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John Cowper Powys Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: BEB
Date: 31 Oct 1973

Biographical History

John Cowper Powys (1872-1963) was an English essayist, novelist and poet.

Powys was born in Shirley, Derbyshire, England, on October 8, 1872. He received his education at Sherborne Preparatory School and later at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he earned his degreee in history.In 1896 and 1899, Powys published two volumes of poetry, Odes and Other Poems and Poems, respectively. Then, for several years he was primarily occupied with lecturing, first for the Oxford and Cambridge Extension, for whom he gave his first American lecture in 1910, and later on his own.

In 1915 his first novel, Wood and Stone, appeared. Two years later, his third volume of poetry, Mandragora, was published in America, followed by Samphire in 1922. From that point on his prolific output of essays, novels and poems continued until 1980, his eighty-eighth year.

John Cowper Powys married Margaret Alice Lyon on April 9, 1898, and they had one child, a son. Powys died June 17, 1963.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Cowper Powys Papers consist of correspondence, writings and memorabilia. The materials date from 1890-1972.

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically and includes letters to/from Powys as well as third-party correspondence discussing Powys.

Writings consists primarily of unpublished fragments and notebooks of essays, novels, plays, poems, and prefaces. Also included here are Powys' letters compiled by Penn Kime in book form, and a typescript of Llewelyn Powys' Swiss Essays.

Memorabilia contains newspaper clippings, two published pamphlets on John Cowper Powys and the Powys family, and a Powys family photograph album.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Writings are arranged first by type and then by title.


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.

Related Material

Other John Cowper Powys letters exist in the Eric Wilson Barker Papers and the Edmund B. Chaffee Papers, and in the papers of Professor A. E. Johnson in the Syracuse University Archives.

Subject Headings


Ackroyd, Graham.
Bason, Frederick T.
Denny, Norman, 1901-1982.
Grebenc, Lucile.
Kime, Warren Penn, 1919-
Lewin, George L.
Pollock, Laurence.
Powys, John Cowper, 1872-1963.
Richardson, Dorothy M. (Dorothy Miller), 1873-1957.
Sullivan, Asta Fleming.
Tackmark, Sven-Erik, 1916-
Tolchard, Clifford, 1908-


Authors, English.
English literature, 20th century.
Novelists, English.
Poets, English.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Photograph albums.
Scripts (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Cowper Powys Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Marian Powys Grey, 1964 and purchase, 1962-1973.

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