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Finlay mss., 1953-1972

Summary Information

Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Lilly Library
Indiana University
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-5500
Phone: 812-855-2452
Fax: 812-855-3143

Finlay, Ian Hamilton.

Finlay mss., 1953-1972

Collection No.
LMC 1406

4,011 items

Materials are in English.

The Finlay mss., 1953-1972, consists of the correspondence and writings of Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1925- , poet of Stonypath, Dunsyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland, where he published works from The Wild Hawthorn Press and of material sent to Finlay for inclusion into issues of Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

An influential proponent of concrete poetry, Finlay moved from solely literary forms of poetry, drama, and short stories in the 1950's to kinetic forms of poetry expressed in stone, wood, neon and other tangible structures in the 1960's. Boats and boating, sails and the sea were used by Finlay to suggest poetic ideas in many of his poems such as Archangel of Archangel, Boatyard, Four Sails, The Four Seasons..., Homage to Gomringer, Little Drummer boy, The Old Nobby, Seashells, Sepia Barge and others. Sundials were used in like manner as in Arcadian Sundials, Biggar Sundial, and Land/Sea Indoor Sundial. Letters exchanged with woodcarvers, stone carvers, photographers, typographers, printers, and artists give the instructions for the creation of many of his works. A book of poems, Poems to See and Hear , was prepared especially to introduce to children Finlay's poetic concepts. During 1968 to 1971 there was much work by Films of Scotland in the preparation of the films Ocean Stripe 5 and KY 365 based on Finlay's life and poetry.

Following an agreement with the Fulcrum Press in June 1968 to publish an edition of The Dancers Inherit the Party, a controversy developed over the next several years concerning the first appearance of the work. This involved lengthy correspondence with solicitors, members of parliament, librarians, staffs of magazines, newspapers, arts councils, and literary organizations as well as close friends and poets.


The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Drawings and Photographs; IV. Printed.

Scope and Content Note

The Finlay mss., 1953-1972, consists of the correspondence and writings of Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1925- , poet of Stonypath, Dunsyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland, where he published works from The Wild Hawthorn Press and of material sent to Finlay for inclusion into issues of Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. Writings by Ian Hamilton Finlay include both his literary efforts and instructions for his creative works as well as photographs of some of them.

Other items in the collection include drawings by Robert Frame, Roland Kempes, Zeljko D. Kunjundzic, John Picking, and Margo Sandeman; photographs of Finlay, his boat, and garden; and printed pieces by Finlay, by other writers, and of a miscellaneous nature.

Completing the collection are materials for POTH ( Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. ), a poetry periodical edited by Ian Hamilton Finlay for several years which provided an opportunity for collaboration by artist and poet. These include poems, proofs, and layouts, but not complete in every instance, for issues no. 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23 and 25. Projected issues by Jerome Rothenberg and Victor de Vasarely are designated as POTH Miscellaneous 1 and 2 .

Related Material

Finlay mss. II; also located at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Acquired 1973.
Usage Restrictions
Prior arrangements are not necessary before coming to the Library, however, patrons from out of town are encouraged to communicate with the Library in advance of their visits to ascertain availability of materials.

Photocopying permitted only with permission of the Curator of Manuscripts, Lilly Library.

Preferred Citation
Finlay mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Series: Box 1 I. Correspondence

Preceded by one folder of biographical material. General correspondence is arranged chronologically, followed by an undated letter and Christmas cards.

Among the correspondents are:

