The James Joyce Collection came to UB in six installments, the first in 1950 by virtue of a gift from Margaretta F. Wickser made in memory of her husband Philip J. Wickser. The Wickser gift consisted of the Librairie La Hune’s (Paris) Joyce exposition, which featured a substantial body of his manuscripts, the family portraits of Joyce’s great-grandparents and grandparents, Patrick Tuohy’s portraits of Joyce and his father and other items of memorabilia. Another extraordinary part of this gift was Joyce’s private library, received in the same condition as it was when packed for storage after Joyce left Paris to flee the Nazi occupation.
Subsequent installments were given in 1951 and 1959 by B. W. Huebsch, publisher and an associate of Joyce. A second major installment in 1959 was realized thanks to Constance and Walter Stafford’s hands-on negotiations in Paris, as well as their financial commitment which funded the purchase of Joyce materials from Sylvia Beach, the proprietor of the bookstore Shakespeare and Company and the publisher of the first edition of Ulysses. Another arrived after the death of Sylvia Beach in 1962, again through the support of the Staffords and the generosity of Mrs. Spencer Kittinger and the Friends of the Lockwood Memorial Library of the University at Buffalo. The final installment arrived in 1968 with an acquisition from Maria Jolas.
Covering the entire span of his artistic life, the James Joyce Collection is the largest Joyce collection in the world and contains his private library; holograph drafts, typescript pages and corrected galleys and page proofs for Ulysses; 66 notebooks, transcriptions, typescripts, galleys, page proofs and the author’s copy with corrections of Finnegans Wake; documents for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Joyce’s lecture on Daniel Defoe; the notebook for Exiles; hundreds of letters between Sylvia Beach and Joyce; Beach’s printing records for the publication of Ulysses; John Quinn’s letters to Beach and Joyce regarding the trial over Ulysses and The Little Review as well as other Joyce and Beach correspondence; Joyce’s presentation copies to Beach; portraits and over 150 photographs of Joyce and his family; numerous personal artifacts owned by Joyce; thousands of his newspaper clippings; and notebooks, sketchbooks and letters by Joyce’s daughter Lucia Joyce. Supplementing the archive is a complete set of first editions, including all issues and states of every book published by Joyce, translations, a large number of his magazine appearances and virtually all the literary criticism in book form on Joyce.
Joyce’s manuscripts as well as letters and peripheral items have been scanned and are available for research on a work station in the reading room of the Poetry Collection.