Guide to the Robin Waterfield Papers

Collection Title: Robin Waterfield Papers
Dates: 1941-1999
Identification: MS157
Creator: Waterfield, Robin E. (Robin Everard), 1914-2002
Extent: 2 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Robin (Robert Everard) Waterfield (1914-2002), worked for a series of publishers and booksellers early in his career, and in 1974 opened Robin Waterfield Ltd., an antiquarian bookshop.  Waterfield ran this bookshop until being forced to retire in 1980.  The Robin Waterfield Papers consist of correspondence, financial materials, drafts of poetry and other writings, illustrations, publicity materials, and photographs, and contains materials relating to Tambimuttu, Jane Williams, Stanley Revell, and T.S. Eliot.
Acquisition Information: Purchase
Conditions Governing Access: There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.
Repository: Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL,
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/spec
Email: special.collections@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3635

Biographical/Historical Information

Robin (Robert Everard) Waterfield (1914-2002), the son of a doctor in the Sudan medical service, was originally intended for a career in medicine.  After a failed attempt at a medical degree at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, Waterfield worked for a series of publishers and booksellers, including George Allen and Unwin, Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co. in Windsor, and Grafton's, opposite the British Museum.  During the Second World War, Waterfield was an anti-aircraft gunner, and later worked with Japanese diplomatic decrypts.  From 1951-1956 Waterfield and his second wife, Sophie Harper, ran a children's home at Mortimer, Berkshire.  In 1957 they became missionaries, and went to Iran to run a boys' hostel.  They did not return to England until 1973.  In 1974, he opened Robin Waterfield Ltd., an antiquarian bookshop, where he worked until being forced to retire in 1980.

Throughout his life, Waterfield was an active book dealer, publisher, and writer. 

He was a friend of the poet Tambimuttu, and served as associate editor for Tambimuttu's 1979 revival issue of Poetry London/Apple Magazine.  He was also a primary force behind 'Tambi's' memorial volume, Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds (1989), for which he wrote an introduction.  It was Waterfield that assessed the portion of Tambimuttu's estate that included his papers and printed materials after Tambi's death in 1983.

Waterfield was also close friends with the poet and writer Anne Ridler, wife of the Oxford printer Vivian Ridler, and T.S. Eliot's secretary at Faber & Faber.  It is probably through the Ridlers that Waterfield came into contact with Stanley Revell, who was widely believed to have amassed the best collection of T.S. Eliot first editions anywhere in the world.  Waterfield was the primary orchestrator of Revell's exhibition at St. Mary's, celebrating the centenary of Eliot's birth.  He also took charge of the disposition of Revell's book collection after his death, soon after the exhibit took place in 1988.

Scope and Content

The Robin Waterfield Papers consist of correspondence, financial materials, drafts of poetry and other writings, illustrations, publicity materials, and photographs.

Folders 1-8 contain Waterfield's correspondence with Tambimuttu and financial materials concerning the revival of Poetry London/Apple Magazine.

Folders 9-14 in Box 1 and 1-5 in Box 2 contain extensive Waterfield correspondence with Jane Williams and others, as well as other records concerning the compiling and publishing of the festschrift Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds.  This is following Tambi's death in 1983.

Folders 6-14 in Box 2 contain records concerning Waterfield's role with Stanley Revell in planning the centenary exhibit celebrating T.S. Eliot, held at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford, in May, 1988.  Revell was widely considered to have one of the more complete collections of Eliot books, and Waterfield played a key role in selecting books to exhibit, publishing a keepsake volume for the event, and selling portions of Revell's collection in order to fund the exhibit.  Information is also included here concerning Revell's death and the subsequent sale of his remaining collection.  Revell's will is contained in the correspondence section.

Folders 15-16 in Box 2 contain a small amount of personal letters and Christmas cards from Anne Ridler, with whom the Waterfields were close friends, as well as a copy of her book A Little Book of Modern Verse, with an introduction by Eliot.  Some letters, newsclippings, and a book from David and Judy Gascoyne are also included.

Subjects

Personal Name

Tambimuttu, 1915-

Waterfield, Robin E. (Robin Everard), 1914-2002

Subjects

Poetry, Modern--20th century


Container List / Contents

  • Tambimuttu--career, 1972-1983
    • Correspondence, contracts, & financial documents, 1972-1979Box 1, Folder 1
    • Correspondence, inventories for Lyrebird Press, Poetry London/Apple Magazine, 1973-1983Box 1, Folder 2
    • Drafts, "Main section", Poetry London/Apple Magazine, vol. 1, 1979Box 1, Folder 3
    • Drafts, "Apple section", Poetry London/Apple Magazine, vol. 1, 1979Box 1, Folder 4
    • Lists of contributors, Poetry London/Apple Magazine, vol. 1, 1979Box 1, Folder 5
    • Poetry London/Apple Magazine, vols. 1-2, 1979, 1982Box 1, Folder 6
    • Indian Arts Council materials, 1983Box 1, Folder 7
    • Other publicationsBox 1, Folder 8
  • Tambimuttu--festschrift, 1979-1998
    • Correspondence, 1983-1998Box 1, Folder 9
    • Contract, Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds, 1987Box 1, Folder 10
    • Tambimuttu estate, 1985Box 1, Folder 11
    • Lists of contributors, Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds, c. 1987Box 1, Folder 12
    • Drafts from contributors, A-K, Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds, c.1987Box 1, Folder 13
    • Drafts from contributors, L-Z and unknown, Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds, c. 1987Box 1, Folder 14
    • Introduction drafts, Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds, c. 1987Box 2, Folder 1
    • Illustrations, c. 1987Box 2, Folder 2
    • Publicity, c. 1987Box 2, Folder 3
    • Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds, monograph, 1989Box 2, Folder 4
    • Other publications, c. 1979Box 2, Folder 5
  • Stanley Revell, 1979-1988
    • Correspondence regarding collection and exhibit, 1979, 1988Box 2, Folder 6
    • Book selection and preparation for exhibit, c.1988Box 2, Folder 7
    • Speech at exhibit opening, 1988Box 2, Folder 8
    • Exhibit newsclippings, 1988Box 2, Folder 9
    • Exhibit programs and flyers, 1988Box 2, Folder 10
    • Not in Gallup, keepsake for exhibit, 1988Box 2, Folder 11
    • Requests and invoices for Not in Gallup, 1988Box 2, Folder 12
    • Revell memorial service and sale of book collection, 1988Box 2, Folder 13
    • Photographs, undatedBox 2, Folder 14
  • Personal, 1941-1999
    • Ridler, Anne, 1941, 1974-1987Box 2, Folder 15
    • Gascoyne, Judy and David, 1999Box 2, Folder 16