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Dial/Scofield Thayer papers : addition

Call Number: YCAL MSS 95

Scope and Contents

The Dial/Scofield Thayer Papers: Addition consists of four boxes of additional material to the Dial/Scofield Thayer Papers purchased in 1987. The Addition was transferred to the Beinecke Library in 1996. The papers span the dates 1885-1928, but the bulk of the material concerns the period 1915-1927. The papers are organized in two series. Series I, Correspondence , is arranged alphabetically by correspondent; Series II, Personal Papers, alphabetically by type of material.

Correspondence consists almost entirely of letters sent to Thayer between 1926 and 1928, when he was hospitalized repeatedly following a mental breakdown. The writers, including Amy and Robert von Erdberg, Erik von Jurié, R. T. Nichol, Eleanor Schermerhorn, Ellen Thayer, and Lizzie Whittemore, send their wishes for improved health and sometimes detail plans for visits to MacLean Hospital. After one such visit, Amy von Erdberg wrote Thayer of her distress at seeing him hospitalized and offered to support his wish to be released. There are also two earlier letters from Thayer to his mother, Florence Thayer, and three third-party letters, two of which are to Florence Thayer also.

Series II, Personal Papers , includes bookplates, calling cards, newspaper clippings about America's entry into World War I, which Thayer opposed, and photographs. Folders 31-39 contain notes and memoranda kept by Thayer, often on small slips of paper, although some were apparently transcribed by a secretary at a later date. These cover a wide variety of subjects, including Thayer's family and friends, his marriage, his analyses by L. Pierce Clark and Sigmund Freud, aesthetic theory, and modern painting and literature.

Folders 23-25 contain correspondence and personal papers of Lucian Cary, including an income tax return for 1917 identifying him as a "journalist" and his wife, Augusta Cary, as executive secretary of the National Birth Control League. The return appears to be in Thayer's hand.

The section "School papers" includes versions of Thayer's Harvard Class Day essay on Dr. Faustus and several papers he read to literary societies at Oxford. "Writings" includes two poems, "Spleen anglais" and "Vienna," several essays, and a group of sketches and anecdotes about a figure named "Mercury" or "Mr. Mercury." At least some of the typescripts contained in the "Pending" file in "Writings of Others" may be by Thayer, who frequently employed pseudonyms when submitting work to The Dial.

Oversize material is located in Box 4 and consists of newspaper clippings and seven photographs of Gaston Lachaise's portrait bust of Thayer.


  • 1885-1928


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research. Box 5: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Dial/Scofield Thayer Papers: Addition 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 1987 with the assistance of the Beinecke Foundation and transferred to Beinecke Library in 1996.

Associated Materials

Dial/Scofield Thayer Papers YCAL MSS 34. Yale Collection of American Literature. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


2 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence and personal papers of Scofield Thayer, including letters from Amy and Robert von Erdberg, Erik von Jurié, R. T. Nichol, and Florence Thayer. Personal papers include school compositions and other writings by Thayer; notes and memoranda; newspaper clippings; and photographs of the Gaston Lachaise portrait bust of Thayer.


Scofield Thayer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1889 and educated at Milton Academy, Harvard College, and Oxford University. In 1919 Thayer and J. Sibley Watson purchased Dial magazine, which under their direction became perhaps the most important "little magazine" in the United States in the 1920s. Thayer withdrew from active participation in The Dial after a severe breakdown in 1926. He died in 1982.

For a fuller biography of Scofield Thayer, and a chronology for The Dial, see the register for YCAL MSS 34, Dial/Scofield Thayer Papers.

Guide to the Dial/Scofield Thayer Papers: Addition
Under Revision
by Diane J. Ducharme
November 1996
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

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.