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Collection Overview

Symons, A.J.A. (Alphonse James Albert), 1900-1941
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
A. J. A. Symons collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1910-1993 (mostly 1910-1929)
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


Consists of selected manuscripts, correspondence, and documents of the twentieth-century British biographer and bibliophile A. J. A. Symons.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a small number of selected manuscripts, correspondence and documents of the British biographer and bibliophile A. J. A. Symons, chiefly related to Symons's work on the "Nineties," which was a bibliography (with biographies) of the writers and book illustrators of the eighteen-nineties. There are manuscript notes as well as two copies of a 14-page typescript of the 'Bibliographical Introduction', with holograph corrections and annotations by the author, and a typescript titled "On Youth." Correspondence of Symons includes two letters to Frederick Evans regarding his portraits of Aubrey Beardsley, and three letters to the poet John Gray.

Other related material includes two letters from M. Fisher to Symons' brother, the British poet, novelist, historian, and critic Julian Symons, and one letter to Julian Symons from the author Charles Derry. These letters mention A. J. A. Symons and his work. In addition, there are legal documents for the purchase of a boarding house for Julian Symons and his wife, Minnie Louisa Symons.

Collection Creator Biography:

Symons, A.J.A. (Alphonse James Albert), 1900-1941

A. J. A (Alphonse James Albert) Symons (1900-1941) was an English writer and biographer. In 1922, he founded the "First Edition Club" to display exhibitions of manuscripts. He completed his first biographical work, Emin, Governor of Equatoria, in 1928. Previously to that, he produced a bibliography of the first works of Irish poet William Butler Yeats, as well as an anthological work on 1890s authors, of which he was an authority. His most notable work, The Quest for Corvo, was published in 1934. After his death in 1941 he left several unfinished works, such as a biography of Oscar Wilde.

Collection History


Letters to Evans were purchased on January 22, 2002 .

Material related to the "Nineties" was purchased on July 15, 2002 .

Letters from Gray were purchased on March 14, 1970 . Various AM.

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on January 12, 2009. Finding aid written by Natalie Kim on February 10, 2009. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The 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:

A. J. A. Symons collection; 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:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1