reaction to Pound's arrest and detention, news received from Pound's friends in America, money worries, and Mary's plans for the future. A series of 1946 letters describes her relationship with Boris de Rachewiltz and ask for Rudge's approval, noting that "for a woman marriage is a necessary arrangement (in my opinion.)"

Later letters detail the early years of her marriage, the couple's move to Brunnenberg castle, the arrival of Isobel Pound there, and the birth of Mary's children. Other letters contain support for Rudge in her own difficulties, plans for Pound's release, and descriptions of the Pound students and admirers who visited Brunnenberg at his suggestion. There are several letters reporting on her 1953 visit to Pound in Washington, as well as letters of advice concerning Rudge's own visits.

The letters from 1958 to 1962 are especially informative concerning Pound's life after his return to Italy. They describe his daily activities, conversation, moods, and illnesses in some detail, and record Mary's reactions to his often difficult behavior. In addition to having Pound, his wife, and Marcella Spann at Brunnenberg, Mary received visits from researchers and scholars, and she sent news of these to Rudge, remarking in August 1959 "Have reread the Aspern Papers last night, God I have a mind to make a big bonfire and burn up every single scrap of paper."

After Pound joined Rudge in 1962, Mary's letters were devoted to family news, inquiries after their health, and discussion of the complex legal issues surrounding the Pound archive. The last letters in this group describe Mary's own work, travel, and her family's affairs,

The collection also contains letters to Rudge from Mary's children, Walter de Rachewiltz and Patrizia de Rachewiltz de Vroom. These contain school and family news, travel descriptions, arrangements for visits to Venice, and occasionally drawings and sketches.

Rudge's early life is not well represented in this series. There are letters from Ethel and Mabel Duncan, family friends of the Rudges, discussing social events in Paris and London, mutual acquaintances, and music. Mabel Duncan was one of the first people in Rudge's circle to learn of the birth of Mary Rudge, and her 1936 letters contain good wishes, gossip from Paris, and advice on the education and social life for Mary. Ethel Duncan's letters include descriptions of receptions for Charles Maurras, a 1935 warning that "Mussolini is not always right," and 1952 reports on her visit to Pound at St. Elizabeths. Another friend, Etta Glover, sent Rudge her thoughts on her relationship with Pound, advice, and descriptions of her life in Uganda. Other long-term friends represented in the correspondence include the Reverend Desmond Chute, Blanche Somers-Cocks, and Adrian Stokes.

Box 41, folders 1321-25 hold letters by Rudge's early suitor, the biologist Egerton Charles Grey. The first letter, dated 1916, consists of a long poem addressed to "Dear Olga." Other letters contain discussion of Grey's feelings for Rudge, reminiscences about their meetings in London and Paris, proposals of marriage, and responses to her rejections of them. The letters from 1928, the year of Grey's death, are brief friendly notes.

Rudge's musical career is documented in her correspondence with fellow musicians, including George Antheil, Renata Borgatti, Alfredo Casella, Kathleen Dale, Ralph Lawton, Ildebrando Pizzetti, and Tibor Serly; with her patrons Nadia Boulanger, Arturo Brown, and Katherine Dalliba-John; and with conte Guido Chigi-Saracini, Luciano Alberti, and Armando Vannini. Antheil's letters include invitations and arrangements for visits, proposals for concert tours with Rudge, and discussion of his own career plans. Borgatti wrote frequently about the difficulties of establishing her own career and sent on news of acquaintances in the Paris music circle. The letters of Casella and Pizzetti contain information about concert tours and arrangements to meet with Rudge.

While Rudge's relationship with Katherine Dalliba-John, founder of the Studio Meeting Society, began during World War I, most of the letters in the Rudge Papers date from Dalliba-John's last years in Florence. They concern visits, her declining health, and the financial troubles brought on by the Depression. A 1932 letter notes, "I am terribly worried about money, for America is going to the dogs!" Her 1935 May 26 letter expresses her appreciation for a profile of her by Pound that appeared in Il Mare. Arturo Brown's correspondence discusses concerts he financed for Rudge, the music scene in Paris, mutual friends, and his travels between France and his native Argentina.

