Skip to main content

Archives and Special Collections: Literature

Archives and Special Collections is a repository for materials contained in a variety of formats: books, manuscripts, correspondence, journals, photographs, posters, maps, original drawings, theatre programs, archival documents, and other materials.

Winthrop Palmer Collection of French and Irish Literature

Winthrop PalmerFollowing the original strictures of Mrs. Winthrop Palmer's generous bequest to the Library, much rare Irish and French literature has been acquired. Although we have concentrated on the Nobel prize-winning avant-garde writer, Samuel Beckett, an Irishman who wrote both in French and English, we have collected rare items of many French and Irish writers - mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries - in a variety of literary forms. This collection has grown, in just a few years, to several thousand titles. It includes a manuscript of eighteen year-old Simone de Beauvoir, the first edition of Joyce's Ulysses, and significant rarities by Yeats, Shaw, Wilde, Colette, George Moore, Seamus Heaney, French surrealist and symbolist poets, and much more. The Winthrop Palmer Collection of Irish Literature is an open collection to which rare items are continually being added.

Irish Literature

  • Irish Contemporary Poets
    A holdings list of rare and special editions of their writings.

French Literature

  • Selected Rare Books
    A holdings list of rare and special editions of works by authors writing in French.
  • Selected Rare Books - Addendum
    A holdings list in progress.

American Theatrical Programs Archive

This theatrical archive consists of 899 theatrical programs of plays, musicals, concerts, ballets and operas from 1942-2009. This archive includes 63 plays written by French and Irish authors from the Winthrop Palmer French and Irish Literature Collection.

Archive of Dan Levin, Ph.D.

Professor Dan Levin was a highly regarded member of the LIU Post Department of English where he taught for more than four decades. This collection of archives and selected books authored by Professor Levin contains the following items: books, manuscripts, stories, poems, research material, notes, correspondence, note books, and note cards. and a few selected facsimile photographs.

Archive of Joan and John Digby - Private Press Publications

The Archive of Joan and John Digby's Private Press Publications emphasizes collaboration between visuals and textual creativity, with constancy to black and white illustrations, drawings, collages, engravings, and photographs. Illustrated strictly in black-and-white, these booklets are issued in limited editions.

Eugene and Carlotta O'Neill Library

This collection of 1,000 books is the only portion of the personal library of the preeminent American dramatist, Eugene O'Neill, and his third wife, Carlotta Monterey O'Neill, that survives as an entity.

Goethe Letter

Framed hand-written and signed letter by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, with portrait.

Henry James Collection

  • Letters in Manuscript
    Six letters, five of which were written to his London publisher, William Heinemann.
  • Book Collection
    Comprehensive in scope, containing mostly first editions. The letters and numbers following these bibliographic descriptions are the identifiers from: A Bibliography of Henry James by Leon Edel and Dan H. Laurence. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1961.

John Milton Collection

Pre-eminent English poet, John Milton (1608-1674). Most of this collection was donated by Clifford Nickels Carver, 1891-1965. Among his many accomplishments, Carver was a renowned collector of bookplates.

Karl Otto Paetel Beat Generation Collection

The Karl Otto Paetel Beat Generation Collection was donated to LIU by Mrs. Paetel in May, 1975 after her husband's death. The materials in this collection belonged to Karl Otto Paetel, a German Jewish émigré who arrived in the United States in 1940 after a perilous journey fleeing Germany and the Nazis during World War II. Mr. Paetel was a prominent political journalist noted for his radical writings pre and post World War II. This collection contains many important works produced by Beat Generation authors such as William S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Philip Lamantia and more in the 1950s-1960s.

Walt Whitman Lithograph Collection

Framed portraits of Whitman, along with drawings and paintings in black and white.

British Literary Manuscripts from the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

British Literary Manuscripts from the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh - Part Two: Eighteenth Century Manuscripts. This collection makes available a wide range of literary manuscripts from the age of the Scottish Enlightenment, with works by David Hume and James Boswell. It is dominated by manuscripts of three writers: Allan Ramsay (The Gentle Shepherd and many unpublished poems), Henry Mackenzie, and Robert Burns (including the Glenriddell Manuscript). A variety of Scottish literature, from the essays of aristocratic families to the indigenous songs and ballads of working people, can also be found. Includes a printed guide. [18 reels] Funded by the Palmer Bequest.

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

The Bronte Manuscripts: Literary Manuscripts and Correspondence of the Bronte Family

The Bronte Manuscripts: Literary Manuscripts and Correspondence of the Bronte Family from the Bronte Parsonage Museum and the British Library, London. Includes original manuscripts of fiction, poetry, correspondence, notebooks, and complete autograph manuscripts of Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette and sections of The Professor, along with the first press reviews of Wuthering Heights. Includes a printed guide. [12 reels] Funded by the Palmer Bequest.

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

Dickens Playbills in the Bodleian Library

Dickens Playbills in the Bodleian Library is comprised of playbills and programs for fifteen plays, from Pickwick Papers in 1836 to Edwin Drood in 1870, plus notes on Dickens as a performer. This is a small collection of 9 microfiche that is indexed by Dickens Playbills in the Bodleian Library, edited by Clive Hurst. Funded by the Palmer Bequest.

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

The Foster and Dyce Collections

The Foster and Dyce Collections, from the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This rich resource contains papers, correspondence, and dramatic as well as literary manuscripts. In our collection, we have Part 5: The Charles Dickens MSS, which includes the autographed manuscript drafts of 16 of Dickens' novels, including A Tale of Two Cities, American Notes, David Copperfield, and Oliver Twist. Includes a printed guide. [16 reels] Funded by the Palmer Bequest.

