Donald Gordon Collection on Yeats

Donald J. Gordon (1915-1977) was Professor of English at the University of Reading.


W B Yeats: Images of a Poet Photographic Collection

Full blue publisher's cloth with cover design stamped in gilt : binding design by Althea Gyles.
A copy of ‘The secret rose’ by W. B. Yeats [RESERVE–821.912-YEA]
Reference: MS 5299           Date: 1961           Extent: 13 boxes

Images used in the W B Yeats Images of a Poet exhibition, displayed during 1961 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and The Building Centre, Dublin.  The collection also includes further images collected, as part of the research that took place in curating the exhibition.

The exhibition built on a previous photographic exhibition, entitled I, The Poet William Yeats, curated by Professor D. J. Gordon at the University of Reading in 1957.  Professor Gordon contributed his photographs and along with Ian Fletcher, also of the University of Reading, wrote the greater part of the exhibition catalogue for the 1961 exhibition.


Please note the collection is stored offsite, please contact us at least five working days in advance of your visit.


Reference: DONALD GORDON COLLECTION           Date: 1880s-1960s           Extent: ca. 500 volumes

The collection of Professor Donald Gordon includes numerous editions of Yeats’ literary works comprising all genres, from poetry to theatre, from stories and essays to autobiographical works, including some of his correspondence. The collection is very strong on Irish theatre, particularly plays and drama by Yeats and his contemporaries, who were associated with the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, e.g. Lady Gregory, John M. Synge, Padraic Colum, Katharine Tynan etc. Many of the volumes have the imprint of Dolmen Press, Talbot Press or Maunsel & Co., if published in Dublin, or T. Fisher Unwin, Elkin Mathews or G. Allen and Unwin, if published in London. Charles Elkin Mathews lived next door to the Yeats’ family in North London. Several of Yeats publications contain illustrations by his younger brother Jack Butler Yeats and some have bindings designed by Althea Gyles. A few items bear the imprint of the Cuala Press, the private press set up by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats in 1908. 

The collection also includes literary criticism about Yeats and his influence, sometimes from scholarly journals; political essays and biographical material focusing on the Irish question, the Easter Rising of 1916, Irish Nationalist and independence movements, which Yeats supported; critical works about the Celtic Revival and Irish playwrights of the early 20th century.  

Among the volumes collected by Prof. Donald Gordon there is one that belonged to Dora Carrington, one from the library of E.M. Forster, one bearing Elizabeth Yeats’ engraved bookplate, and others with authors’ inscriptions.