Date Published: 1914-1958
John Masefield (Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom) Collection of ephemera include;
• Signed mimeo or carbon copy typescript (ND circa 1914 presumed] of Masefield’s famous WWI historic and only war poem entitled “August, 1914”. It was the first poem to see print after war was declared. It’s a powerful, long and moving poem that connects seamlessly between the beauty of life in the Berkshire landscape and the sadness and tragedy of life in the trenches.
• Issue of Harper’s Weekly (12 September 1914) with the “August, 1914”poem. First American publication probably after the September 1 issue of The English Review.
• A Mainsail Haul (London: Elkin Mathews, 1913), 2nd ed. rev and enlarged, with a signed letter/card thanking Miss Lloyd “for the very kind gift to Pauntley. I will send this to the Treasurer tomorrow.”
• Book with signed drawing of Masefield, 5 June 1931, matching the frontispiece sketch) and American ed. of (New York: Macmillan, 1914), both in very good condition in slightly chipped jackets, with the poem;
• Book; English ed. of Philip the King and Other Poems (London: William Heinemann, 1914);
• ALS to Mr. Cross, n.d., stating that he hopes to be at the Library on Wednesday and will have to leave after the reading.
• ALS to Mrs. or Miss Packard, thanking her for the ticket and hoping to meet her when he comes to the Club (with news clipping of Masefield’s poem on Queen Elizabeth’s marriage).
• TLS to Hilda E. Woodruff, 28 March 1929, in appreciation that his poems have been read by her class of students.
• TLS with envelope, post-marked 19 May 1939, to John Chester Adams, Professor of English at Yale University, stating that he is “sending off a book to Mr. Wilcox, with a letter about the poem which you sent to me with your letter of the 2nd of May.”
• TLS to Mr. Blayney, n.d., thanking him for his letter and the setting of music (“Alas, I am not musical, and must send this back unheard.”) and advising him to apply to the Society of Authors.
• B&W photo of Masefield looking at a book and standing by a book shelf (“At Home with Poet Laureate in His Eighteeth Year”), Keystone Press Agency, .
Books and documents housed in a light green cloth pictorial clamshell box.
John Masefield (1878-1967). Laureate 1930-67.
Born in Ledbury, Herefordshire, England, Masefield apprenticed to be a merchant marine officer. While training, he became ill in Chile, returned to England, then worked in factories and bars in the United States. In 1897 he returned to England, working on newspapers and his own writing (poems, stories, and plays). Masefield published his first volume of poems in 1902. He served during World War I in the Red Cross in France and on a hospital ship at Gallipoli. His simple and moving poems include the famous "August 1914"
The following is quoted from Wikisource John Masefield's Place In English Poetry;
“One can think of no other poet since Chaucer so purely English in derivation and in spirit. His intense nationalism has no doubt contributed to the marking down of his talents in some critical quarters, for nationalism nowadays receives a cold scrutiny. Masefield's is of the kind that will not be stared down. Its basis is spiritual, in. . . the heartfelt things past-speaking dear
To unknown generations of dead men.
Out of that nationalism of his came the noblest utterance in poetry that the War brought forth. If Masefield had written nothing else besides "August, 1914," his name would be remembered among the English poets. No blustering patriot, no facile glorifier of war, wrote those lines. If men died for love of England they also . . . died (uncouthly, most) in foreign lands
For some idea but dimly understood
Of an English city never built by hands
Which love of England prompted and made good.
The mood in which Masefield watched the approach of war, as it is here recorded, is not the eager consecration to which young men like Rupert Brooke gave expression. Masefield's poem has lost nothing of its poignancy in the aftermath of disillusion, because it was written from an embracing vision. It does not ennoble war; it merely perceives it as the agency through which men reach down into
The depths and sunken gold of being alive.”
This collection is on consignment with LDRB.