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Joseph Conrad Collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 1207

Scope and Contents

The Joseph Conrad Collection contains writings, correspondence, and other material by or relating to Joseph Conrad. The first group of material, bound or housed in slipcases, consists chiefly of drafts of writings by Conrad and autograph letters, signed, from Conrad to others. Most of the bindings and cases appear to have been made for the collector George T. Keating, who donated his Conrad collection to the Yale University Library in 1938. The writings in this group include autograph manuscript and typescript drafts to numerous shorter works and sections, such as "Author's Notes" and chapters of longer works. However, there are also substantial drafts, typescript, corrected, of The Arrow of Gold (1919), Nostromo (1904), and other titles. Bound correspondence features volumes of letters to Conrad's wife, and his friend, translator, and biographer, G. Jean-Aubry.

Other "loose" papers are subdivided into four groups: writings, correspondence, papers relating to Conrad, and photographs. Writings here include drafts of shorter works and sections to longer works, several French language translations, and the original autograph manuscript, corrected, of Conrad's novel, The Heart of Darkness (1899). There are separate, alphabetized runs of outgoing and incoming correspondence, with many files for English literary figures, including authors, critics, editors, and publishers, dating into the first three decades of the twentieth century. Correspondents include Arnold Bennett, Muirhead Bone, Ford Madox Ford, John Galsworthy, Edward Garnett, G. Jean-Aubry, Archibald Marshall, Humphrey Sumner Milford, Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, Frank Swinnerton, and Hugh Walpole, among others.

The papers relating to Conrad consist chiefly of third-party correspondence and writings by others on or about Conrad. The largest file relates to G. Jean-Aubry and his work on Conrad. These materials include translations of writings by Conrad, biographical and bibliographical information relating to Conrad, correspondence, and printed and other material, such as clippings and ephemera. There are also many third-party letters from others to Jean-Aubry.

Typed transcriptions can be found in the collection for some writings and correspondence. When there are only transcriptions present in a file, this fact is noted (e.g. "copy") in the file-level description.


  • 1860-1957


Language of Materials

Chiefly in English and French; some materials in Polish and German.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 25: Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Joseph Conrad Collection 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

Acquired from various sources. For more information consult the appropriate curator.


Organized into two groupings: Volumes and Cases, and Other Papers.


15.9 Linear Feet (40 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Joseph Conrad Collection contains writings, correspondence, and other material by or relating to Joseph Conrad.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Joseph Conrad was born in Poland, spent much of his childhood in Russian exile with his parents, was orphaned at an early age and reared by an uncle, lived as a young man in France, and then, after a career with the British merchant marine, became one of the major writers in English literature.

Biographical information taken from Magill’s Survey of World Literature, Rev. ed. (January 2009). Additional biographical information can be found in standard print and online sources.

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and organization, upon acquisition. Additional descriptive work was carried out in 2014-2015, but the organization of the material was preserved. Descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing of the collection at the time of acquisition.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Formerly classed as MS Vault Conrad; Uncat MS Vault 499-502, 505-506, 512, and 599; and MS Vault Sect. 5 Drawer 3.

Guide to the Joseph Conrad Collection
by Beinecke Staff
22 January 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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.