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Sidney Lanier Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Title: Sidney Lanier Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1859-1949
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Contains published material and a small amount of miscellany about the American poet and musician. Some letters by Lanier himself.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Sidney Lanier (1842-1881) was an American poet and musician. He was a soldier in the Confederate army, a lawyer and a teacher before beginning to write poetry, and eventually joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University where he lectured on the English novelists and Elizabethan and Anglo-Saxon poets. He took up the flute in the late 1870s or early 1880s, and for a time played with the Peabody Orchestra in Baltimore, Maryland. He was known for combining music and poetry in a proselike form known as logaoedic verse.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Sidney Lanier Collection consists of correspondence, published material, and a small amount of miscellany. Included are several copies of a musical piece entitled "The Grasshopper: A Tragic Cantata." The connection of this piece to Lanier is unknown, as he is not listed as either the composer or the lyricist. The collection was likely accumulated by John S. Mayfield.

Correspondence contains outgoing letters from Lanier.

Published material consists of items about Lanier (nothing by him).

Miscellaneous consists of items about the American poet and musician, including correspondence between John S. Mayfield and others.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is in chronological order. Published material is alphabetical by type of material. Miscellaneous correspondence is arranged chronologically and the printing plates are in no particular order.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has a number of published works by and about Sidney Lanier in both our regular and Rare Books holdings. Please search the Classic Catalog for these related materials.

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Subject Headings


Emmett, Chris, 1886-1971 -- The general and the poet.
Beeson, Leola Selman -- Sidney Lanier at Oglethorpe University.
Johnston, Albert Sidney, 1803-1862.
Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881.
Mayfield, John S., 1904-1983 -- Sidney Lanier in Texas.
Mayfield, John S., 1904-1983 -- Sidney Lanier's immoral bird.
Mayfield, John S., 1904-1983 -- Some new facts concerning Sidney Lanier in Florida.
Randolph, Innes, 1837-1887 -- The grasshopper: a tragic cantata.


American poetry -- 19th century.
American poetry -- Southern States.


Georgia -- Intellectual life -- 19th century.

Genres and Forms

Printing plates.
Sheet music.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Sidney Lanier Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information


Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 11 Oct 2011
Revision history: 8 May 2019 - added Lanier and Mayfield letters (1936-1938, 1949, undated) (KD)

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Box 1 from Lanier 1859-1880
Published material
Box 1 The general and the poet, Chris Emmett 1940 - comparative biographical sketches of Sidney Lanier and General Albert Sidney Johnston; signed and inscribed to John S. Mayfield
Box 1 The grasshopper: a tragic cantata, Innes Randolph 1878 - multiple copies, various sizes and colors
Box 1 Sidney Lanier's immoral bird, John S. Mayfield May-June 1935 - reprint from The American Book Collector (3 copies)
Box 1 Sidney Lanier at Oglethorpe University, Leola Selman Beeson 1936 - signed and inscribed to John S. Mayfield
Box 1 Sidney Lanier in Texas, John S. Mayfield 1932 (2 copies)
Box 1 Some new facts concerning Sidney Lanier in Florida, John S. Mayfield Nov 1935 - reprint from The Johns Hopkins Alumni Magazine
Box 1 Correspondence 1935-1949, undated - Mayfield and publishers, some of the correspondence refers to letters from Lanier found in this collection
Box 1 Printing plates - small copper plates, backed with wood blocks; portrait of Lanier with dates (5 items)

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