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The Cornell Joyce Collection

The Rare and Manuscript Division owns a significant collection of the private papers of James Joyce, focusing on his life and works before 1920. The Joyce collection came to the Cornell Library beginning in 1957 from the widow of James Joyce’s younger brother Stanislaus, through a gift of William G. Mennen. Later additions to the collection were made by Victor Emanuel and C. Waller Barrett.

The Joyce Collection is one of the richest in the world dealing with Joyce’s early writing career and life before 1920. It includes letters by Joyce, letters to or relating to Joyce by his family and friends, many of his early manuscripts, and other documents.


The collection contains sixty-three manuscripts, including working drafts and typescripts of Ulysses. Also significant among the manuscripts are some of his early essays, fragments of his “lost” juvenile poetry, the earliest know manuscript of Chamber Music, a typescript of the first brief sketch of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and a journal entitled “My Crucible” kept by Stanislaus Joyce from 1903 to 1905.


There are also over three hundred letters, postcards and telegrams in the Joyce Collection. These include those written by James Joyce to his family, documenting his difficult winter in Paris in 1902 – 1903, and nearly one hundred letters from Joyce to his brother Stanislaus, covering the years 1904 through 1907 when Joyce was a new husband and father. He also began writing “The Dead” and first conceived the idea for Ulysses during this period. The Collection also contains intimate correspondence between Joyce and his wife Nora, mostly written in 1909 during two trips to Ireland that Joyce took while Nora remained in Trieste. Other correspondence in the Collection includes letters to or relating to Joyce by Ezra Pound, Harriet Shaw Weaver, Grant Richards, W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, Arthur Symons, Elkin Mathews and Oliver Gogarty. There are also one hundred and seventy-five letters between several members of the Joyce family, including Joyce’s father, brothers, and his aunt Josephine Murray.

The Collection contains photographs, miscellaneous papers, publishing contracts, and business documents as well. A finding aid to the Cornell Joyce Collection is located in the Reference Room of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections on the 2B level of the Carl A. Kroch Library. There is also a published guide to the Cornell Joyce Collection available in the Rare and Manuscript Reference Room, entitled The Cornell Joyce Collection, a catalog compiled by Robert E. Scholes. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1961.

Another Copy is available in Uris Library at Z6616.J89 S36


The original manuscripts and letters in the Joyce Collection are complimented by a comprehensive collection of Joyce’s published works in their original and early editions. Joyce’s printed works in the Rare and Manuscripts Division can be accessed through the online Cornell Library Catalog.

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