Rudge's professional activities as secretary of the Accademia Chigiana can be traced in the letters of conte Guido Chigi-Saracini. Topics include the planning of concert schedules, the quality and temperaments of visiting musicians, the Accademia's financial situation, and the relations between Chigi and the governments of Siena. Letters from the late 1930s contain information on the microfilming of Vivaldi manuscripts and the Vivaldi studies and performances sponsored by the Chigiana, as well as references to Rudge's publicity work and the Concerti Tigulliani. Further information on the Vivaldi studies and publications can be found in the letters of S. A. Luciani.

Rudge knew and corresponded with many of Pound's colleagues and friends, particularly after his arrest and confinement in St. Elizabeths, including Olivia Agresti Rossetti, Stella Bowen, Julian Cornell, Ronald Duncan, Viola Jordan, John Kasper, Douglas Paige, Peter Russell, and Henry Swabey. Their letters contain expressions of sympathy for Pound's situation, reports on attempts to have him released, and descriptions of visits to him or letters from him. Rossetti, for instance, suggested in 1948 that Pound's "strong anti-Communist and anti-Russian stance" should be explained to the American ambassador to Italy. Cornell's letters explain his hopes of obtaining an early release for Pound and outline the legal and psychiatric difficulties.

There are more than thirty folders of letters from Pound's friend and publisher James Laughlin. Letters from the 1940s and 1950s describe Pound's condition, the legal and political obstacles to his release, efforts by the literary community to plead for his freedom, and "the atmosphere of the entourage" of visitors to St. Elizabeths. Laughlin wrote many letters attempting to explain the nuances of the treason charge and Pound's own attitude towards it. After Pound's return to Italy, Laughlin sent frequent medical and financial advice, reactions to various Pound interviews and scholarly projects, and news on Pound's American reputation. As Pound's publisher, he requested corrections to Cantos and text for Cantos 72 and 73, and offered his opinions on the merits of various "Pound projects."

T. S. Eliot's letters to Rudge contain substantial analysis of Pound's character, as well as descriptions of Eliot's visits to him. In 1948 he referred to Pound's current behavior as "an exaggeration of that impersonality and reticence which has always baffled me with him." Eliot also attempted to discourage what he considered ill-advised plans to publish the radio broadcasts, declined to supply letters for D. D. Paige's edition, and counseled Rudge about various strategies for Pound's release. He favored one plan which called for Pound's retirement to a monastery, for example, noting that "it will confuse the issues."

John Drummond's letters contain much information about the early efforts to find a lawyer for Pound, descriptions of efforts to free him, summaries of American attitudes toward him, and general commentary on Pound's character and opinions. After Pound's return to Italy, Drummond reported on his visits with him in 1960, noting that Pound was "beginning to think that in the past he may have been quite wrong about a lot of things."

Other major correspondents include Geoffrey Bridson, Guido Cadorin, Ferdinando Carpanini, William Cookson, Cyril Connolly, Desmond O'Grady, Lester Littlefield, Dorothy Pound, Sister Bernetta Quinn, Dachine Rainer, G. Singh, Vanni Scheiwiller, and Blanche Somers-Cocks. Much of the post-1962 correspondence concerns publication projects, tributes to Pound, and scholarly work.

Series III. Notebooks , has been divided into two sections: I Ching and Research Notebooks. Pound had a longstanding interest in the I Ching as a Confucian device, and after Pound joined Rudge in 1962 she began throwing the I Ching for each of them. As she described it in an entry for March 1966, "These hexagrams have always been made usually in morning first thing after breakfast. Commencing with mine. read aloud to E. Then his idem." The earliest surviving I Ching notes begin in 1966 and contain only the hexagrams thrown, but soon Rudge was using the notebooks to record significant details of their daily lives and activities. The notebooks from 1966 to Pound's death in 1972 are located in Box 93, folders 2480-491. Many of the notes concern Pound's health, diet, response to visitors, and remarks to Rudge. They also contain Pound's descriptions of his dreams and comments on these.

