The collection consists of 16 letters from Ruth Speirs and 3 from John Speirs to Ian Fletcher together with correspondence relating to Ruths Rilke translations. There are also lists of her translations and several examples of books etc containing her work
Papers of Ruth Speirs
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 6 RUL MS 2492
- Dates of Creation1942-1983
- Name of Creator
- Physical Description2 boxes
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Ruth Speirs was born in Latvia but during the Second World War was forced to leave her home and become a refugee. She met and married the academic John Speirs who was working for the British Council in the English department of the University of Cairo. Their home became a centre for the many expatriate servicemen in the city interested in writing and discussing poetry. Several publications were produced by the university and the British Institute and Ruth Speirs translated from the German several poems by Rilke which were published in the periodical Personal Landscape in 1944.
After the war John Speirs returned to England with his wife to live in London and work in the Univertsity of Exeter. Ruth continued to publish translations of poetry from both German and Latvian. After John died in 1979 she had some financial difficulties but continued to find enough work to live on. Ruth Speirs died in 2000.
Conditions Governing Access
Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check www.reading.ac.uk/special-collections/using/sc-using.asp for contact details and opening hours.
Gift of Ian Fletcher
Other Finding Aids
There is no list of this collection
Description compiled by Gil Skidmore