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Shiel, M. P. Collection by A. Reynolds Morse

Identifier: Shiel

Scope and Contents

Most of the collection (72 linear feet) consists of the books and periodicals that Morse assembled over his forty years as a collector, which Olin Library maintains using funds provided by Morse. The books include not only Shiel’s works but also works by other authors that he knew, such as, Louis Tracy. Morse also collected books about science fiction and works that mention Shiel or his work. Of especial interest are the issues of such old periodicals as Strand Magazine that Morse purchased because they contained stories by Shiel, but which have a wider historical or literary interest. Most of these are cataloged and may be searched on line.  New purchases will continue to be added to the catalogue. The manuscript collection charts the entire process of collecting books from research into the books and the author’s life to acquisition of the books. In this case, Morse also wrote about his interest. Thus, the manuscript collection includes materials that Morse collected regarding Shiel, materials concerning Morse’s own writings and materials concerning the collecting process. The materials have, therefore, been arranged to reflect these different aspects of Morse’s interest. The highlight of the collection is the correspondence between Shiel and Miller, which Morse purchased from Patrick Miller. Not all Miller’s letters survive, but much may be gleaned from Shiel’s responses. Miller also wrote some letters in shorthand that have not been transcribed, and these may reveal more about the two correspondents. Apart from the letters between Shiel and Miller, the rest of the Miller correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the correspondent unless the full name is unknown. In the latter case, the letters are divided into “letters received” and “letters sent” and arranged chronologically. The collection includes Miller’s correspondence with others after Shiel’s death, such as, John and Barbara Gawsworth and the solicitors who settled Shiel’s estate, Cotching & Son. Other letters show Miller sending clothing and food to the English people with whom she struck up a correspondence, such as, Cecil and Violette Ethel King and Julia Charlotte Targett. Most of Shiel’s literary manuscripts are typewritten, but Monk on “Greatness of Mind” and Herbert Spencer and King Robert of Sicily are handwritten.  Some papers were removed from a copy of How the Old Woman got Home that belonged to Grant Richards, and these papers are filed with the manuscript collection. A greater proportion of the collection relates to Morse’s own publications both concerning Shiel and on other topics. The materials are arranged by title beginning with the publications on Shiel in chronological order. His first Shiel book entitled The Works of M. P. Shiel was published in 1948 and the collection includes his typewritten literary manuscript. Volume I of the expanded revision contains some reprints of Shiel’s short stories, and Morse retained photocopies of many short stories that he considered for publication. Morse had a folder of “source materials” for Volumes I and III that contained a variety of different types of materials in no obvious order. These materials have been arranged by the type of document to facilitate storage and reduce the amount of searching required by researchers. For the other volumes, the “source materials” mainly consist of photocopied articles and short stories so these have been kept in Morse’s original order. The correspondence file of these materials for Volume I contains original letters written by Shiel, and among the leaflets is a copy of Shiel’s “About Myself” autographed by him. Volume IV of this series is an anthology of essays about Shiel and his writing entitled Shiel in Diverse Hands. In compiling this volume, Morse had extensive correspondence with the writers of the essays and retained many of their drafts. As Morse was not consistent in how he filed correspondence all the correspondence from these men has been placed together regardless of topic so that researchers do not have to search in numerous places. Even so, correspondence with publishing houses may reveal more letters from some correspondents For instance, Everett Bleiler, Shasta Publications and Melvin Korsak overlap. Ben Indick published “Ibid 40”, and Morse’s copies of this publication may be found in Indick’s correspondence folder. Additionally, Morse often received copies of correspondence between other people, especially from J. D. Squires, to which he sometimes responded. These materials have all been included under the name of the correspondent as they would be impossible to find if placed chronologically by the name of the forwarder. Morse also kept correspondence with booksellers, collectors and anyone who might have information about Shiel’s life. This correspondence has been separately arranged alphabetically by last name for individuals and first name for a company. The correspondence file on Tatsuo Yamada also includes copies of some of Shiel’s works printed in Japanese. Morse fully describes his trips to the West Indies in his book The Quest for Redonda and his collection includes memorabilia of the trip such as sand from Montserrat and a copy of the flag placed on Redonda. He published a map of the island, and he also possessed a 1967 Ordnance survey map that is in the collection. Some materials relating to Morse’s other writings on Shiel are held in the collection as well as materials concerning Toreros, a collection of poems by John Gawsworth and Morse’s writings on other subjects, such as, Colorado’s history. Many documents in the manuscript collection chart Morse’s acquisition of the books in the collection and his research into the different edition. His book catalogues have been arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the company issuing the catalogue. Morse also retained finding aids for other Shiel Collections; thus, the finding aid for the Shiel Collection in the University of Texas at Austin is available in this collection. Some photographs are included with the manuscript collection; however, most photographs and all the pictures have yet to be catalogued. Finally, as Olin Library continues to add to the collection, subsequent articles will be added chronologically.


