Archive of French Symbolist Poetry, ca 1890s - 1930s.

A collection of manuscripts, correspondence, books and photographs from the library of Marjorie Henry Ilsley, a scholar and writer and a friend of a number of the French poets of the Symbolist and post-Symbolist schools.

The archive includes about 50 books, more than 30 of them inscribed to Marjorie Ilsley by such writers as Marc Chadbourne (3), Paul Claudel (1), Jean Cocteau (1), Edouard Estaunie (3), Wallace Fowlie (several), Andre Fontainas (2), Paul Fort (1), Camille Mauclair (2) and others.

The archive also includes:

Correspondents represented in the archive include Jean Benoit-Levy, Andre Cazamian, Edouard Champion, Edouard Estaunie, Andre Fountainas, Paul Fort, Ian Forbes Fraser, Rene Ghil, Alfred Jeanroy, Camille Mauclair, Claire Stuart Merrill, Albert Mockel, Marie Noel, Henri de Regnier, Charles Silvestre, and Francis Viele-Griffin.

There are also photographic portraits of Edouard Estaunie and Albert Mockel, as well as a number of snapshots of Ilsley and Estaunie and a handful of unidentified snapshots, apparently taken in France.

Marjorie Henry Ilsley earned a degree from the Sorbonne in 1927: she was given the title "Woman of the Day" by the Paris Times after she presented a remarkable defense of her thesis on the American-born French Symbolist poet Stuart Merrill before a Jury of the Faculty of Letters at the university, and she was one of the first American women to receive a doctorate there. She taught at Wellesley College after graduating and later was the Head of the French Department at Pine Manor Junior College, which was associated with Wellesley at the time, from 1951-1957. (During that time, one of her students was Jill Faulkner, daughter of William Faulkner, which explains why Faulkner gave the Commencement at Pine Manor in 1951.) When she died in 1961 she left her books and papers to the college, and they were later deaccessioned.

The Symbolist movement grew up in the late 19th century as a reaction to Realism and Naturalism in the arts; in restoring a place for spirituality, idealism, and symbolism in the arts, it laid the foundation for the surrealists who by the 1930s supplanted the post-Symbolists. This archive covers an important and under-recognized era in the development of international movements in modern poetry and includes most of the writers of the latter part of the Symbolist movement. $5000