Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The MacCarthy mss., 1836-1991, consist of the papers of drama and literary critic Desmond MacCarthy, 1877-1952, and his wife, author Mary (Warre-Cornish) MacCarthy, 1882-1953. Desmond's first experience as an editor was with New Quarterly and then Eye Witness (later renamed: New Witness). In 1913 he began writing a weekly column for the New Statesman eventually becoming literary editor in 1920, then the drama critic. Desmond also contributed weekly articles to the London Sunday Times and broadcast literary talks for the BBC. Mary (or Molly, as she was known to most) wrote two books, A Pier and a Band and A Nineteenth Century Childhood, as well as other works. Although not particularly well-known for their writings, the MacCarthys were surrounded by the colorful personalities that defined turn- of-the-century English drama, art, literature, and society in general.

The papers contain correspondence with their colleagues and friends as well as a large quantity just between Desmond and Mary. Also included is the correspondence of both Mary's and Desmond's families. Some of the notable correspondents are: Lady Cynthia Mary Evelyn (Charteris) Asquith, Countess Margot Asquith, Enid Bagnold, Maurice Baring, Sir James Matthew Barrie, Sir Max Beerbohm, Clive Bell, Vanessa (Stephen) Bell, Hilaire Belloc, Lady Helen Violet Bonham Carter, Irene Cooper-Willis, Ethel Anne Priscilla (Fane) Grenfell (Baroness Desborough), Thomas Stearns Eliot, Edward Morgan Forster, Roger Fry, Duncan James Corrowr Grant, Harley Granville-Barker, Bryan Walter Guinness, Thomas Hardy, Leslie Poles Hartley, John Maynard Keynes, Hope Mirrlees, George Moore, George Edward Moore, Lady Ottoline Violet Anne (Cavendish-Bentinck) Morrell, Raymond Mortimer, Violet Paget, Betsy Graves Reyneau, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Logan Pearsall Smith, Giles Lytton Strachey, George Macaulay Trevelyan, Robert Calverley Trevelyan, Arthur Waley, Judith Anne Dorothea Wentworth Blunt-Lytton (Baroness Wentworth), Virginia (Stephen) Woolf.

The writings contain many drafts and typescripts of Desmond's articles and a few writings by Molly. Miscellaneous materials include calendars and diaries for both and school reports for Desmond. In addition, there are school reports, writings and other miscellaneous materials for members of both families.

Purchase. Ximenes Rare Books. New York, New York. 1994

A guide to the collection is available.

Collection size: 10,000 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.