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Papers of Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

Call Number: MS 24


Collection of letters received by Anglo-Irish poet Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy. The collection also contains correspondence between individuals surrounding O'Shaughnessy; some literary texts by O'Shaughnessy and others; photographs and some sketches found in letters; and other related materials. Primarily literary and artistic subjects.


  • 1832-1906 or later


Language of Materials

Primarily in English; some letters in French.

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.


.25 Linear Feet (1 document case containing 151 items)

Physical Location

MS 24

Other Finding Aids

See the attached pdf for a detailed item list:

Custodial History

After O'Shaughnessy's death in 1881, his cousin and literary executor Alfred W. Newport Deacon (1847-1915) seems to have added to the collection letters addressed to himself (some concerning O'Shaughnessy, some not), and 3 letters by O'Shaughnessy. He annotated some of the letters and some of the album sheets with identifications.

John Westland Marston (1819-1890) was a blank-verse dramatist moving in London literary circles. His daughter Eleanor Marston (died 1879) appears to have kept an album of letters received by Marston from notable English, French, and American authors and actors. In 1873 Eleanor married A.W.E. O'Shaughnessy, who worked for the British Museum of Natural History as a herpetologist under the protection of the novelist Bulwer-Lytton (1st Baron Lytton): O'Shaughnessy's maternal aunt was Lytton's mistress. O'Shaughnessy moved in London and Parisian literary and artistic circles, and Eleanor seems to have added his incoming correspondence to her album.

By the time KU Libraries' Special Collections Department acquired the contents of the album from Maggs in 1956, it had been disbound and the letters cut out (many still show signs of having been mounted on coloured paper). Most annotations were lost in this process; and the album may have contained more (or less) than the present collection.

Around 1962, Special Collections bought and added 1 letter by O'Shaughnessy. In 1963, O'Shaughnessy's literary texts were added from the O'Hegarty acquisition; in 1989, 4 letters and a contract by O'Shaughnessy were added from the Paden acquisition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

September 27, 1956 Maggs (Ley); O'Hegarty; Paden.

Guide to the Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy Collection
Papers of Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy
Finding aid prepared by alh, January 24, 1989. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2005.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Papers of Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy, MS 24, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States