  • Created: 1865-2000
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1945-1985
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1988


Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research without restrictions under the conditions of the Archives' access policy. Records may be copied for use in individual scholarly or personal research.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for obtaining copyright permission to: Javier Marias, Literary Executor for the Estate of M. P. Shiel (c/o Mercedes Casanovas, Iradier 24, 08017, Barcelona, Spain).


91.00 Linear Feet

81 feet of books and 11 boxes comprising 9.8 linear feet other_unmapped

91.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I.  Shiel Materials Collected. 1918-1972 (bulk 1931-1942 and 1947-1950). 1.6 linear feet textual files. The first series consists of the items that Morse collected. Three subseries comprise this series, Shiel’s manuscripts, the Miller correspondence and memorabilia. The handwritten, typewritten, and microfilmed manuscripts are all in this series. Miller’s correspondence includes letters between her and others and is not limited to those she exchanged with Shiel. The news clippings in this subseries relate to Patrick Miller’s inheritance. The memorabilia in this series includes a lock of Shiel’s hair purchased by Morse in 1981 together with the provenance papers. The items removed from the Grant Richards copy of How the Old Woman got Home and original publications of Shiel’s short stories that could not otherwise be catalogued are held in this series. A complete searchable database of the folders is available in the Archives and Special Collections Department. II.  Morse’s Publication Materials. 1865-1997 (bulk 1978-1980). 4.7 linear feet textual files and 0.6 linear feet of memorabilia. The second series consists of all the materials relating to Morse’s publications beginning with the manuscript of his first Shiel publication The Works of M. P. Shiel. Some news clippings concerning the publication and advertisements for the book are also held. In the subseries for Volume I are some letters from Shiel to various correspondents including Morse. A copy of “About Myself” autographed by Shiel may also be found in this subseries. Photographs depict places of interest in Shiel’s life and photographed copies of some of his work. Similar photographs are contained in the source material for Volume II. The subseries for Volume III holds short stories by Louis Tracy and Morse’s materials for his Tracy bibliography. Further Tracy short stories may be found in Series III. The drafts for Shiel in Diverse Hands comprise a sub subseries under Volume IV arranged in the order in which they appear in the book. A sub subseries contains correspondence from the essayists, regardless of the topic. This correspondence is sorted alphabetically by last name, then, chronologically. The Quest for Redonda subseries contains Morse’s research on Redonda, the Caribbean, Phosphate mining and related matters. His memorabilia of his visit to Redonda is also in this subseries. His map of the island as well as the Ordnance Survey map may be found here. This series concludes with materials on The New King, Toreros, “Literary Enigma, Curiosity or Immortal?”, “New Dimensions of M. P. Shiel”, “Shiel Centenary for 1980”, “George Elbert Burr and the Western Landscape” and Gold Links Tailings. All the folder titles are listed in the database available in the Archives and Special Collections Department. III.  Morse’s Files. 1898-1999 (bulk 1945-1949 and 1977-1985). 2.9 linear feet textual files. The third series consists of Morse’s files relating to assembling his collection. The alphabetically arranged book catalogues form a subseries. Separate correspondence files sometimes exist for the operators of these companies. For instance, George Locke owned Ferret Fantasy Ltd, and his correspondence may be found in series II while his catalogues are in series III. A second subseries holds the alphabetical correspondence files. These do not overlap with the correspondence files in Series II. Some additional highlights of this series include, the finding aid for the University of Texas at Austin’s Shiel Collection. Additionally, the folder entitled “Documents concerning Morse’s Collection” includes a handwritten statement by Morse about how his interest in Shiel developed. Reviews of Shiel’s books and articles about him may also be found in this series. A complete searchable inventory of all the folder titles is available in the Archives and Special collections Department. IV.  Articles added to the Collection by Rollins College. 1989-present. 1 File Folder. The fourth series allows for expansion of the collection as Rollins College continues to collect articles concerning M. P. Shiel.

Custodial History

Originally stored in the Shiel Room of Olin Library, cosolidated in the Special Collections in 2013.

Source of Acquisition

Albert Reynolds Morse

Method of Acquisition


Existence and Location of Originals

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Related Materials

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Archon Finding Aid Title
Judith Beale
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Repository Details

Part of the Rollins College Archives & Special Collections Repository

Rollins College Box 2744
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park 32789-4499 US