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MacCarthy mss., 1863-1991

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

MacCarthy, Desmond, 1877-1952.

MacCarthy mss., 1863-1991

Collection No.
LMC 1684

10,000 items

Materials are in English

Consists of the papers of drama and literary critic Desmond MacCarthy, 1877-1952, and his wife, author Mary (Warre-Cornish) MacCarthy, 1882-1953.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Desmond's first experience as an editor was with New Quarterly and then Eye Witness (later renamed: New Witness). In 1913 he began writing a weekly column for the New Statesman eventually becoming literary editor in 1920, then the drama critic. Desmond also contributed weekly articles to the London Sunday Times and broadcast literary talks for the BBC. Mary (or Molly, as she was known to most) wrote two books, A Pier and a Band and A Nineteenth Century Childhood, as well as other works. Although not particularly well-known for their writings, the MacCarthys were surrounded by the colorful personalities that defined turn- of-the-century English drama, art, literature, and society in general.


The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Miscellaneous

Scope and Content Note

The papers contain correspondence with their colleagues and friends as well as a large quantity just between Desmond and Mary. Also included is the correspondence of both Mary's and Desmond's families. Some of the notable correspondents are: Lady Cynthia Mary Evelyn (Charteris) Asquith, Countess Margot Asquith, Enid Bagnold, Maurice Baring, Sir James Matthew Barrie, Sir Max Beerbohm, Clive Bell, Vanessa (Stephen) Bell, Hilaire Belloc, Lady Helen Violet Bonham Carter, Irene Cooper-Willis, Ethel Anne Priscilla (Fane) Grenfell (Baroness Desborough), Thomas Stearns Eliot, Edward Morgan Forster, Roger Fry, Duncan James Corrowr Grant, Harley Granville-Barker, Bryan Walter Guinness, Thomas Hardy, Leslie Poles Hartley, John Maynard Keynes, Hope Mirrlees, George Moore, George Edward Moore, Lady Ottoline Violet Anne (Cavendish-Bentinck) Morrell, Raymond Mortimer, Violet Paget, Betsy Graves Reyneau, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Logan Pearsall Smith, Giles Lytton Strachey, George Macaulay Trevelyan, Robert Calverley Trevelyan, Arthur Waley, Judith Anne Dorothea Wentworth Blunt-Lytton (Baroness Wentworth), Virginia (Stephen) Woolf.

The writings contain many drafts and typescripts of Desmond's articles and a few writings by Molly. Miscellaneous materials include calendars and diaries for both and school reports for Desmond. In addition, there are school reports, writings and other miscellaneous materials for members of both families.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Acquired: 1994
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
[Item], MacCarthy mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Processing Information
Processed by Lilly Staff.

Completed in 1996

Series: Box 1 Correspondence

Subseries: Box 1 Colleagues and Friends

Most of the correspondence of Desmond and Molly MacCarthy with their colleagues and friends is arranged in chronological order. Seven individual files have been kept intact and filed alphabetically after the chronological file.

Correspondents include:

  • View All (39)
  • Lady Cynthia Mary Evelyn (Charteris) Asquith
  • Countess Margot Asquith
  • Enid Bagnold
  • Maurice Baring
  • Sir James Matthew Barrie
  • Sir Max Beerbohm
  • Clive Bell
  • Vanessa (Stephen) Bell
  • Hilaire Belloc
  • Lady Helen Violet Bonham Carter
  • Irene Cooper-Willis
  • Ethel Anne Priscilla (Fane) Grenfell
  • Baroness Desborough
  • Thomas Stearns Eliot
  • Edward Morgan Forster
  • Roger Fry
  • Duncan James Corrowr Grant
  • Harley Granville-Barker
  • Bryan Walter Guinness
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Leslie Poles Hartley
  • John Maynard Keynes
  • Hope Mirrlees
  • George Moore
  • George Edward Moore
  • Lady Ottoline Violet Anne (Cavendish-Bentinck) Morrell
  • Raymond Mortimer
  • Violet Paget
  • Betsy Graves Reyneau
  • Bertrand Russell
  • George Bernard Shaw
  • Logan Pearsall Smith
  • Giles Lytton Strachey
  • George Macaulay Trevelyan
  • Robert Calverley Trevelyan
  • Arthur Waley
  • Judith Anne Dorothea Wentworth Blunt-Lytton
  • Baroness Wentworth
  • Virginia (Stephen) Woolf

