William S. Dix to T. S. Eliot

T. S.Eliot
The Library, Princeton University
24 January 1957
PersonalPrinceton Universityand EH's bequest;e8
DearDix, William Shepherdwrites to reassure;b2 Mr Eliot:

As I believe you know, Miss Emily Hale has presented to the Princeton University Library a collection of letters from you. I am writing now to inform you of the terms under which these letters were accepted by the Library and the conditions under which they may be used eventually by scholars.

Miss Hale has made the gift with the express understanding that the Library is to preserve the collection completely closed to all readers until the lapse of fifty years after your death or hers, whichever shall occur later. At that time the files may be made available for study by properly qualified scholars in accordance with the regulations of the Library for the use of manuscript materials. To carry out this intention the collection is to be kept in sealed containers in our manuscript vaults.

It is of course understood by Miss Hale and by us that the Library is acquiring only the physical property rights in these letters even after the collection is opened for scholarly inspection. The common law literary property rights will remain with your estate unless transferred, and the letters cannot be printed and distributed by anyone without the consent of your literary executors.

Our manuscript collections here at Princeton contain a number of personal files of contemporary authors and statesmen which are being held subject to restrictions of the same sort placed upon this correspondence, and it is a matter of the strictest principle with us to conform precisely to the wishes of the donor as to terms of access.

I am very happy indeed to have this correspondence from the major literary figure of our time at Princeton, and I am sure that the literary scholars of the future will be equally happy that it has been preserved for their use.

Yours sincerely,
William S. Dix
Dix, William Shepherd, acknowledges EH's bequest to Princeton, produces legal memorandum, objects to 50-year moratorium, suspected of reading letters, requested to write to TSE, writes to reassure, and is acknowledged, receives further material from EH, pushes again for shorter moratorium, which TSE again rejects, invited to petition TSE directly, supposed to write to TSE,

1.WilliamDix, William Shepherd Shepherd Dix (1910–78): Librarian, Princeton University, 1953–75. Having gained first degrees (BA and MA) at the University of Virginia, he earned a doctorate in American literature at the University of Chicago. After working first as a teacher and English instructor, he became Associate Professor of English and Librarian of Rice Institute, Houston, Texas (now Rice University), 1947–53. Resolutely opposed to censorship and intellectual constraint, he served as chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the American Library Association (ALA), 1951–3; chair of the International Relations Committee, 1955–60; and President of the ALA, 1969–70. In addition, he was Executive Secretary, 1957–9, and President, 1962–3, of the Association of Research Libraries. Recognised as one of the topmost figures in librarianship, he was honoured by the American Library Association with the Dewey Medal, 1969, and the Lippincott Award, 1971.

Princeton University, according to TSE's fantasy, TSE engaged to lecture at, and Ronald Bottrall, TSE on his trip to, its architecture, compared to Harvard and Yale, Alumni Weekly print TSE's More tribute, possible wartime lectures at, and Allen Tate, among American colleges, extends wartime invitation to TSE, invites TSE to conference, Johnson lectures revamped for, confers honorary degree on TSE, and TSE's Institute for Advanced Study position, EH's information on, and Herbert Read, and EH's bequest,