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Collection Overview

Fitch, Noël Riley
Noël Riley Fitch Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1858-2018 (mostly 1965-1995)
41 boxes, 2 items, and 19.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-38; 12A; B-001887; B-001888


Consists of the writings, correspondence, interviews, printed works, and other additional papers of the American educator and author Noël Riley Fitch (1937- ). Also included are a selection of Sylvia Beach papers that Fitch consulted for her book Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties (1983).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This collection primarily consists of papers of Noël Riley Fitch relating to her two books Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties(1983) and Walks in Hemingway's Paris: A Guide for the Literary Traveler(1990), as well as her thesis, dissertation, and other writings about Sylvia Beach (1887-1962), the American proprietress of the bookshop Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France. Included are research files, notes, typescripts, and galleys for Fitch's biography of Beach; correspondence and transcripts of interviews with former friends and associates of Beach, such as Berenice Abbott, Morrill Cody, Malcolm Cowley, Janet Flanner, Marcelle Fournier, Maurice Saillet, and others; correspondence with Richard McDougall, the poet and writer on the life of Adrienne Monnier, and typed copies of McDougall's A Selection of Poems(1957); as well as audiotapes (1969-1982) of Fitch's interviews with Elizabeth Bishop, Frederic Dennis, Helen Eddy, Marthiel Mathews, François Valéry, Priscilla Veitch, and others reminiscing about Beach and Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. There are also notes, manuscript drafts, and galleys of Fitch's Walks in Hemingway's Paris: A Guide for the Literary Traveler, and a cassette tape of an interview with Dutch journalists about the book and Ernest Hemingway (1990). Furthermore, the collection includes articles and book reviews concerning Djuna Barnes; assorted articles and lectures by Fitch; a copy of Lisa MacFarlane's Princeton University thesis on Sylvia Beach entitled "For Who is Silvier" (1979); four unpublished writings by Fitch (1988); additional correspondence between Fitch and her literary agents, friends, and fans primarily relating to Fitch's books concerning Lost Generation authors; and a photograph of photographs hanging in Shakespeare and Company.

The original papers of Sylvia Beach include letters by Beach to her parents and sisters (1898-1952); letters by other family members and friends (1858-1954); a photograph album showing Sylvia and Holly Beach in Italy and Serbia (1917-1920); scrapbook pages of photographs and memorabilia (ca.1932-1949); a typescript draft, with autograph corrections (removed from Fitch's research files), and revised galleys for Beach's book Shakespeare and Company(1959); reviews of the book; cassette tapes of Beach's interview with Jackson Mathews for the Kenyon Review (1960); a scrapbook of obituaries(1962); letters sent to Holly Beach (Mrs. Frederic Dennis) (1962-1964); and correspondence regarding Sylvia Beach's estate (1962-1962).

An additional accession consists of several typescript versions of "Voyage to Ithaca: William Carlos Williams in Paris," with holograph corrections, annotations, and additions by Fitch; and correspondence with Else Albrecht-Carrie, Donald Gallup, James Laughlin, Marilyn V. Schuler, Emily Wallace, and Mrs. William Carlos Williams, regarding the above manuscript, which was published in the Princeton University Library Chronicle (spring 1979).

Collection Creator Biography:

Fitch, Noël Riley

Noël Riley Fitch was born on December 24, 1937, in New Haven, Connecticut, and educated at Northwest Nazarene College (B.A. 1959) and Washington State University (M.A. 1965 and Ph.D. 1969). She was a professor of literature from 1971 to1987, and chair of the department of literature and modern languages from 1982 to 1985 at Point Loma College. Currently Fitch lectures at both the University of Southern California and the American University of Paris. She has written several biographies of influential women and is a frequent contributor of articles to journals and periodicals. Most of Fitch's writings reflect her fascination with American expatriate writers in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, and include the following: Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties(1983), Literary Cafés of Paris(1989), Walks in Hemingway's Paris: A Guide for the Literary Traveler(1990), and Anaïs: The Erotic Life of Anaïs Nin(1993). Her most recent work is Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child(1997).


Location of Printed Books Removed for Cataloging

Ex Balzac: La Femme de Trente Ans(1912), front cover torn off, inscribed "To Sylvia with love from Mother, Christmas 1913."

Ex Balzac: Ursule Mirouët(1913), front cover torn torn off, inscribed "Eleanor Beach from Sylvester, Christmas 1913, Princeton."

Ex Balzac: La Fausse Maitresse(1912), poor condition, signed "Sylvia Beach, Princeton, 1915."

Ex Beckett, Samuel and others: Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress(London: Faber and Faber, 1961), inscribed "For Holly with the ex-publishers love, Sylvia, February 1962."

Ex Beach Comité Walt Whitman de Paris: "Exposition Walt Whitman, du 20 avril au 20 juin 1926" (Paris: Shakespeare and Co., 1926).

Ex Mervine, William M.: Harris, Dunlop, Valentine and Allied Families: Compiled for Mary (Harris) Morris(Philadelphia: Edward S. Paret Co., printed for private circulation only, 1920), copy no. 21 of 100 printed; [Mary (Harris) Morris was SB's aunt, from the library of Holly Beach Dennis].

Ex Archives Record of the Class of Eighteen Hundred and Seventy-Six of Princeton College, No. V. 1876-1891 (Rev. Sylvester W. Beach).

Archives Record of the Class of Eighteen Hundred and Seventy-Six of Princeton University, No. VII. 1876-1901 (Rev. Sylvester W. Beach).

Ex Weld, John: Fly Away Home(Santa Barbara: Mission Pub., 1991), presentation copy to NRF by the author.

Collection History


Gift of Noël Riley Fitch in several installments from 1998-2019 .


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Barbara Volz in 1998. Finding aid written by Barabara Voz in 1998, with additions by Karla J. Vecchia in 2002.

Materials donated after the initial accessions were added to the Additional Papers series and are minimally processed.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Noël Riley Fitch Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-38; 12A; B-001887; B-001888

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Some of the manuscripts and notes found in draft form in the collection came to print in the following publications: Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties(New York: W. W. Norton, 1983), and Walks in Hemingway's Paris: A Guide for the Literary Traveler(New York: St. Martins, 1990) by Noël Riley Fitch; and Shakespeare and Company (London: Faber and Faber, 1959) by Sylvia Beach.

Related Materials

Researchers working with the papers of Noël Riley Fitch Papers may also be interested to consult the Sylvia Beach Papers (C0108).

Subject Terms:
Authors, American–20th century–Correspondence.
Authors, American–20th century–Interviews.
Authors, American–20th century–Manuscripts.
Authors, French–20th century–Correspondence.
Authors, French–20th century–Interviews.
Booksellers and bookselling–France–Paris–20th century–Biography.
Booksellers and bookselling–France–Paris–20th century–Interviews.
Bookstores–France–Paris–20th century.
Literary landmarks–France–Paris–20th century.
Poets, American–20th century–Correspondence.
Poets, American–20th century–Manuscripts.
Genre Terms:
Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France)
Beach, Sylvia
Beach, Sylvia
Beach, Sylvia
Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961. (1899-1961)
McDougall, Richard
Paris (France)–20th century–Intellectual life.