Box 1 Chronological files


Box 2 1940 - 1991;  undated

Box 3 Alphabetical files

Folder 1-14 Abbott, Reymond 1895-1953

Folder 15-19 Asquith, Cynthia 1918-1953

Folder 20-21 Asquith, Margot 1917-1945

Folder 22-23 Baring, Maurice 1899-1945

Folder 24-27 Cooper-Willis, Irene 1916-1918

Folder 28-29 Morrell, Lady Ottoline 1914-1933 

Folder 30-31 Woolf, Virginia 1911-1940

Subseries: Box 4 Desmond and Molly

Correspondence between Desmond and Molly only. There are 279 letters from Desmond to Molly and 377 letters from Molly to Desmond.

They are interfiled into one chronological arrangement.

Box 4 1901-1952;  undated

Subseries: Box 5 Louise MacCarthy

Correspondence of Desmond and Molly with Desmond's mother Louise Jeanne Wilhelmine (de la Chevallerie) MacCarthy.

Interfiled into one chronological arrangement.

Box 5 1861-1937;  undated 

Box 6 1836-1904;  undated

Subseries: Box 6 Family

Correspondence of the MacCarthy and Warre-Cornish families, excluding the correspondence of Molly, Desmond and Louise MacCarthy with each other.

The letters are interfiled into one chronological arrangement.

Correspondents include:

  • View All (15)
  • Vanessa Bell
  • Anne Thackeray
  • Ritchie Gerald Warre-Cornish
  • Francis Warre-Cornish
  • Maurice Baring
  • Lord Edward Christian David Gascoyne-Cecil
  • Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
  • Esmé Valerie (Fletcher) Eliot
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Henry James
  • Neville Stephen Lytton
  • Sir Edward Howard Marsh
  • Alan Noel Latimer Munby
  • Judith Anne Dorothea Wentworth Blunt-Lytton
  • Baroness Wentworth

Box 6 1836-1904;  undated

Box 7 1905-1958;  undated

Series: Box 7 Writings

Subseries: Box 7 Writings by Desmond MacCarthy

Writings are filed under the following alphabetically-arranged subjects assigned by Desmond.

Types of writings include: dramatic criticism, book reviews, and other articles for newspapers and magazines; talks and lectures; radio broadcasts; short stories and books.

Box 7 Art

Art of Reading

Bacon, Francis

Barrie, James

Beerbohm, Max

Belloc, Hilaire

Bennett, Arnold

Bibesco, Elizabeth


Bronte, Charlotte

Byron, George Gordon Byron

Box 8 Capek, Josef

Carlyle, Thomas


Chesterton, Gilbert Keith

Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich

Claudel, Paul

Cobden-Sickert, Ellen Melicent

Cocteau, Jean

Congreve, William

Coward, Noel

Craig, Gordon


A Critic's Daybook

Dalcroze, Jaques

Dane, Clemence

D'Annunzio, Gabriele

Darwin, Charles Galton

Daviot, Gordon

Defoe, Daniel

de la Mare, Walter

Dell, Ethel May

de Quincey, Thomas

de Selincourt, Ernest

Dibdin, Charles

Dickens, Charles

Din, Nasr-ed

Diogenes, etc.

Distinguished Villa


Donne, John

Dostoevsky, Theodore M.



Dryden, John

Eliot, T.S.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo

The English Character

Firbank, Ronald

Fleming, Marjory

Ford, Lionel

Forster, E. M.