For example, the entry for 27 Nov. 1969 includes "Desmond and friends--Rev. Victor Stanley said grace. Paid E. a compliment on his poems--E said, 'You didn't find that in the 39 Articles.' Rev. V. asked if he thought Eliot was well acquainted with them--E. said he thought not." Eliot was still on Pound's mind on Dec. 28, when he dreamt that "he and Possum" were traveling and that "the luggage didn't match exactly." The entry for 8 Feb. 1972 describes Pound's reading of "What are years" at a memorial service for Marianne Moore and records a dream of Pound's that "Marianne was getting him a job. . .at Bryn Mawr."

After Pound's death, Rudge continued to throw the I Ching for both herself and Pound and to record the results. These journals can be found in Boxes 94-99. The daily entries were gradually expanded to include quotations from works by Pound, particularly from the Cantos and Guide to Kulchur; descriptions of Olga's daily activities; and reminiscences, commentary on books about Pound, and drafts of responses to letters. The notebooks record Rudge's responses to the visits of Pound scholars, her thoughts on family and friends, and her attempts to collect notes about Pound's life and works and to suggest likely publication projects for Pound's unpublished letters.For example, the notebook in Box 95, folder 2512, contains Rudge's memories of Pound's arrest and detention in Genoa, while the entry for 13 Sep 1976 (Box 95, folder 2518) describes her attempts to sort Pound's papers, quotes an Italian description of Mussolini's visit to Rapallo in December 1925, and adds her memory that "O. R. ...was curious & went down to rubber-neck arrival of Muss.-...E. P....was not interested enough to leave his desk and go down to see procession." While topics tend to recur, there is no apparent order to these journal entries.

Rudge's desire to "set the record straight" about some aspects of her life with Pound was the motive force behind the "Research Notebooks" located in Boxes 99-101. Many of these contain transcriptions of original material preserved in the Olga Rudge Papers, or lists of persons and subjects found in them. Box 101, folder 2603, holds "Transcriptions EP," Rudge's annotated copies of notebooks now located in the Ezra Pound Addition (YCAL 53). Notebooks of independent interest include "American Background" (Box 99, folder 2581), which contains Rudge's attempts to find parallels between her early life and Pound's, as well as other notes; Box 100, folder 2590, which contains letter drafts, comments on Rudge's early romance with the biologist Egerton Grey, a paragraph on the birth of Mary, and Richard Aldington's "romance a clé 'Nobody's Baby,'" and notes on various articles and books about Pound.

Series IV, Personal Papers , is housed in Boxes 102-24 and contains the personal papers of Olga Rudge, including address books and slips, calling cards, invitations to and announcements of various events, lists, notes, and writings.

Rudge in her later years attempted to document her life extensively. Some notes on her life can be found in Box 105, folders 2656-62, including a version of the events surrounding the birth of Mary Rudge. There is also an extensive section of "Notes on Pound," including six folders of biographical information, research and plans for various exhibits and tributes to Pound, and comments by Rudge on his writings. Folders 2783-84 contain information related to his medical condition after 1962; material concerning his funeral is located in folder 2782. While most of these notes were written by Rudge after Pound's death in 1972, folder 2786 contains brief listings of Pound's radio broadcasts heard by Rudge in 1942 and other information on those broadcasts later gathered by Rudge in Pound's defense.

Also of biographical interest are the agendas kept by Rudge from 1926 to 1987. These contain, typically, brief notes concerning appointments and errands. There are no agendas for the years 1931-47, and only 5 from the 1950s; after 1962 the sequence is intact, and these later items sometimes contain notes on Pound's health, mood, and activities.

