Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Dalton mss., 1949-1975, consist chiefly of letters from poet Robert Graves, 1895-1985, to his daughter Catherine (Nicholson) Dalton, b.1922. Catherine married Clifford Dalton, a distinguished New Zealand scientist, during World War II. After the war the Daltons made their permanent home in Australia where Clifford was Engineer-in-Chief at the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. He died of cancer in 1961.

Graves's letters are both intimate and humorous and cover a wide range of topics including family life, friends, Graves's writing, the work and death of Catherine's husband, and politics. Some of the letters have appended notes from Robert's second wife, Beryl and there are a couple of letters from Beryl alone to Catherine. Also present in the correspondence files are a few letters from Robert to Catherine's children and their spouses; one to Clifford Dalton just before his death; one to Robert's sister Rosaleen; two drafts and a final typed copy of one to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II; one to the Spanish Minister of Tourism, Manuel Fraga; a letter to Robert and a draft of one from him to Idries Shah; and a draft to the official organizer of the Pushkin celebrations in Moscow, declining an invitation to attend.

The letters are arranged chronologically. In addition to the letters there are several holograph notes and fragments made by Catherine Dalton, annotated drafts of two poems by Robert Graves, and a folder of newspaper clippings and miscellaneous printed items.

Purchase. Paul O'Prey. Bristol, England. 1997


  • Folder
    • 1: Correspondence, 1949-1959
    • 2: Correspondence, 1960-1962. Includes letter from Idries Shah to Graves, Jan. 26, 1961, enclosed in Graves's letter to Catherine Dalton, of Jan. 28, 1961; also Graves to Clifford Dalton, Mar. 1, 1961
    • 3: Correspondence, 1963-1965
    • 4: Correspondence, 1966-1969. Includes copies of Graves's letter to his sister, Rosaleen Cooper, Jan. 10,1968; a draft of a letter from him to Idries Shah, Sept. 17, 1968; and draft of his letter to Manuel Fraga, ca. 1968
    • 5: Correspondence, 1970. Includes drafts and final copy of letter to Queen Elizabeth II, April 17
    • 6: Correspondence, 1971
    • 7: Correspondence, 1972-1975
    • 8: Correspondence, undated. Includes letters from Beryl (Pritchard) Graves
    • 9: Envelopes without postmarks
    • 10: Dalton, Catherine: Notes, fragments, addresses
    • 11: Graves, Robert: Poems
    • 12: Printed. Includes clippings, posters, etc.

Collection size: 175 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.