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Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence Editorial Project Records

Call Number: LWL MSS 23

Scope and Contents

The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence Editorial Project Records document the full scope of the publication effort over its nearly fifty-year span. Series I, Administrative Records ranges from agreements with Yale University Press, style guides, and editorial exemplars, to the office door sign that hung in the hallway in Yale University Library. Also present are the records of the two Yale Edition celebrations, one held in 1973 for the project's fortieth anniversary, and one in 1983 for the project's completion. Series II, Editorial Documents, contains material in a variety of formats to show the methods employed during the project: autograph manuscript and typescript texts, printed galleys, and page proofs for both the letters and the volume indexes. Also here are a few letters between Wilmarth Lewis and the project's dozen other editors, as well as correspondence with foreign research associates, particularly those in Italy who assisted with the Horace Mann letters. The bulk of the series concerns the Mann-Walpole correspondence, which was edited primarily by George L. Lam and Warren Hunting Smith and published in eleven volumes between 1954 and 1971; their transcriptions and notes were specifically marked for retention because some of their research had not been incorporated into their published work.

Twelve binders with chronological notes on Walpole's daily activities and correspondents comprise Series III, The Horace Walpole Diurnal. Series IV holds a box of material sampled from Clyde S. Kilby's unfinished research on Horace Walpole's efforts in literary criticism. Kilby's work had already been superseded by the Yale Edition's extensive annotations and indexes when he donated his files to Lewis in 1949.


  • 1900 - 1983
  • Majority of material found within 1936 - 1983


Language of Materials

In English, with some Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence Editorial Project Records is the physical property of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the W. S. Lewis Librarian/Executive Director.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis (Yale 1918), 1979.


Organized into four series: I. Administrative Records, 1936-1983. II. Editorial Documents, 1900-1982. III. The Horace Walpole Diurnal, undated. IV. Clyde S. Kilby Notes on Walpole as a Literary Critic, circa 1945.

Related Materials

Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis Papers (LWL MSS 20). The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.


49.6 Linear Feet (92 boxes + 3 broadsides + 1 roll)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence Editorial Project Records document the research, planning, editing, publishing, and marketing of W. S. Lewis’s scholarly edition of the correspondence of Horace Walpole (1717-1797), issued in forty-eight volumes between 1937 and 1983 by Yale University Press.

Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis (1895-1979)

Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis was born in Alameda, California, on November 14, 1895, the son of Miranda Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis and Azro Nathaniel Lewis. He attended the Thacher School in Ojai, California, and Yale University (Class of 1918). He met Annie Burr Auchincloss (1902-1959) in Farmington, Connecticut, in 1923, and the couple were married in 1928. Together they spent three decades building a collection of books, prints, paintings, manuscripts, and decorative arts related to Horace Walpole, his circle, and his time, and formed a research library at their home in Farmington. Wilmarth Lewis died in Hartford on October 7, 1979; he left his home and collections to Yale University by bequest.

The Yale Edition Editorial Staff

Wilmarth Lewis served as editor for forty-two of the forty-eight volumes of the Yale Edition, but most of the work was accomplished by the editorial staff in "The Walpole Factory" at Sterling Memorial Library on the campus of Yale University in New Haven.

The volumes, Walpole correspondents, editorial staff, and publication dates were: Volumes 1–2: William Cole (A. Dayle Wallace, 1937); Volumes 3–8: Madame du Deffand (Warren Hunting Smith, 1939); Volumes 9–10: George Montagu (Ralph S. Brown Jr., 1941); Volumes 11–12: Mary and Agnes Berry and Barbara Cecilia Seton (A. Dayle Wallace, 1944); Volumes 13–14: Thomas Gray, Richard West and Thomas Ashton (George L. Lam and Charles H. Bennett, 1948); Volume 15: David Dalrymple and others (Charles H. Bennett and Andrew G. Hoover, 1951); Volume 16: Thomas Chatterton and others (A. Dayle Wallace, 1951); Volumes 17–27: Sir Horace Mann (Warren Hunting Smith and George L. Lam, 1954–1971); Volumes 28–29: William Mason (Grover Cronin Jr. and Charles H. Bennett, 1955); Volume 30: George Selwyn and others (Robert A. Smith, 1961); Volume 31: Hannah More and others (Robert A. Smith and Charles H. Bennett, 1961); Volumes 32–34: Countess of Upper Ossory (A. Dayle Wallace, 1965); Volume 35: John Chute and others (A. Dayle Wallace and Robert A. Smith, 1973); Volume 36: the Walpole family (Joseph W. Reed Jr., 1973); Volumes 37–39: Henry Seymour Conway and others (Lars E. Troide, Edwine M. Martz, and Robert A. Smith, 1974); Volumes 40–42: miscellaneous correspondence (John C. Riely, 1980); Volume 43: additions and corrections, subject index to illustrations, index of Horace Walpole's correspondents, chronological list of letters (compilied by Edwine M. Martz, 1983); and Volumes 44–48: complete index (compiled by Warren Hunting Smith, 1983). Assistant editors during the project were Edwine Martz, Ruth K. McClure, and William T. LaMoy.

Separated Materials

Printed material found within the collection was removed for separate cataloging and can be accessed by searching the library's online catalog.

Processing Information

The material in this collection was selected, sampled, and saved by Yale University library staff after the close of the editorial project in 1983. Some of the work was done by Catherine Jestin (1920-2004), Wilmarth Lewis's librarian who stayed on at the library after his death to work for Yale University. Prior to 2018 the records had been kept in file cabinets in the Muniment Room, a storage room constructed in the basement of Lewis's home in Farmington, Connecticut. Unfortunately, there are no extant records or notes regarding what material from the editorial project was discarded from the offices at Sterling Memorial Library or from files that Lewis kept in Farmington, but it is certain that while the material present in this collection spans the life of the editorial project, it does not represent the complete record of the project.

Guide to the Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence Editorial Project Records
by Sandra Markham
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Lewis Walpole Library Repository

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