  • View All (393)
  • Robin Acland
  • Wolfgang Ainberger
  • George Albon
  • James Allan
  • Maxwell Allan
  • Roberrto Altmann
  • Diane Amussen
  • David Angus
  • Alain Arias-Misson
  • G.Aroul
  • Arthur Hunt & Hunt, solicitors
  • Dana Atchley
  • Martha Baird
  • Janet D. Bane
  • Stephen Bann
  • Mary Elizabeth Barber
  • Douglas Barbour
  • Harry Jefferson Barnes
  • Harry Barrett
  • William Beattie
  • Heinz Rudolf Beck
  • Donald Bell
  • Asa Benveniste
  • John Betjeman
  • Arthur Bickerton
  • Charles Joseph Biederman
  • Max Bill
  • A.N. Blackwood
  • Margaret Blyth
  • Alan Bold
  • Jerry Bowles
  • Edward Brandabur
  • Lesley Bratton
  • Christian J. Braun
  • Udo Breger
  • Jürgen Brenner
  • Tom Bridge
  • Coburn Britton
  • British Broadcasting Corporation
  • G.F. Brown
  • George Mackay Brown
  • Ernst Brücher
  • William Buchanan
  • Basil Bunting
  • Vincent Butler
  • David A. Button
  • John Mackenzie Calder
  • Lyn Calwell
  • Augusto de Campos
  • Alistair Cant
  • Christopher Carrell
  • Patrick Caulfield
  • Douglas Chambers
  • Julia L. Cherne
  • Susan Chernow
  • Shiomi Chieko
  • JoAnne Chittick
  • Ulf Christensen
  • Elizabeth T. Clark
  • Thomas A. Clark
  • Alan Clodd
  • Henry Clyne
  • Bob Cobbing
  • Harold Cohen
  • Mary C. Cohen
  • Barry Cole
  • William Rossa Cole
  • Sir Edmund Gerald Compton
  • Margaret Conn
  • John Stewart Conn
  • Seamus Cooney
  • Michael Cormack
  • Sidney Corman
  • Ron Costley
  • John Cotton
  • Tom Leadbetter Cottrell
  • Kenelm Cox
  • Margaret Cox
  • Robert Creeley
  • J. Elisabeth Crommelin
  • Arthur Charles William Crook
  • Robin Crozier
  • Helen Burness Cruickshank
  • Edward W. Curtis
  • Simon Cutts
  • Audrey Daly
  • Tam Dalyell
  • Jose Antonio Da Silva
  • Guy Davenport
  • Hervé Delagrave
  • Richard Demarco
  • Stephen W. Dennis
  • Stanislaw Drózdz
  • Kenneth Duffy
  • Alexander Arbuthnot Dunbar
  • Robert Edward Duncan
  • Douglas Eadie
  • David McAdam Eccles, 1st viscount Eccles
  • Jim Ede
  • Larry Eigner
  • Richard England
  • Theodore Enslin
  • Amelia Etlinger
  • Susan Finlay
  • William Ian Robertson Finlay
  • Roy Fisher
  • Maurice Fleming
  • James Allan Ford
  • Renate Froehlich
  • Robin Fulton
  • John Furnival
  • Robert E. Galen
  • Heinz Gappmayr
  • Ian Gardner
  • John Gardner
  • George Garson
  • Rod Gathercole
  • K.C. Gay
  • Tony Gill
  • Elizabeth L. Glazebrook
  • Duncan Munro Glen
  • Hamish Glen
  • Sydney McK. Glen
  • Sue Glover
  • David Godwin
  • Mathias Goeritz
  • Eugen Gomringer
  • Stephen Goode
  • Arnold Abraham Goodman, baron Goodman
  • Goodman Derrick & Co., solicitors
  • Giles Alexander Esme Gordon
  • Nigel Gosling
  • Jennifer Gough-Cooper
  • R.C. Gowers
  • Peter Grant
  • Douglas Gray
  • Mrs. Ann (Giffard) Greenhill
  • Basil Jack Greenhill
  • Christopher Murray Grieve
  • Murray Grigor
  • Ronald Gunn
  • Daniel J. Haberman
  • Hagart & Burn-Murdoch, W.S., solicitors
  • George Alexander Eugene Douglas Haig, 2nd earl Haig
  • Barry L. Hall
  • Douglas Hall Myles
  • D.G. Hardie
  • H. Forsyth Hardy
  • P.R. Harris
  • Judith Constance Mary (Ridehalgh) Hart
  • Michael Harvey
  • Oliver Hawkins
  • Vaughn Hay
  • Michael Heller
  • Hamish Henderson
  • James Findlay Hendry
  • J. N. Herbert
  • John Herdman
  • Richard C. Higgins
  • Hugh Creighton Hill
  • Mark Hill
  • Mary Cranford (Coates) Hitchens
  • Sydney Ivon Hitchens
  • Philip Welsby Holland
  • Stephen Holland
  • Sally Holman
  • Michael Horovitz
  • Pierre Sylvester Houédard
  • Libby Houston
  • W.J. Hummerstone
  • Gordon Huntley
  • H.C. Huntley
  • T. & W. Ide
  • A.C. Ijenberg
  • Charles d'Orville Pilkington Jackson
  • Ruth L. Jacoby
  • Ernest Jandl
  • John MacLane Johansen
  • Ronald Johnson
  • Bernard Karpel
  • Graham Keen
  • Robert Kelly
  • Robert C. Kennedy
  • X.J. Kennedy
  • Hugh Kenner
  • Irena Kenod
  • Alexander Kerr
  • Nick Kimberley
  • David Kindersley
  • M.J. King
  • Melanie Kingdon
  • Dorothy Koppelman
  • Richard Kostelanetz
  • Ferdinand Kriwet
