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Norman Douglas Collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 88

Scope and Contents

The Norman Douglas Collection chiefly documents Douglas's writing career, personal life, and relationships with other writers and artists. Although the collection spans the years 1864-2000, the bulk of the papers fall in the period 1920-1980. The collection contains material created and accumulated by Norman Douglas, Kenneth Macpherson, Islay de Courcy Lyons, and Maurice Magnus. Material includes correspondence, writings, diaries, photographs, photograph albums, financial and business papers, personal effects, printed material, artwork, and a bronze sculpture.


  • 1864 - 2000
  • Majority of material found within 1920 - 1980


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Norman Douglas 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

I. 1968-1993 Acquisitions: This group is made up of a number of separate acquisitions received by the library from 1968 to 1993. The largest of these are the 1968 purchase of David G. Jeffreys's collection, purchased on the Beinecke Fund (Kitty Miller), and the 1972 and 1975 gifts of Kenneth Macpherson. A detailed list of sources for material in this collection is located in Box 1.

II. 1993-2003 Acquisitions: Acquired by gift and purchase from various sources. Source information is recorded on the folders. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

III. January 2008 Acquisition: Purchased from Elysium Press on The Edwin J. Beinecke Fund, 2008.

IV. August 2008 Acquisition: Purchased from Elysium Press on The Edwin J. Beinecke Fund, 2008.

V. August 2019 Acquisition: Purchased from Blackwell Rare Books on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2019.


Organized into five groupings: I. 1968-1993 Acquisitions, II. 1993-2003 Acquisitions, III. January 2008 Acquisition, IV. August 2008 Acquisition, and V. August 2019 Acquisition.

Material within this collection has been organized in groups reflecting the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time.

Researchers should note that material within each group overlaps with and/or relates to material found in other groups. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers will need to consult each group described in the Collection Contents section.

Researchers should also note that similar material can be arranged differently in each group, depending on how the material was organized when it was received by the library.


27.72 Linear Feet ((65 boxes) + 1 art)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

Norman Douglas (1868-1952)

Norman Douglas, an expatriate British author, was born in Thüringen, Austria. Educated in Scotland and Europe, he entered the British diplomatic service in 1893 and left three years later. Douglas married Elsa FitzGibbon in 1898. The couple had two sons before divorcing in 1904. Douglas was assistant editor for The English Review from 1912-1916, during which he authored the travel books Siren Land (1911), Fountains in the Sand (1912), and Old Calabria (1915). In 1916 he left London for Capri, where he wrote the novel South Wind (1917). During the 1920s and 1930s Douglas continued to publish fiction, essays, travel books, and autobiographical works, many in limited editions published by his companion Pino Orioli. After the outbreak of World War II, Douglas fled to London from Lisbon, and returned to Capri in 1946. His later works were Late Harvest (1946), and the posthumously-published Venus in the Kitchen (1952), which he edited under the pseudonym Pilaff Bey.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Each grouping of this collection has been processed separately. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole.

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

Former call numbers: GEN MSS 142, GEN MSS 614, Uncat MSS 1003

Guide to the Norman Douglas Collection
Under Revision
by Susie Bock, Diane J. Ducharme, and Beinecke staff
June 1993, updated February 2020
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

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


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New Haven, CT 06511

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.