R.F. Foster papers, 1966-2014

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Foster, R.F. (Robert Fitzroy), 1949-
Title: R.F. Foster papers, 1966-2014
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1434
Extent: 45.25 linear feet (46 boxes) and 1 oversized papers box (OP)
Abstract:Papers of Irish historian and biographer, Robert F. Foster, including correspondence, writings by Foster and others, and printed material
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Personal correspondence with Tom Paulin is restricted until October 16, 2032.

Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Purchased from rare book dealer, R.A. Gekoski, 2017

Custodial History

The Rose Library purchased the material from rare book dealer, R.A. Gekoski, who acted as a broker for the creator of the material, R.F. Foster. R.A. Gekoski's team packed the materials and prepared them for shipment to the Rose Library.


[after identification of item(s)], R.F. Foster papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Curator of Literary Collections, Rosemary Magee, acquired the collection as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Irish literature and poetry.


Arranged and described at the box level by Leigh Schlecht, April 2018. Schlecht left materials in the original order and retained the titles provided by the creator.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Robert Fitzroy Foster (1949-) is an Irish academic and historian. Born on January 16, 1949 in Waterford, Ireland, Foster is the son of two teachers, Betty and Ernest “Fef” Foster. Foster attended Newtown School in Waterford. He received a scholarship to study at St. Andrew's College (Dublin) for a year before reading history at Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned his master's of arts and doctorate of philosophy. He was elected a scholar in History and Political Science in 1969. Foster married novelist and critic, Aisling Foster, in 1972. They have two children.

Publishing under the name R. F. Foster, the author wrote biographies of Lord Randolph Churchill and Charles Stewart Parnell, several books of essays, the book, Modern Ireland: 1600-1972 (1988), and edited The Oxford History of Ireland (1989). Foster is known for his award-winning two-part biography of William Butler Yeats, The Apprentice Mage and The Arch-Poet, which received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Working with Fintan Cullen, Foster curated a National Portrait Gallery exhibition in London, “Conquering England: the Irish in Victorian London.” In 2015, he earned the British Academy Medal for his book Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland 1890–1923.

Foster was a professor of Modern British History at Birkbeck, University of London (1974-1991), and was a visiting scholar at St. Antony's College, Oxford, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University (New Jersey) from 1988-1989. Foster is currently the Carroll Professor of Irish History at Hertford College, Oxford (1991-).

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Irish scholar, Robert F. Foster, from 1966-2014, including correspondence, writings by both Foster and others, and printed material, including documents relating to the Irish Troubles. There is a significant amount of material relating to Foster’s biography of William Butler Yeats, including correspondence with publishers and annotated drafts of manuscripts, particularly The Apprentice Mage and The Arch Poet. Printed material includes newspaper, magazine clippings, and articles.

Arrangement Note

Arranged first by Yeats writings and research material; Other writings; and Research materials and personal and professional papers then by titles provided by the creator.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms

Container List

Yeats writings and research material
Box Folder Content
17 - The Apprentice Mage, material and correspondence, 1987-1995
7 - The Apprentice Mage, file cards, undated
29 - The Apprentice Mage, file cards, undated
23 - The Apprentice Magee, drafts, undated
10 - The Apprentice Mage, chapters and notes, undated
3 - The Apprentice Mage, manuscript, chapters 1-12, undated
25 - The Apprentice Mage, front matter through chapter 13, undated
20 - The Apprentice Mage and The Arch Poet, bound proofs 2002-2005 The Arch Poet, bound proofs 2002-2005
30 - The Apprentice Mage and The Arch Poet permissions, 1996-2003 The Arch Poet permissions, 1996-2003
2 - The Apprentice Mage, addenda materials, 1996
28 - The Apprentice Mage, typescript, 1997
4 - The Apprentice Mage, notes and corrections, 1998
13 - The Arch Poet, file card notes, undated
8 - The Arch Poet, notes and writings, undated
17 - The Arch Poet, notes, undated
36 - The Arch Poet draft with annotations, undated
40 - The Arch Poet, chapter drafts, undated
10 - The Arch Poet, chapters and notes, undated
5 - The Arch Poet, chapter drafts with annotations, undated
2 - The Arch Poet, front matter through chapter 9, 2002
18 - The Arch Poet, manuscript, undated
37 - The Arch Poet, typescript and related correspondence, 1998-2001
38 - The Arch Poet, typescript from chapter 10 through back matter, 2000-2001
26 - Yeats, addenda on paper and notecards, 1991-2001
44 - Yeats addenda for chapters 5, 6, and 15, 1998-2002
11 - Yeats, biography, corrections, 1993-2003
24 - Yeats, first draft of biography, undated
4 - Yeats, lectures given about, 1996-1999
34 - Yeats, notes, circa 1989
40 - Yeats, notes, 1995-2002
16 - Yeats, notes and bibliography, undated
Other writings
18 - Charles Stewart Parnell, research material, circa 1966
19 - Charles Stewart Parnell notes and other notes, circa 1966
11 - The Clark Lecture Series, undated
25 - Conquering England, draft, 2001-2004
1 - Conquering England, draft, 2004
16 - Drafts of other works, undated
6 - Essays, undated
43 - Essays and lectures, undated
32 - The Ford Lectures, University of Oxford, 2011-2012
31 - The Irish Story, typescripts, undated
14 - The Irish Story, reviews and reactions, 2001-2004
33 - Lord Randolph Churchill, correspondence and manuscript, 1981-1989
9 - Lord Randolph Churchill, typescript and notes, 1982-1996
1 - Luck of the Irish, file cards, undated
10 - Luck of the Irish, typescript, 2007
44 - Modern Ireland, planning file, 1989-1991
8 - Modern Ireland, typescript and notes, undated
35 - Modern Ireland, typescript through chapter 16, undated
36 - Modern Ireland, typescript, chapter 17 through back matter, undated
27 - Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland, 1988-1989
39 - Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland, notes and manuscript, 1989-1991
45 - Paddy & Mr. Punch, 1993
45 - Typescripts, 1989-1995
1 - Vivid Faces, draft, undated
6 - Vivid Faces, draft, 2013
23 - Vivid Faces, draft, 2013
35 - Vivid Faces, draft, 2013
32 - Vivid Faces, typescript, 2014
38 - Vivid Faces, revised proofs, 2014
11 - Words Alone, undated
45 - Words Alone, 2011
14 - Words Alone, drafts and final copy, undated
12 - Writings, circa 1994
17 - Writings, 1996-2008
Research materials and personal and professional papers
26 - Appointment books, 1990-1994
11 - Barry, Sebastian, plays, 2004
15 - Bowen, Elizabeth notes, circa 2015
12 - Burial & Re-Burial, undated
17 - Butler, Hubert notes, 1990-1991
12 - Correspondence, 1992-1999
13 - Correspondence, 2001-2009
7 - Curriculum vitae, 1997
6 - Daily calendars, 1994-2015
41 - Dissertation notes and lectures, undated
OP1 1 Foster, R.F., photographs, undated
15 - Gowrie, Grey, poetry, 2010-2016
5 - Moody, Theodore William and F. S. L. Lyons correspondence, 1974-1985
28 - Notes, undated
39 - Notes on Ireland, 1989-1990
7 - Notes on manuscript collections, 1997-2001
46 - Paulin, Tom, correspondence, circa 2015 [RESTRICTED]
22 - Printed material, 1976-1995
15 - Reviews, 1970
43 - Reviews by Foster, 1970-1996
35 - Reviews, 1972-1996
34 - Reviews, 1992-2013
21 - Reviews, 1997
42 - Reviews and readings, 1997-2007