  • Zeljko D. Kujundzic
  • John Lambert
  • Brian Lambie
  • Barry Lane
  • Phyllis Larkin
  • James Laughlin
  • George L. Lawson
  • Robert Lax
  • Jennie Lee
  • David Leigh
  • Theodore Ferdinand Lentz
  • D.A. Levy
  • Jill Liddington
  • Nicholas Logsdail
  • Else B. Lorch
  • R.L.C. Lorimer
  • Andrew Lothian
  • John W. Lucas
  • Edward Lucie-Smith
  • Jack Lunam-Cowan
  • A. McBean
  • Patrick McCormack
  • Thomas McGrath
  • David Roy MacGregor
  • Eric B. Mackay
  • J.A. Mackenzie
  • Michael S. Mackenzie
  • Alastair Mackintosh
  • Hamish McLaren
  • J.N. McLaurin
  • Ruari McLean
  • John MacQueen
  • David Jackson McWilliams
  • Marvin Herbert Malone
  • Anthony Richards Manser
  • Edgar James March
  • Linda Dorothy (Bowman) March
  • Helen Marley
  • Fred R. Martin
  • John Kenneth Martin
  • John Edward Matthias
  • Charles Matz
  • Ronald Mavor
  • Hansjörg Mayer
  • Roger Russell Maylone
  • Freiderike Mayröcker
  • G. Ropen Mead
  • William Moelwyn Merchant
  • Christopher Middleton
  • Amado Ramón Millán
  • Stuart Mills
  • Deidre B. Montgomery
  • Stuart Montgomery
  • A. Doyle Moore
  • Edwin Morgan
  • Pete Morgan
  • Alfred Morris
  • James Munro
  • Edward Nairn
  • Julia Newman
  • H. Alleyne Nicholson
  • James Nicholson
  • D.H. Nielsen
  • Seiichi Niikuni
  • Gunter Nolte
  • Robert Nye
  • Philip Oakes
  • George A. Oliver
  • Betty O'Looney
  • Miles D. Orvell
  • Charles Osborne
  • Alicia (Suskin) Ostriker
  • Derek Parker
  • James Edmund Neil Paterson
  • George Paterson
  • John Pauker
  • Noël Strange Paul
  • Octavio Paz
  • David Peace
  • M.A. Pegg
  • Paul N. Perrot
  • Edward Phelps
  • Anthony Phillips
  • Omar Shakespear Pound
  • Ian Douglas Ben Procter
  • John Whitely Purser
  • Michael Pye
  • Geoffrey Rans
  • David Raphael
  • Walter M. Reid
  • Robert Reiss
  • Alan Riddell
  • Ann Ridley
  • Bridget Riley
  • Francis Warren Roberts
  • John Roberts
  • Lewis Findlay Robertson
  • Duncan Robinson
  • Pamela Robinson
  • William T. Rodgers
  • Herbert M. Rosenthal
  • Macha Louis Rosenthal
  • Ian G. Ross
  • Ian Simpson Ross
  • Bertram Rota
  • Jerome Rothenberg
  • Trevor Royle
  • Rubinstein
  • Nash & Co., solicitors
  • Regina Ryan
  • John Ryder
  • Christopher Rye
  • Magda Salvesen
  • Margot Sandeman
  • Oscar Sandner
  • Aram Saroyan
  • Robert Crombie Saunders
  • Estella Schmid
  • John Scholfield
  • Stephen Scobie
  • James Robert Seaton
  • A.J. Seely
  • Annabel Seidler
  • Martin Seymour-Smith
  • Arnold Shaw
  • Jessie (McGuffie) Sheeler
  • Michael R. Shepherd
  • Elizabeth Shub
  • Eli Siegel
  • Stanley M. Simpson
  • James Simson
  • Leif Sjoberg
  • Joan Skalley
  • Philip Sked
  • Alisdair Skinner
  • Christopher Small
  • Barbara (Brodo) Herrnstein Smith
  • John L. Smith
  • Hans Sohm
  • Mary Ellen (Bottom) Solt
  • Kaim Spalte
  • John Hanbury Angus Sparrow
  • Charles Spencer
  • Juliet Standing
  • Derek Stanford
  • Margaret (Holdsworth) Stanford
  • Philip Steadman
  • Jeffrey Steele
  • Jeremy V. Steele
  • Mary Stevens
  • F.R. Stevenson
  • Donald James Stewart
  • Peter Stitt
  • Constance Stungo
  • Andrew Suknaski
  • Geoffrey Summerfield
  • John T. Sutherland
  • Michael F. Sydenham
  • Robert Tait
  • Diane Tamnes
  • Eric Taylor
  • Eyvind S. Tew
  • John R. Thorpe
  • Ian Tinwell
  • Karl Torok
  • John Hugh Tuohy
  • Gael Turnbull
  • Charles Turner
  • Enrique Uribe Valdivielso
  • Jirí Valoch
  • Franz Vanderlinden
  • Victor de Vasarely
  • David Vaughan
  • Paul de Vree
  • Herman de Vries
  • Frank W. Weatherhead
  • Mike Weaver
  • Peter Weibel
  • Steve Whealton
  • Charlene H. White
  • Eric Walter White
  • John William Mills Willett
  • Ann (Stevenson) Williams
  • Emmett Williams
  • Jonathan Chamberlain Williams
  • Angus Frank Johnstone Wilson
  • Astrid Wilson
  • Gloria Wilson
  • Trevor Winkfield
  • Melinda Winters
  • Joyce Wittenborn
  • Woodford & Ackroyd, solicitors
  • Howard Woolmer
  • Edward Wright
  • Kit Wright
  • Pedro Xisto
  • Alan Young
  • Bill Zavatsky
  • Nicholas Zurbrugg

