Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Gay mss., 1924-1976, consist of the correspondence of Kenneth Charles Gay, 1912- , librarian, with Robert Graves, 1895-1985, author. Present also are letters from Gay's wife, Edith Irene Gay, to Robert and Beryl Graves, and from Beryl Graves (Mrs. Robert Graves) to the Gays. The vast majority of the correspondence concerns Graves' writings, which Gay typed and edited for a number of years, and the activities of friends and associates. Many of Robert Graves' more than 1000 letters are written on the verso of manuscript scraps or fragments.

Other correspondents in the collection include Jacob Bronowski, Geoffrey Lisle Holdsworth, Laura (Riding) Jackson, Morley Kennerley, Elaine Kerrigan, James Reeves, and Alastair Reid.

There are also 18 manuscripts of Robert Graves writings given by him to Kenneth Gay over the years. These are "Almighty father, merciful to man" [first line]; The collector; The cure; The departure; Forward to old soldier shaib; "Friends, are you bothered..." [first words]; George II and the Chinese emperor; Homage to Ceasars; Introduction to old soldiers never die; [limerick]; New poems [introduction]; Robert Frost, 1875-1963: An appreciation; The secret land; Seldom yet now; The sewing basket; Small fry with albums; Talking about hexes; What peace?

A manuscript by Martin Seymour-Smith, 1928- , poet, entitled Seven poems and three satires, and 12 photographs of Robert Graves, family, and associates, complete the collection.

There are complete chronological lists, compiled by Kenneth Gay, of the Beryl Graves to Gay, Robert Graves to Gay, and Laura Riding Jackson to Gay letters in the vertical file. All notations as to content, place, and date of the Graves correspondence were made by Gay. Kenneth Gay's letters to Graves have been listed in the manuscripts index, with dates, where possible to determine them, provided by the Public Services Department, Lilly Library.

Collection size: 1,477 items

Related manuscripts: Gay mss. II

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.