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Djuna Barnes Collection

Learn about resources for Djuna Barnes @ University of Maryland Libraries


The Djuna Barnes Collection

A portrait of Djuna Barnes wearing a hat and polka-dot ascot, taken in Paris, France, circa 1921-1922.

Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) was an American author of fiction, poetry, and plays, who began her career as a freelance journalist and illustrator in New York in 1913. Her talent and her connections with the artistic community in Greenwich Village soon led to the publication of her poetry and to the production of several of her plays by the Provincetown Players. Assignments from magazines took her to Europe in 1921 where lived until 1939. During that time she published several book-length works, including the novel Nightwood, which is considered her masterpiece. In 1940 she moved to Greenwich Village, where she lived for the remainder of her life. Her verse play, The Antiphon, was published in 1958. She continued to write poetry until her death, most of which was not published until after her lifetime.

The University of Maryland Libraries are the primary repository for the archive of Djuna Barnes (1892-1982), who was an avant-garde American writer and artist. Her papers consist of family and personal papers, correspondence, publications, manuscript drafts, newspaper clippings, serials, photographs, and original art work documenting Barnes's career. Significant correspondents in the collection include T. S. Eliot, Emily Coleman, Marianne Moore, Peggy Guggenheim, Dag Hammarskjöld, Kay Boyle, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert McAlmon, Laurence Vail, Allan Ross Macdougall, Allen Tate, E. E. Cummings, William Carlos Williams, and Eugene O'Neill. Some of the books from her personal library are among the holdings of the Marylandia and Rare Books Department.

The Djuna Barnes Collection is available to researchers in the Maryland Room at the University of Maryland's Hornbake Library. The cataloged portion of the Djuna Barnes Library contains nearly 900 titles which can be searched and browsed using the University of Maryland Libraries online catalog. This same search can be reproduced by visiting the University of Maryland Libraries' online catalog, clicking the "Advanced Search" link, and then limiting a search by "Marylandia and Rare Books -- Barnes" from the "Location" pull-down menu. The library was part of the collection purchased from Miss Barnes in 1973 and 1977, along with her personal and family papers, correspondence, writings, printed matter, and serial publications. There are additional uncatalogued books in the Djuna Barnes Library accessible to researchers. The Libraries continue to augment these Barnes holdings through purchase and donation. The full finding aid for the Djuna Barnes Collection is available online. 

Inquiries about permission to publish the works of Djuna Barnes should be directed to:

The Authors League Fund
155 Water Street, #206
Brooklyn, NY  11201