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Rebecca West papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 105

Scope and Contents

The Rebecca West Papers, approximately twenty feet in length, are composed of letters, manuscripts, and personal papers belonging to author Rebecca West and her husband Henry Andrews. The materials in the collection are dated between 1894 and 1974, with the majority dated from 1930 to 1960.

The Rebecca West Papers are divided into three series: I. Correspondence, II. Writings, and III. Personal Papers. Oversize material has been placed at the end of the collection.

Series I., Correspondence , has been separated into two subseries: Rebecca West Correspondence and Henry Andrews Correspondence. The correspondence of Rebecca West (Boxes 1-23) spans the years 1913 to 1971 and consists of letters to and from Rebecca West and numerous friends, relatives, business associates, and fans. Among the larger files of close friends are letters from Emanie Arling, S. N. Behrman, Pamela Frankau, Charlotte Haldane, Hamish Hamilton, Vyvyan Holland, Paul Hollister, Ruth Lowinsky, Anna Charles McBurney (Rebecca West's secretary), S. K. Ratcliffe, Doris Stevens, Dorothy Thompson, and Harold Nicolson. Authors represented in the collection include Arnold Bennett, Edna Ferber, Paul Gallico, Robert Graves, John Gunther, Rose Macaulay, Anäis Nin, J. B. Priestley, Vita Sackville-West, George Bernard Shaw, G. B. Stern, Virginia Woolf, and Alexander Woollcott. Files which relate to West's professional career include correspondence from A. D. Peters, the British Broadcasting Company, George T. Bye, Lawrence Langner, The New Statesman and Leader, The New Yorker, and John Van Druten.

Among the many letters that reveal West's interest in and writings on Yugoslavia are those from Anica Savic-Rebac and Stanislav Vinaver. The largest correspondence file is that of H. G. Wells, with letters dating between 1913 and 1944. Although most of these letters are brief, they are often embellished with Wells's characteristic sketches and jokes.

The Henry Andrews Correspondence (Boxes 24-27) includes letters to and from Andrews, mostly of a business nature. Many letters written in the first years after World War II document Andrews's interest in post-war Germany. Letters between Andrews and Rebecca West have been placed in the Rebecca West Correspondence, and a number of letters to Andrews from friends that relate to Rebecca West have also been placed in the appropriate files in this subseries.

Series II, Writings (Boxes 28-37), is divided into Books and Shorter Works and contains notes and manuscript drafts for a number of West's books, stories, essays, and reviews, along with printed copies of many essays and reviews of her works. Works for which there is manuscript material include Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Endings in Earnest, The Fountain Overflows, Harriet Hume, The Meaning of Treason, The Return of the Soldier (dramatization), Saint Augustine, Strange Necessity, The Thinking Reed, and Letter to a Grandfather. Shorter Works are divided into three categories: Short Stories, Essays, and Reviews. A number of West's notebooks (including some in Books) contain drafts of her shorter writings.

Series III, Personal Papers (Boxes 38-42), contains a variety of material belonging to Rebecca West and is arranged alphabetically by subject groups. Among these are Diaries, Financial and Business Papers, Photographs, Writings about Rebecca West, and Writings of Others. Miscellaneous items in Personal Papers have been placed at the end of the series.

Oversize contains material from the Writings and Personal Papers series.


  • 1894-1975


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Rebecca West 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 collection was presented to Yale by Dame Rebecca West between 1965 and 1971.


20 Linear Feet (44 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 to and from West, correspondence of her husband Henry Andrews, writings of Rebecca West, writings of others, personal papers, and writings about Rebecca West.

Rebecca West Papers
Finding aid by William K. Finley
March 1992
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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Opening Hours

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.