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John Lehmann Papers

Identifier: 1984-002

This collection contains autograph manuscripts, typescripts, and galley proofs of John Lehmann's English Poets of the First World War, Three Literary Friendships, book reviews for the London Sunday Telegraph, and other writings.


  • 1981-1984


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Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


1.00 linear feet

Biographical Information:

(Rudolph) John Frederick Lehmann, was born on June 2, 1907, at Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, England. Lehmann was educated at Eton and studied history and modern languages at Trinity College, Cambridge. There his close friendship with Julian Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf, led to his involvement with the Bloomsbury circle. By 1931, he was working at the Hogarth Press, owned by Woolf and her husband, Leonard. Hogarth Press published his first volume of poems, A Garden Revisited (1931). He briefly left publishing and lived for a time in Austria and the U.S.S.R. as a poet and a journalist prior to the start of World War II.

His first periodical, New Writing, appeared in 1935, and by 1940 the series reached a broad audience both in Britain and on the front lines of World War II. Formatted to fit into the side pockets of combat trousers, it averaged monthly sales of up to 75,000.

Lehmann returned to Hogarth Press in 1938 as a partner and general manager and worked as editor of several anthologies showcasing the works of promising new writers. In 1946 Lehmann established his own publishing company, John Lehmann Limited. After the demise of Lehmann Ltd., he founded and edited London Magazine. He relinquished control over the periodical in 1961 and subsequently wrote several biographies, including "Rupert Brooke: His Life and His Legend" and "Thrown to the Woolfs: Leonard and Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press," and three autobiographies which were collected, revised, and condensed into the book "In My Own Time: Memoirs of a Literary Life." Lehmann also wrote several volumes of poetry, including "A Garden Revisited and Other Poems" and "Collected Poems, 1930-1963," and the novels "Evil Was Abroad" and "In a Purely Pagan Sense."

He frequently lectured in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After a long illness and unsuccessful hip operations severely limited his mobility, John Lehmann died on April 7, 1987. The New York Times Book Review called Lehmann "the greatest British literary editor of his time. . . . There is scarcely a writer [of his generation] in Britain . . . who hasn't at one time or other been grateful for his passionate scrutiny."

Acquisition Information:

This collection was purchased from Bertram Rota, Booksellers, in July 1984.

Related Materials:

Princeton University's Rare Books and Special Collections holds another collection of Lehmann Family Papers. Information available at


Other Information:

Uploaded to TARO, 2006.

Additional information may be found at

Guide to the John Lehmann Papers
Rebecca Russell
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA