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Literary Magazine Collection Sold To Yale

April 11, 1987

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Scholars were assured continued access to papers from a leading 1920s literary magazine after owners of the rich collection sold it to Yale University rather than auction it piecemeal to private buyers.

The Dial magazine papers, which included letters and manuscripts from such writers as D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce and Ezra Pound, were acquired Friday by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which had the documents on loan since 1950.

Sotheby’s, the New York auction house charged with selling the papers, did not disclose the sale price. Scholars estimated the collection was worth at least $1 million.

The papers were part of the estate of The Dial’s co-owner and editor, Scofield Thayer, who died in 1982. The New York-based magazine folded in 1929, 10 years after Thayer and Dr. James Sibley Watson Jr. purchased and revived it.

Thayer’s four heirs originally intended to split the collection and auction parts separately in June, but protests by scholars who feared they wouldn’t be able to use the documents for research led to a change of plans.

David Redden, director of books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s, would not disclose the number of bidders. He said there was ″some considerable interest, but at the end of the day Yale was the obvious choice.″

The collection was purchased with funds from Yale and the Beinecke Foundation, which was established by the Edwin Beinecke family.

Beinecke director Ralph Franklin said in a statement that he was ″pleased that integrity of those important materials would be preserved.″

John R. Robinson, president of the Beinecke Foundation, called the papers ″one of the finest and most important collections of American literary documents of the 20th century that should be preserved intact at Yale.″

The Dial, in its heyday in the 1920s, ″established modernism. It put it into the mainstream,″ said writer Dale Davis, executive director of the New York State Literary Center.

Among the papers are letters by Sigmund Freud, William Butler Yeats, George Santayana and H.L. Mencken. There are also manuscripts of poems by T.S. Eliot and short stories by Lawrence, said Donald Gallup, retired curator of Beincke’s American literature collection.

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