Fry, Roger

Gallagher, Frank

Galsworthy, John

The Gentleman


Gosse, Edmund

Granville-Barker, Harley

Hardy, Thomas

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

Hawtrey, Charles

Hazlitt, William

Heine, Heinrich

Herbert, Aubrey

Herrick, Robert

Holcroft, Thomas

Holmes, Sherlock

Hsiung, Shih-li

Hughes, Richard



Hunt, Leigh

Huxley, Aldous

Ibsen, Henrik

The Irish Players

James, Henry

Johnson, Samuel


Box 9 Kipling, Rudyard

Lamartine, Alphonse de

Lamb, Charles

Landor, Walter Savage

Lang, Andrew

Lawrence, D.H.

Lee, Vernon

Lemaitre, Jules

Lipscomb, William Percy


Louÿs, Pierre

Lucas, Edward Verrall

Lucas, F. L.

Lytton, Bulwer

Mackenzie, Ronald

Maeterlinck, Maurice

Marillier, Christabel

Martinez Sierra, Gregorio

Masculine & Feminine

Masefield, John

Maugham, Somerset

Maurois, Andre


Merezhkovsky, Dmitry Sergeyevich

Meredith, George

Merrick, Hope

Milton, John

Montaigne, Michel de

Moore, George

Munro, Charles Kirkpatrick

Musset, Alfred de


Napoleon I

New Statesman

Nichols, Robert

Nicolson, Sir Arthur

Nietzsche, Friedrich

The Nineteen-Twenties


The Novel

Obey, Andre

Obscenity and the Law

O'Casey, Sean

Old Age

O'Neill, Eugene

Order of Merit

Ould, Hermon

Oxford, Lord


Paley, Arthur

Parnell, Charles Stuart

Peacock, Thomas Love


Penn-Smith, Frank

Pepys, Samuel



Pinero, Arthur

Pirandello, Luigi

Pixerecourt, Guilbert de


Poe, Edgar Allan


Pope, Alexander

Portraits and Criticism

Powys, Llewelyn

Priestley, J.B.

Prince, F.T.

Proust, Marcel

Psychology and psychoanalysis

Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeevich

Box 10 Rabelais, Francois

Reason and common sense


Renan, Ernest

Richardson and Proust

Ricketts, Charles

Ritchie, Arthur

Robespierre, Maximilien

Robinson, Lennox


Roseberry, Lord

Rossetti family

Rothschild, Henri de

Rousseau, Jean Jacques

Ruskin, John

Russian literature,

Russian stories

Saintsbury, George

Sala, George Augustus

Sanger, Lord George

Santayana, George

Savoir, Alfred

Schopenhauer, Arthur

Scott, Sir Walter

Shakespeare, William

Shaw, George Bernard

Sheppard, Jack

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley

Sherwood, Robert Emmet

Short stories,

Sidney, Sir Philip

Sign of the World's End

Simenon, Georges

Sitwell, Osbert

Sitwell, Edith

Smith, Sydney

Social Distinctions in the Past



Box 11 Stael, Madame de

Statues and Tailors

Stein, Gertrude


Stephen, Leslie

Sterne, Laurence

Stevenson, Robert Louis

Strachey, Lytton

Strindberg, August


Sudermann, Hermann


Surtees, Robert Smith

Swift, Jonathan

Swinburne, Algernon Charles

Symons, Arthur

Synge, John Millington


Talleyrand-Perigord, Charles

Taylor, Jeremy


Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, baron

Tetrazzini, Luisa

Thackeray, William Makepeace

Theatre Galley

Thompson, Francis

To a Day Dreamer

Toller, Ernst

Tolstoy, Alexei

Toynbee, William



Travel books

Tree, Sir Herbert

Trelawny, Edward John

Trevelyan, George Macaulay

Treves, Sir Frederick

Trollope, Anthony

Turgenev, Ivan Sergeevich

Van Gogh, Vincent

Verlaine, Paul

Verne, Jules

Vildrac, Charles

Vinci, Leonardo da


Wallace, Edgar

Walpole, Horace

Walpole, Hugh

Walpole, Robert

Walters, [Miss]

War books

Watson, Sir William

Webb, Beatrice

Webling, Archie Frederic

Webster, John

Wellington, Arthur Wellesley

Wells, H.G.

