University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Jack Butler Yeats Correspondence

1934 - 1955

Manuscript Collection Number: 150
Accessioned: Purchase, March 1984.
Extent: 64 items ( .1 linear ft.).
Content: Correspondence and documents.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Rvised August 1992 by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents


Biographical Note

Irish painter and illustrator, Jack B. Yeats, was born August 29, 1871, in London, England. He was the son of John Butler Yeats, a successful portrait painter, and younger brother of the distinguished Irish poet, William Butler Yeats.

In 1888 he attended the Westminster School of Art and later developed a career as a successful illustrator. His work appeared in such publications as Boy's Own Paper, Judy, and Vegetarian. He also illustrated a large number of broadsheets, many of which were published by Cuala Press, a small enterprise run by his sisters Elizabeth and Lily Yeats. In 1912 Yeats' drawings and paintings of Life in the West of Ireland were published by Maunsel.

Until about 1910 Yeats worked mainly as an illustrator and with watercolors; then he began to focus on oil painting. In 1913 five of Yeats' oil paintings were shown in the famous Armory exhibition in New York City. Following this showing Yeats concentrated on oil paintings depicting the life and landscapes of Ireland, as well as scenes of Celtic myths. His paintings contributed to the upsurge of nationalist feeling in the arts that followed the winning of Irish independence.

As a writer Jack B. Yeats contributed for many years to the British magazine, Punch, under the pseudonym, "W. Bird." Books written and illustrated by Yeats include: A Little Fleet (1909), Sligo (1930), The Amaranthers (1936), and La la Noo (1943).

Sources:

Chilvers, Ian and Harold Osborne (eds.). The Oxford Dictionary of Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. p.545.

Drabble, Margaret (ed.). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Fifth edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985. p.1093.

Palmer, Helen M. and E.T. Williams (eds.). The Dictionary of National Biography, 1951-1960. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971. pp.1087-1088.


Related Collections

Ms 99     Miscellaneous Manuscripts
          F292  ALS (1930 Jun 16) from Yeats to Lady Gregory

          F348  8 letters and notes (1906-1920) from Yeats 
                to Elkin Matthews 


Ms 153    Cuala Press Collection
          Consists of a letter (1907) from Yeats to Mr. Mathews,
          bookplates autographed by Yeats, hand-colored cards and
          broadsides illustrated by Jack Yeats.   


Ms 212    Lennox Robinson Papers
          Consists of an ALS (1930 Sep 8) from Jack Yeats to
          Robinson, transcripts of 8 letters (1905-1919) from
          Yeats to John Quinn, and an introduction to the Jack
          Yeats chapter of the anthology being written by
          Robinson.

Scope and Content Note

The Jack Butler Yeats Correspondence is a collection of 51 letters from Yeats to Kilham Robarts and other members of the Society of Authors, with some copies of letters he had written to MacMillan & Co. and their responses to Yeats. Most of the copies are handwritten by Yeats. The letters and copies span the dates from 1934-1955.

Yeats' letters report his disputes with publishers over the American rights to Padraic Colum's The Big Tree of Bunlahy, for which Yeats provided the illustrations. The letters also discuss his own literary works, including The Amaranthers, The Charmed Life, and The Careless Flower; and the terms for the illustrations for the sequel to Patricia Lynch's The Turf Cutter's Donkey.

Also included in the correspondence as enclosures are copies of a "Memorandum of Agreement" between Jack B. Yeats and MacMillan & Co. and a copy of an "understanding" between the Society of Authors and MacMillan.

The letters are arranged in chronological order in eight folders.


Contents List

Folder -- Contents

F1   Correspondence, 1934 May-June

     1934 May 4     ALS to MacMillian & Co.       1 p

          May 10    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    enc: ALS from MacMillan to
                    Yeats (copy handwritten by
                    Yeats)                        1 p

          May 18    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          May 24    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    enc: ALS from MacMillan to
                    Yeats (copy handwritten by
                    Yeats)                        2 p

          May 30    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Jun 8     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Jun 20    ALS to Miss Patee (Children's
                    Book Dept. of MacMillan)      1 p
                    enc: ALS from Miss Patee to
                    Yeats (copy handwritten by 
                    Yeats)                        1 p

          Jun 25    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p


F2   Correspondence, 1934 July

     1934 Jul 3     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    encs: two ALSs from Yeats to
                    MacMillan and two ALSs from
                    MacMillan to Yeats (all 
                    copies handwritten by Yeats)  4 p

          Jul 13    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Jul 17    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    enc: TLS (c) from MacMillan
                    to Yeats                      3 p

          Jul 17    ALS to MacMillan & Co.        1 p

          Jul 19    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    enc: TL (c) from Brett to
                    Yeats                         1 p

          Jul 25    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    enc: Copy of document,
                    "Understanding" between the
                    Society of Authors and 
                    MacMillan & Co. signed by
                    Yeats                         1 p



F3   Correspondence, 1934 Aug-Dec

     1934 Aug 13    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Aug 15    "Memorandum of Agreement"
                    between Yeats and MacMillan
                    concerning The Big Tree of
                    Bunlahy, signed by Yeats      2 p

          Aug 15    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Aug 17    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Sep 17    ALS to Miss Bromley           1 p

          Sep 30    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Dec 30    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p


F4   Correspondence, 1935 Apr-Oct

     1935 Apr 4     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    enc: ALS from Raymond
                    Crossett (Curtis Brown Ltd)
                    to Yeats (copy handwritten
                    by Yeats)                     1 p

          Jun 5     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Jun 6     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Jun 12    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Sep 20    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Oct 20    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p


F5   Correspondence, 1936-1937

     1936 May 4     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Oct 14    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Nov 9     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

     1937 Aug 13    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          Aug 21    ALS to "Dear Sir"             1 p

          Oct 22    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p
                    enc: ALS from John Deltmers
                    to Yeats (copy handwritten
                    by Yeats)                     1 p




F6   Correspondence, 1938-1941

     1938 Jan 19    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

     1939 Jan 7     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

     1940 May 11    ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

     1941 May 6     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

          May 24    ALS to Mr. Griffin            2 p

          Jun 30    ALS to Mr. Griffin            1 p

          Jul 14    ALS to Mr. Griffin            1 p


F7   Correspondence, 1942-1948

     1942 Feb 5     ALS to Mr. Robarts            1 p

     1945 Sep 25    ALS to "Dear Sir" (someone
                    from the Society of Authors)  2 p

     1948 May 27    ALS to Miss Barber            1 p

          Jun 7     ALS to Miss Barber            2 p

          Jun 19    ALS to Miss Barber            1 p
                    enc: TLS (c) from Miss
                    Barber to Yeats               1 p

          Aug 10    ALS to Miss Barber            1 p


F8   Correspondence, 1950-1955

     1950 Jun 22    ALS to Miss Barber            2 p

          Jul 14    ALS to Miss Barber            1 p

     1954 Sep 18    ALS to Miss Barber            1 p

     1955 Nov 15    ALS to Miss Barber            1 p


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