Willard Thorp to Emily Hale1

TS Princeton
[No address given]
26 December 1963
Dear Emily,

Now that the term has ended (not for the students: they have a reading-period coming up) and a blessed post-Christmas leisure has descended, I can pay attention to some important things, not just the routine matters. AndThorp, Willardbut shifts responsibility to Dix;e1 none more important than this strange impasse with your letters to T.S.E. His silence, after your careful (and gentle) letter of last September, is incredible, unless, as you suggest, he may not be well. As you know, under the law, the letters belong to him and he can dispose of them as he wishes. But the right to quote from them or to publish any or all of them belongs to you and your legal heirs – forever, so far as we know. One would think, therefore, that he would like to know what your wishes are in the matter. But – well, here we just move into speculation.

NowDix, William Shepherd;b9 that Bill Dix and I are on the ground for a while, I shall, of course, find out what he has to suggest. If a letter is to be written from here, he should be the one to write. I’ll certainly talk with him before the week is out.


WithThorp, Willardmakes transcript of EH's 'recording';e2 Margaret’s help, I have finished putting the transcript of the tape in order, trying not to change your meaning in any respect. As soon as it is typed up again, I’ll send along a copy for your comment.

It will be a sober year ahead, but we must have some joy from it.


P.S. A few queries about the manuscript & the transcription.

p. 10. What is the name of the village in Gloucestershire where Tom was confirmed? I read your writing as “Finlock”.

p. 13. Didn’tGeorge, Robert Esmonde Gordon ('Robert Sencourt');c9 you meet Robert Sencourt (not Selincourt) at the Eliot party? (We met him at the apartment once.)

p. 22. IWoolfs, the;f1Woolf, LeonardWoolfs, theWoolf, VirginiaWoolfs, the can’t find that the Woolfs lived in Woburn Square. Should it not be Tavistock Square?

p. 24. WhoSeaverns, Helen;e7 is the friend of the Perkins who married an Englishman Mrs Joel Seaverns?

ShouldRoberts, Janet;b8 Adam-Smith (Janet) be hyphenated?

1.Cited in Gordon, Imperfect Life, 421

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.

George, Robert Esmonde Gordon ('Robert Sencourt'), in thumbnail, staying with the Eliots, records TSE's argument with Koteliansky, recites chapter from new book, creates harmony between the Eliots, offers to lend TSE fur coat, relays gossip about VHE, stirs up situation, extends invitation to Cairo, and Stead visit Campden, forces himself on TSE, TSE's mixed feelings toward, The Life of Newman,

3.RobertGeorge, Robert Esmonde Gordon ('Robert Sencourt') Esmonde Gordon George – Robert Sencourt (1890–1969) – critic, historian, biographer: see Biographical Register.

Roberts, Janet, just returned from the Alps, laments The Criterion's closure, remembers EH in Scotland, her parents recalled by EH, sends TSE butter, resemblance to husband, TSE's fondness for, writes about Rome broadcast, confides Michael's illness, following Michael's death, TSE reads to her children, dinner with over Christmas, worried about Michael's job,
see also Robertses, the
Seaverns, Helen, finally dines with TSE, teaches TSE card games, bearer of EH's Christmas present, charms TSE, hosts TSE and the Perkinses, entertained by TSE, TSE hesitates to confide in, and Perkinses dine with TSE, to tea with TSE, seeks advice from TSE on transatlantic tourism, her comforts equivalent to Mappie's, houses EH on 1939 arrival, an old spoiled child, disburdens herself over tea, laments life in Hove, removed from grandchildren,

3.HelenSeaverns, Helen Seaverns, widow of the American-born businessman and Liberal MP, Joel Herbert Seaverns: see Biographical Register.

Thorp, Willard, introduced by TSE to Dobrée, at the Criterion meeting, grows on TSE, teaches Ombre to the Eliots, EH thinks of entrusting letters to, seems lifeless, has stiffening effect on TSE, requests Paul More tribute, which he delivers to More, congratulates TSE on Family Reunion, invited TSE to Princeton, due to teach at Harvard, compared to Margaret, resembles Sweden's Crown Prince, formally notified of EH's bequest, objects to TSE's 50-year moratorium, and EH's 'recordings', seeks again to shorten moratorium, but again refused, invited to petition TSE directly, but shifts responsibility to Dix, makes transcript of EH's 'recording',
see also Thorps, the

1.Margaret Thorp, née Farrand (1891–1970), contemporary and close friend of EH; noted author and biographer. WillardThorp, Willard Thorp (1899–1990) was a Professor of English at Princeton University. See Biographical Register. See further Lyndall Gordon, Hyacinth Girl, 126–8, 158–9.

Woolfs, the, at Clive Bell's for lunch, TSE's dearest London friends, company compared to that of Christians, host TSE and Elizabeth Bowen to tea, Rodmell described, closer to TSE than to VHE, visited on TSE's 1933 return, refreshingly childless, amazed by TSE's appearance, and Tomlin dine with TSE, Keynes and TSE dine with, TSE's Bloomsbury weekend with, described in their Tavistock Square domain, have TSE for tea, TSE dines with, and TSE argue about honours, compared to the de la Mares, host TSE for weekend, abandon London for Sussex, where they invite TSE, TSE's Sussex stay with, on their return from Sussex, host TSE, give dinner without mentioning war, TSE plans to visit in Sussex, 52 Tavistock Square bombed,