Wharton, Edith

White, Gilbert

Whitman, Walt

Wilde, Oscar

Wilder, Thornton

Williams, Emlyn

Wilson, Harriette

Winter, Keith

The Wonder Zoo

Woolf, Virginia



Wyatt, Thomas

Yeats, Jack Butler

Yeats, William Butler

Zangwill, Israel

Zweig, Stefan

Box 12
Folder 1-3

Unidentified writings and miscellaneous pages

Folder 4-11 14 Notebooks

Folder 12-18 Alphabetical and chronological lists of articles including those written for Eyewitness, 1911-1912,  New Statesman, 1913-1928 , The Sunday Times, 1928-1952

Folder 19-26 Tear sheets of articles written by Desmond from the following newspapers/magazines: Empire Review, The Eyewitness, The Listener, The New Statesman, 1905-1941,  and The New Witness

Box 13
Folder 1-11

Tear sheets from the series "The World of Books" in The Sunday Times, 1928-1952

Four scrapbooks containing clippings for the series "The World of Books" in The Sunday Times: 1938, 1939, 1949/50, March 1950 to May 1952

Folder 12 Tear sheets and clippings from other magazines and newspapers

Folder 13 Tear sheets from Live and Letters

Subseries: Box 13 Writings by Molly MacCarthy

Folder 14 Notes on Bloomsbury

Folder 15 A Pier and A Band (contract only)

Folder 16 Retrospect, Sept. 1939-Feb.1941 

Folder 17 Miscellaneous pages

Subseries: Box 13 Writings by Others

Folder 18 British Orchids, "...with love from Jocelyn [Brooke], Christmas 1950  "First Published 1917"
  • "A correspondent..." Article about Theodore Llewelyn Davies
  • 'Esseta Emar [poem], Sept. 1914
  • Extracts from Mr. Punch's History of Modern England, Vol. IV, by Charles L. Graves

Folder 19 The Garden of Delights, poem by Ursula (Lock) Vaughan Williams
  • The Hound of Heaven, by Betsy Graves Reyneau
  • The Last of Miss Vellum, by ?
  • A Note on Desmond MacCarthy, by Jocelyn Brooke
  • Note on Falstaff's Hallucinations, by Sydney J. Cole, Feb. 1944
  • The Real Tripitaka, by Arthur Waley
  • Resolution passed at the Congress of Intellectuals in Wroclaw

Folder 20 Clippings and tear sheets of articles about Desmond

Folder 21-24 Reviews of Desmond's books: Criticism, Experience, Life and Letters, and Portraits

Folder 14 Miscellaneous clippings and tear sheets

Series: Box 14 Miscellaneous

Subseries: Box 14 Desmond

Folder 5-6 Autobiographical notes - loose pages and notebook

Folder 7-8 British Broadcasting Corporation, materials for Literary Advisory Committee and misc. related papers

Folder 9-10 Calendars: 1938,  1943,  1945,  1946,  1948,  1950,  1951

Folder 11 Catalogue of books from the Library of Criticism and English Literature of the late Sir Desmond MacCarthy, on sale by James Bain Limited... 1953. 

Printed. 2 copies

Folder 12 Diary, 1900

Folder 13 School reports, 1885 - 1897

Folder 14 Travel notes, 1902

Folder 15 Miscellany

Subseries: Box 14 Molly

Folder 16 Address book, 1931 

Folder 17 Book of families

Made for Michael MacCarthy by his mother, Molly MacCarthy in December 1945; and list of visitors from 1942-1952

Folder 18 Calendars: 1948,  1952 

Folder 19-21 Diaries: 1896,  1903,  1907,  1920

Folder 22 Cottage Garden diary: Aug. 1898-Nov. 1916

Folder 23 Miscellany

Subseries: Box 14 MacCarthy family

Includes a list of birthdays, list of investments, and other financialpapers

Subseries: Box 14 Warre-Cornish family

Includes a diary dated 1867, talks given to Eton students (1877-1878) and other writings by Molly's father, Francis. There are school reports for her brothers Francis, Gerald and Hubert, and a journal dated June 1884 written by Hubert's wife, Laurencina (Meinertzhagen) Warre-Cornish as well as other family papers.

Subseries: Box 14
Folder 31-32


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