There are only three actual diaries in the Rudge Papers (Box 106, folders 2675-77). The most complete is the earliest, which covers September and October 1931, when Rudge was living at Sant'Ambrogio. Entries detail her daily activities and conversations with Pound, her thoughts on their relationship, and notes on visitors to Rapallo. For example, the entry for October 28th contains Pound's comments on the utility of working in "a fit of rage," Rudge's comments on housekeeping in Rapallo, a discussion between Pound and Rudge on the birth of their daughter, and Rudge's thoughts on Pound's sensitivities and "line of conduct." The 1934 and 1943 diaries are much less complete, the 1934 one containing only a few pages on various events between June and August, while the 1943 notebook is largely devoted to the difficulty of obtaining food during war time and lists of meals.

Rudge was an energetic notetaker, particularly in the years after Pound's death, and this trait is illustrated by several folders of inventories of her possessions, "to-do" lists, and nine folders of scraps containing comments on her reading (Box 109, folders 2749-57). She also kept incomplete or rejected drafts of her own letters, and these are located in Box 107, folders 2704-18. Most of these date from the period after Pound's death. No attempt has been made to organize these fragments; complete drafts of letters to known recipients have been filed in Series II, General Correspondence, under the names of the recipients.

Memorabilia kept by Rudge is located in Box 108 and includes pressed flowers and leaves, matchbooks, hair, teeth, and a violin string.

Rudge's writings are located in Boxes 115-16 and include manuscripts, typescripts, and printed copies of articles by Olga Rudge. There are versions of several of her articles on Vivaldi, including "Lettere di Antonio Vivaldi" and her Vivaldi article for Grove's Dictionary of Music, and examples of her translation work, such as "England's War in France," which was corrected by Pound (folder 2831), and a typescript carbon of "Cantos d'Ezra Pound," an article by Louis Zukofsky. At Pound's urging, Rudge also attempted to translate the "Il Volto Santo" portion of Enrico Pea's Moscardino, and the incomplete manuscripts and typescripts of her version can be found in Box 115, folders 2834-43.

Both Rudge and Pound enjoyed reading mystery novels, and in the early 1930s they collaborated in writing one themselves, featuring an Inspector Love investigating a murder in Surrey. The incomplete drafts and versions of "The Blue Spill" are located in Box 115, folders 2814-24, and contain numerous manuscript corrections by the co-authors.

"Writings of Others" are housed in Boxes 117-19 and include poems, articles, books, and plays sent to Rudge over the years. Not surprisingly, many of these concern Ezra Pound, for example the galleys of Cyril Connolly's "Pound in Venice" (Box 117, folder 2868); Ilse Engel's "Story of a Meeting with Ezra Pound" (Box 117, folder 2872), and the draft typescript of Desmond O'Grady's "A Packet for W. B. Yeats from Ezra Pound" (Box 2896). Box 117, folder 2864 contains a typescript photocopy of Kenneth Arnold's play "The House of Bedlam," based on his imaginings of life at Sant'Ambrogio during World War II, which Rudge attempted to have suppressed. An autographed photocopy of Allen Ginsberg's reminiscences of his meeting with Pound and Rudge is located in Box 118, folder 2880.

Pound's friends and students are also well represented in this section. William Carlos Williams sent Rudge a signed, corrected typescript of his "Sketch for a Criticism: The XXX Cantos of Ezra Pound" in 1931 (Box 118. folder 2925). D. G. Bridson, Peter Russell, David Horton, and Henry Swabey also sent works of theirs, as did Pound scholars Donald Gallup, Hugh Kenner, and Patricia Hutchins.

Rudge received many poems as well, some of then concerning or dedicated to her, from authors including Dachine Rainer, G. Singh, and Piero Boschetti. Other items of interest include Robert Fitzgerald's "Memorandum for Mary," a 1954 piece in which he comments at length on the charges of treason against Pound and his confinement in St. Elizabeth's (Box 117, folder 2876), and Alan Levy's "Ezra Pound: a Jewish View" (Box 117, folder 2887).

