Robert Payne Collection
Manuscript Collection 293

Scope and Content Note

The Robert Payne Manuscript Collection includes manuscripts, galleys, correspondence, documents, printed materials, memorabilia, music, drawings, still pictures, and moving picture film of Robert Payne. The collection spans the years 19?? to 1984, including the manuscript of the posthumously published The Dream and the Tomb: A History of the Crusades. The bulk of the collection dates from 19?? to 19??.

Of particular interest to scholars are the unpublished works of Robert Payne and his many drafts and revisions of both published and unpublished works, and the correspondence files.

The largest segment of the collection consists of published and unpublished manuscripts, including proposals for books, plays, poetry, anthologies, and films, which documents an extraordinary literary productivity in both literature, biography, and translation.

The second largest segment of the collection consists of correspondence. This is arranged in several series: literary and business correspondence by book or manuscript title, by publisher, and by name of the correspondent, and family correspondence. Especially significant are the many, frequent, and well-written letters that Payne exchanged with both of his parents over a long period of time. These document both his activities and his literary endeavors. The correspondence with his brother, Alan Payne, includes extensive discussions regarding Death is a Funny Thing: A Memoir, a eulogy to their parents.

Payne's many correspondents include: Djuna Barnes, Paul Bowles, George F. Butterick, Ann Fremantle, Indira Gandhi, Allen Ginsberg, Younghill Kang, André and Clara Malraux, Prince Michael of Greece, King Hussein, Charles Olson, Carlo Pedretti, Arthur Upham Pope, Sir Herbert Read, Muriel Rukeyser, Madame Sun Yat Sen, Tambimuttu, and Ruthven Todd.

A third segment of the collection consists of correspondence and materials relating to Payne's involvement with the international organization of writers, editors, and publishers, P.E.N., and Columbia University's Translation Center, and Payne's efforts as an organizer of the 1970 Translation Conference and as editor of its proceedings.

Family papers include diaries kept by Payne's father, Stephen, a naval construction engineer.