Consult the Manuscripts Index in the Library for dates of letters of individual correspondents.

Biographical; 1962 - 1968, Nov.

Box 2 1968, Dec. - 1969 

Box 3 1970, Jan. - Dec. 21 

Box 4 1970, Dec. 22 - 1972, Jan. 

Box 5 1972, Feb. - Dec.; undated letters; Christmas cards

Oversize 1 May 30, 1967; June 4, 1969; undated letter

Series: Box 5 II. Writings

Arranged alphabetically by title of Finlay's work, followed by writings by others, arranged alphabetically by author.

Includes writings, drawings and related materials. Writings by Ian Hamilton Finlay.

Subseries: Box 5 Writings by Finlay



Additional poems


Alphabet book


april may june july...

Arcadian Sundials

The Archangel


Au Pair


A boatyard

Bring Back the Birch

Broken Heart

Brother of the Dogfish

Caterpillar in Pond

Christmas was at Easter

Ceolfrith Street Handout

Count-down of a fir tree

Cythera: Garden Setting

The Dancers Inherit the Party


The Estate Hunters

Evening/Sail 2

Fir Tree

Fishing News News


The flower of the fal

The Four Seasons as Fishing Boats

From “An Inland Garde


Hic Jacet parvulum…

Homage to Donald McGill

Homage to Vuillard

Homage to A. E. Hornel


Instructions about boat to Salamander Press

Instructions for setting poems

It is little

Joke book

Land/Sea Indoor Sundial

The Land’s Shadow

A memory of summer

A minor Incident

The mouse


Notes about the Fulcrum Press Affair

Notes, miscellaneous

The Old Nobby

The Olsen Excerpts

Original Verses

Pan Loaf Provincialism


Picture Book


Poem with Three Stripes


Postcard poem Layouts

A Rock Rose

The Rubenstein Questionnaire

A Sailor's Calendar


Sea poppy 1.