Series V, Financial Papers , contains a variety of material documenting financial transactions made by Rudge between 1926 and 1989. Most of the papers are post-1962 and include bank statements and receipts, utility bills, restaurant checks, hotel bills, and transportation tickets. Box 121, folder 2988 contains papers concerning Pound's funeral expenses. Leases for three of Rudge's residences can be found in Box 125, folders 3057-59, and information on royalties from Pound's works received by Rudge is located in folders 3060-65. Box 125, folder 3054, holds papers relating to Rudge's claim for war reparations arising from damage to her house in Venice. Rudge's long and unsatisfactory investment in half of a parking lot in Youngstown, Ohio (an inheritance from her father), is chronicled in Box 126, folders 3073-79.

Series VI, Printed Material , consists largely of miscellaneous printed matter collected by Rudge. Propaganda leaflets dropped on Rapallo by the Saló regime in 1943 are located in Box 33, folder 3173. Folders 3158-70 contain material relating to Ezra Pound, mainly announcements of conferences and exhibitions held after his death and photocopies of various articles concerning him. There are seventeen folders of pamphlets, flyers, and other promotional material related to art galleries and exhibitions, mostly dating from the 1970s and 1980s, and six folders of announcements and circulars for the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.

Rudge was an assiduous collector of newspaper clippings as well, and these fill seven boxes as Series VII, organized alphabetically by subject. (Clippngs concerning Rudge's musical career can be found in Series VIII, Music.) A large number of these concern Ezra Pound, and include biographical profiles, interviews, reviews of works by and about him, and obituaries. Box 140, folders 3312-13, contain scrapbooks of articles both about Pound and sent by Pound to Olga Rudge from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in the late 1940s, similar to the clippings still filed with the Pound-Rudge correspondence in Series I. Rudge's interest in literature is reflected in the more than forty folders of clippings concerning various modern authors, arranged alphabetically by author under the heading "Literature."

Other subjects include "Fascism/World War II," "Politics and Economics," and "Psychiatry," which includes a folder of items on the theories of Thomas Szasz.

Series VIII, Music , documents Olga Rudge's musical career and interests. A scrapbook of notices and clippings concerning Rudge's early performances can be found in Box 146, folders 3426-32. Box 145, folders 3413-20, holds "Announcements and Programs" for many of her performances from 1913 until 1937. Included are the programs for her Pound and Antheil concerts in the 1920s and for many of her performances of modern Italian music and Vivaldi throughout her career. The history of the Concerti Tigulliani is documented in folders 3367-79; material includes announcements of programs, flyers and other publicity, and clippings of Il Mare articles by Pound, Basil Bunting, and Desmond Chute. Folder 3370 contains information on the later "Inverno musicale nel Tigullio."

Rudge's dedication to her work on Antonio Vivaldi was so apparent that her employer, conte Chigi-Saracini, often introduced her as "Signorina Rudge-Vivaldi." The Vivaldi section of Series VIII includes materials related to her unsuccessful applications for a Guggenheim Fellowship, a list of scores at the library at Turin, notes, and notebooks. There are also notes and typescripts by both Rudge and Pound concerning the microfilming of Vivaldi scores, and four folders of empty photograph envelopes annotated by both.

Perhaps the most interesting manuscripts in this series are Rudge's collection of autograph scores. George Antheil, her early partner, is represented by signed scores for Sonata for Solo Violin, Sonata for Violin and Fortepiano: for Olga Rudge, and Troisième Sonate pour violon et piano: for Mrs. Christian Gross. There are also many pages of Vivaldi arrangements and partial scores in the hands of Rudge, Pound, Gerhart Münch, Julia Perry, and perhaps Tibor Serly, ranging in date from the mid-1930s to the late 1950s, in the case of the Perry scores.

The series also contains a variety of printed material and printed scores, as well as clippings and concert announcements documenting Antheil's performances in the late 1920s.

Series IX, Photographs , is housed in Boxes 148-154 and contains photographs of Rudge, Pound, their family and friends, and miscellaneous places and objects. (Photographs pertaining to Rudge's parents and early childhood can be found in Series X, Family Papers).

