Detail from 'Novel on Yellow Paper' by Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith collections

Stevie Smith book collection

The University purchased the Stevie Smith book collection (ref U SSC) at auction in 1979. This includes numerous books by and about her including many first editions. The collection also features over 100 newspaper and periodicals containing poems, articles, articles and reviews by Stevie Smith and reviews of her work, obituaries and other material. 

In addition to this collection the History Centre also houses:

Novel on Yellow Paper

The University had begun to negotiate with Stevie Smith to purchase the original typescript version of Novel on Yellow Paper in 1970 but were not concluded until May 1972 a year after her death. The text (ref U DP/156) contains manuscript corrections for the printer and 32 pages of an earlier version.

This collection also includes a large roller blind (measuring 7 ft by 6 ft) on which she wrote a well-known stanza by Emperor Hadrian, beginning ‘Animula vagula blandula’. This item (ref U DP/156/3) , purchased in 1980, having originally hung at the home of her friend Ronald Orr Ewing and Smith is said to have written the poem for him at a party in 1969.


There are 13 drawings (ref U DP/209) by Stevie Smith composed as illustrations for poems first published in 'The Frog Prince', published in 1966.


There are also a number of recordings of Stevie Smith reading her poems including 3 tapes in the British Council series ‘The poet speaks’ and seven letters to her friend Ladislav Horvat in 1957 (ref U DP/197).

Online catalogue

You can view both a summary of the collection and a PDF version of the catalogue on our online catalogue;

U DP/156 - collection summary, catalogue (PDF format) 
U DP/197 - collection summary, catalogue (PDF format)
U DP/209 - collection summarycatalogue (PDF format) 
U SSC - collection summarycatalogue (PDF format)

A bibliography of works by and about Stevie Smith is also available.