Skip to main content

Robert Byron Papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 605
Scope and Contents

The Robert Byron Papers document Byron's work as a writer and art critic and span the dates 1757 to 2010 (predominantly dating between 1909 and 1941). The papers contain correspondence, writings, personal papers, photographs, and drawings documenting Byron's personal and professional life. The papers document Byron's engagement with travel, art history, history, and politics.

Papers such as research materials, drafts, publicity, and reviews provide evidence of Byron's writing career and creative process. Byron's travels, on which he wrote extensively, are documented in the papers, and include observations on Greece, Afghanistan, Persia, India, Russia, Tibet, and China. Byron's journals and correspondence (particularly with his mother) record his initial observations while traveling and were a source for his publications. As an amateur photographer and artist, Byron also created photographs and drawings while abroad, many of which he later used as illustrations in his publications.

In addition to documenting his travels, Byron's correspondence also provides evidence of his literary circle as well as relationships with editors and publishers. Among his correspondents are Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, John Betjeman, Arthur Upham Pope, and Edith Sitwell, and to a lesser extent, Somerset Maugham, George Bernard Shaw, Rebecca West, and Leonard Woolf. The papers also record Byron's social circle, many of whom he became acquainted with while at Eton College and Oxford University, including Michael and Desmond Parsons, Bryan Guinness, and Christopher Sykes.

Byron's interest in politics (and particularly with Nazism and World War II) are documented in his reports on propaganda as well as papers relating to his involvement with the Federal Union League and as a journalist with the European News Department of the BBC.

In addition to his writings, Byron's other papers also provide evidence of his dedication to art and architecture, such as his involvement with the Georgian Group (which includes meeting minutes and drafts of related articles and lectures), as well as his documentation of architecture during his travels abroad.

Language of Materials

In English, French, Greek, Italian, Persian, and Buryat (Latin).

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Restricted Fragile Material is in cold storage and may be consulted only with permission of the appropriate curator. Photographic prints for reference use have been substituted in the main files.

Conditions Governing Use

The Robert Byron Papers 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

Purchased from Bernard Quaritch on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund and the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2006-2008.

July 2019 Acquisition, purchased from Paul Rassam and Bernard Quaritch on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2019.


The Robert Byron Papers are organized into ten series: I. Correspondence, 1900-1991, II. Writings, 1866-1941, III. Other Papers, 1923-1940, IV. Drawings and Photographs, 1925-1931, V. Family Papers, 1904-2005, VI. Oversize, 1912-1995, VII. Restricted Fragile Material. VIII. October 2010 Acquisition, 1900-2006. IX. July 2013 Acquisition, 1757-2010. X. July 2019 Acquisition, 1916-1951.

1757 - 2010
Majority of material found within 1909 - 1941
60.21 Linear Feet ((92 boxes) + 11 broadside folders)
Related Names
Byron, Robert, 1905-1941
Waughburton, Richard
Language of Materials