Irish Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library: W. B. Yeats Collection

This guide will help you navigate the wealth of print and manuscript materials related to Irish history, culture, and literature held at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

W. B. Yeats Collection

In 1955 the Library purchased from P. S. O'Hegarty, former Secretary of the Irish Post Office, one of the premier collections of William Butler Yeats. O'Hegarty, a one-time member of several revolutionary groups, bookseller, historian, bibliographer and editor, was well-acquainted with most of the legendary figures of the Irish literary renaissance, Yeats and his family, Synge, Lady Gregory, and the Abbey Theatre group, and this acquaintance produced a matchless opportunity for the collection of their works as they appeared.

The William Butler Yeats collection is a remarkably rich one. It contains:W. B. Yeats. Poems (1895). Call number: Yeats Y19

  • all of Yeats' works in first edition except the very scarce Mosada (1886) and The Hour-Glass (1903), with many later and variant editions and printings
  • books edited or containing contributions by Yeats
  • several score of books from his personal library (including copies of his own works with his annotations) or having close association in one way or another with the Yeats family
  • runs of periodicals with which he was associated, such as Samhain, The Arrow, Shanachie, and Dana
  • many single issues of periodicals in which material by or about Yeats appeared, including particularly elusive journals such as the Kilkenny Monitor and the Irish Home Reading Magazine
  • even the published Debates of the Irish Parliament in which Yeats was a Senator from the beginning

Left: Poems. W. B. Yeats. London: T.F. Unwin, 1895.  Call Number: Yeats Y19

In addition to this collection of print materials, the library also holds a separate collection of Yeats Family Correspondence (MS 25). This small collection consists primarily of correspondence, but also contains manuscripts, ephemera and other papers by various members of the Yeats family: Elizabeth Corbet Yeats ("Lolly"), 1868-1940; Jack Butler Yeats, 1871-1957; John Butler Yeats, 1839-1922; Susan Yeats ("Lily"), 1866-1949; William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939; and George Hyde-Lees Yeats (wife of W. B. Yeats), 1892-1968.  For more information, please consult the online finding aid available at

YEATS INSCRIPTIONS: For a PDF list of known inscriptions by W. B. Yeats in the volumes in this collection, please click here.


  • To browse the catalog records for the volumes in the W. B. Yeats Collection, select the option "left-anchored call number" from the search settings in the KU library online catalog and enter "Yeats
  • You may then sort the results by date, title, or author.
  • Note: There were some bibliographic errors in converting the old card catalog cards for this collection to online catalog records.  We hope to correct these in the near future, but in the meantime, you may find it helpful to consult the card catalog under the author heading, "Yeats, W. B."  To do so, please contact a special collections librarian.

Subject Guide

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Elspeth Healey