Sea-poppy 2.

A Sea Street Anthology


The Sea's Waves...

Sepia Barge

The Sign of the Nudge


Stack Net


Tristan's Sail

Two Concrete poems


Walking through Seaweed

Wave Sheaf

The Wild Dogs in Winter

Willing Wings


Xmas morn

you me us

Oversize 1 The Little Drummer Boy


Tye, Cringle, etc.

Oversize 3 Be in Time...

The Bigger Sundial

Column Poem

Evening Will Come

Four Sails

The Four Seasons as Fore-and-Afters


Homage to Gomringer


Poems to Hear and See

A Rococo Walnut

Sailing Barge (Redwing)

Subseries: Box 6 Writings by others

Albert-Birot, Pierre

Bann, Stephen

Braga, Edgard

Brown, Pete

Campos, Augusto de

Cant, Jackie

Careme, Maurice

Chopin, Henri

Clark, Elizabeth T.

Costley, Ron

Cox, Kenelm

Creeley, Robert

cummings, e.e.

Cutts, Simon

Demarco Gallery

Dragomirescu, Radu

Falk, Gunter

Gappmayr, Heinz

Gomringer, Evgen

Grigor, Murray

Hendry, James Finlay

Higgins, Richard C.

Hill, Hugh Creighton

Hollo, Anselm

Horovitz, Michael

Houston, Libby

Johnson, Ronald

Jandl, Ernst

Kujundzic, Zeljko D.

Lax, Robert

McCaig, Norman

McDowell, John D.

McGerrill, Ann

Malone, Marvin Herbert

Mayrocker, Friederike

Melo Castro, E.M

Mills, Stuart

Morgan, Edwin

Niikuni, Seiichi

Novak, Ladislov

Riddel, Alan

Roth, Karl Heinz

Scha, Remko J.H

Seidman, Hugh

Siegel, Eli

Simmons, Robert

Smith, Barbara (Bodo) Hirrnstein

Sparrow, John Hanburg Angus

Standford, Derek

Sutherland, Robert Garioch

Supervielle, Jules

Turnbull, Gael

Uribe Valdivie Iso, Enrique

Valoch, Jiri

Vree, Paul de

Wild Hawthorn Press (2 folders)

Williams, Jonathan Chamberlain

Zukofsky, Louis

Unknown authors

Oversize 1 Scobie, Stephen

Series: Box 6 III. Drawings & Photographs

Subseries: Box 6 Drawings

Fraine, Robert

Kempes, Roland

Kujundzic, Z.D.

(2 folders)

Picking, J.

Sandeman, Margot

(2 folders)

Oversize 1 McNeish, Alexander

Subseries: Box 6 Photographs

ASA Exhibition in Tokyo

Brazilian Concrete Poets: Augusto and Haroldo de Campos, and Dècio Pignatari

Cruz-Diez, Carlos. Artwork

Finlay, I.H. Concrete poems, garden, pond and boat, two portraits

Gomez de Liano, Ignacio. Poetry

Niedecler, Lorine. Snapshot

Schmalriede, Manfred, photographer. Finlay exhibit

Schiller, Robert M., photographer. Louis Zukofsky

Trace, M.D., photographer. Artwork by Jeffrey Steele

Walker, Audrey, photographer. For Finlay's Autumn poem

Series: Box 6 IV. Printed

The Archangel of Archangel

A Boatyard



Fishing News News

Homage to E.A. Hornel

A memory of Summer

The Old Nobby

Pole Night



Willing Wings

Other writers

Miscellaneous 1

Miscellaneous 2

Oversize 2 P.O.T.H. (Poor. Old. Tired. Horse).

Includes poems, proofs, and layouts