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

Index Iconologicus, 1250-1940

Index Iconologicus, 1250-1940 spans the major periods of art and literary history and includes more than 60,000 entries, with a concentration of 16th- and 17th- century art. The earliest imprint is 1250 and the most recent if 1940. In addition to photographic reproductions of artistic works, the index contains a wealth of literary, historical, and bibliographic information. With the collection, students and scholars of literature can trace the development of literary themes as represented in works of art. Historians can explore the theological, historical, and philosophical backgrounds in artistic works from four centuries. This collection consists of 400 items on fiche, and is accessed by Index Iconologicus: A Guide to the Microform Edition. Funded by the Palmer Bequest.

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

Manuscripts of the Irish Literary Renaissance

On the stage of Dublin's Abbey Theatre, the great actors of the 19th century performed: Bernhardt, Irving, Coquelin, and Duse. This theatre also played a central part in Ireland's cultural and dramatic renaissance, providing a forum for the ideas of W. B. Yeats, Sean O'Casey, and J. M. Synge. Microfilm collection funded by the Palmer Bequest.


The Diaries of Joseph Holloway, 1895-1944, from the National Library of Ireland, Dublin.
Joseph Holloway's diaries are rich with insights and an insider's view of the Irish literary revival. Holloway attended the opening night of every production in Dublin for nearly 50 years. In his diaries, scholars will find important observations about many leading figures, including James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, and Lady Gregory. [105 reels]


The Abbey Theatre and Cultural Life: The W. A. Henderson Scrapbooks, 1899-1911, from the National Library of Ireland, Dublin.
This part of the collection includes press cuttings, photographs, and other literary documents, chronicling, the central figures, events, and trends of the Irish Theatre. [5 reels]


The J. M. Synge Manuscripts, from the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
J. M. Synge was one of the principal figures of the Irish theatre and the Irish literary renaissance. This portion of the collection represents the largest archive of Synge material in the world. Included are manuscript and typescript drafts of all of Synge's published and unpublished work, along with other personal documents and records. A copy of The Synge Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin: A Catalogue Prepared on the Occasion of the Synge Centenary Exhibition, 1971 accompanies this part of the collection. [19 reels]

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

Shakespeare and the Stage: The Prompt Books

These are the working texts of stage managers, company prompters, actors' study books, and notes on staging and role interpretation. Libraries in the United States and England have contributed their collections to create this magnificent resource on microfilm. Funded by the Palmer Bequest.


The Folger Shakespeare Library Collection, Washington, D.C.
More than 900 volumes in this collection represent the world's largest assemblage of prompt books. Includes a printed guide. [86 reels]


The Harvard Theatre Collection.
Includes nearly 400 prompt books that vividly recreate British and American 19th century Shakespearean productions. Includes Henry Irving's prompt books from his days at the Lyceum. Includes a printed guide. [34 reels]


The Shakespeare Library Collection, Birmingham Public Library.
Covering a great range of productions in England between 1811 and 1929, this part of the collection offers insights into both touring London plays and the Theatre Royal's own productions. Included are the prompt books (1900-1926) of Frank Benson, the leading figure in the Stratford Shakespeare Festivals and the Gordon Crosse Theatrical Diary. Includes a printed guide. [10 reels]


The Shakespeare Centre Library Collection, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Contained here are more than 500 prompt books, dating from the early 18th century to 1975. The collection's earliest prompt copies are from the days of the Theatres Royal. The early years of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre are covered as well. The more recent prompt copies document the stage history of the theatres that have seen all the greatest Shakespearean actors, directors, and designers working in the 20th century. Includes a printed guide. [85 reels]

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

William Morris

A genuine "Renaissance" man, William Morris enjoyed myriad interests, ranging from architecture to book design. These archives span all periods of his career. The reels of microfilm are housed in the Palmer Microfilm cabinets. The guides are located at the Periodicals Reference Desk.


The Literary MSS of William Morris from the British Library, London includes poetry and tales from The Earthly Paradise, along with translations, sketches, political lectures, and journals. [9 reels] (Periodicals Z 6616.M7 L4 1985x pt.1)


The Literary MSS of William Morris from the Huntington Library, San Marino concentrates on Morris' literary talents and contains autograph volumes and translations, including the full text of The Tables Turned or Nupkins Awakened. [7 reels] (Periodicals Z 6616.M7 L4 1985x pt.2)


Archives of the Socialist League, 1884-1891; Minutes and Papers of the Council of the League from the Nettlau Archive at the International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, represents the complete surviving archives of the Socialist League and provides valuable insight into Morris' motives and politics. [37 reels] (Periodicals Z 6616.M7 L4 1985x pt.3)


Art, Book Design & Literary Papers from Kelmscott Manor; the Society of Antiquaries, London; & the British Library Dept. of Printed Books covers his work as a printer, designer, artist, and critic and includes rare copies of printed pamphlets, proofs, bookplates, and type and ornament designs. [5 reels] (Periodicals Z 6616.M7 L4 1985x pt.4)

This collection was funded by the Palmer Bequest.

Housed with the Periodicals Department microfilm.

Contact Information

Archives and Special Collections

B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
LIU Post Campus
Long Island University
Brookville, NY 11548

Telephone: (516) 299-2880

Email: jarron.jewell@liu.edu

Hours: 9:00-5:00, Monday-Friday