There are two albums. The earlier, labeled "Capri 1921," is the photographic record of a summer Rudge spent on Capri with Renata Borgatti and other friends, including Maria Favai, Lindy Shaw-Paige, and Mimy Franchetti, some of whose activities furnished material for Compton Mackenzie's Extraordinary Women. The shots include portraits, beach scenes, and pantomime poses in "Grecian" robes.

Box 148, folders 3478-89, contains snapshots from an album originally labelled "Album 2" by Rudge. Apparently dating from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s, the photographs feature Rudge, Pound, and their daughter Mary in various settings, particularly Venice and Gais.

The majority of photographs in the series feature Ezra Pound and Olga Rudge, alone or with others; most of these are undated and have been arranged first by subject and then according to rough chronological order. Most of the photographs of both date from the last ten years of Pound's life, although each is represented by some earlier portraits.

Boxes 152 and 153 contain photographs of people and places. Notable persons include George Antheil, represented by autographed studio portraits; Renata Borgatti; Katherine Dalliba-John; Benito Mussolini (autographed to Rudge, 1933); Ildebrando Pizzetti; and Mary de Rachewiltz and her family. Folders 3570-77 contain photos of unidentified persons. Places illustrated include Hailey, Idaho, and Rudge's home in Venice. Box 154 contains photos of miscellaneous subjects.

Series X, Family Papers , consists of two boxes of material documenting the Rudge family. There are about two dozen letters to and from various family members, including letters to Julia O'Connell Rudge from Mabel and Ethel Duncan and a letter from Teddy Rudge to Santa Claus; records of World War I service of Arthur and Teddy Rudge; and four folders of papers concerning Julia O'Connell Rudge's singing career, particularly a scrapbook of notices and a publicity brochure for the Delle Sedie School of Singing. There are also two Rudge family albums, containing many portraits taken during Olga's childhood, and three folders of portraits of Julia O'Connell Rudge.

Series XI, Ezra Pound Foundation , is one box of material material that was formerly restricted until 2016. Legally privileged documents and legal documents that by their terms were governed by confidentiality clauses have been redacted from files P: Negotiations with Yale and Q: Closing documents.



  • 1887-1989


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 163: This box contains material that was formerly restricted until 2016. Legally privileged documents and legal documents that by their terms were governed by confidentiality clauses have been redacted from files P: Negotiations with Yale and Q: Closing documents.

Conditions Governing Use

The Olga Rudge 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

Purchased in 1990 from Olga Rudge and the Ezra Pound Foundation.

Associated Materials

Additional Ezra Pound material, including correspondence (mostly post-1962), manuscripts, notes and a small quantity of personal papers was acquired in 1990 from the same sources, and these papers have been processed as the Ezra Pound Addition (YCAL MSS 53).


87.93 Linear Feet ((165 boxes) +1 broadside)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Olga Rudge Papers document many aspects of Rudge's personal life and professional activities. There are 32 boxes of letters between Ezra Pound and Rudge. Other major correspondents include Mary de Rachewiltz, James Laughlin, George Antheil, Renata Borgatti, conte Guido Chigi Saracini, Cyril Connolly, T. S. Eliot, Egerton Grey, Desmond O'Grady, D. D. Paige, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Dorothy Pound, and Adrian Stokes. The papers also contain daily notebooks kept by Rudge from 1966 on; a variety of personal and financial papers; printed material collected by Rudge; and documentation of her musical career, including autograph scores by George Antheil, Tibor Serly, and Julia Perry.

OLGA RUDGE (1895-)

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 the child was boarded with a family in the 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 after almost a year in a clinic at Martinsbrunn. For the next ten years Rudge cared for 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 Rudge continued to have contact with Pound scholars; she helped organize several exhibits and tributes to Pound and pursued several possible plans for memorials in Idaho and Venice.

Guide to the Olga Rudge Papers
by Diane J. Ducharme
February 1993
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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