Letters and papers of Philip O'Connor with some of his writings

Scope and Content

Comprises the personal papers and documents of Philip O'Connor; his correspondence with various literary figures (including Michael Hamburger, Stephen Spender, Gregory Stephenson, and David Thomson), with family and friends, and with various publishers and the media, together with his address books; some of his publications, including Memoirs of a Public Baby, reviews in various literary journals, short stories, plays, poems, and radio scripts; and miscellaneous photographs of his family and friends. Both his birth and death certificates are present, as well as his divorce documents. The biography of O'Connor and his friend, Quentin Crisp, by Andrew Barrow published in 2002 was donated to the collection separately and is kept with the archive.

Administrative / Biographical History

Philip Marie Constant Bancroft O'Connor, Irish memoirist and poet, was born on 8 September 1916 in Leighton Buzzard, Buckinghamshire, but spent part of a disturbed childhood in France. He has described his unconventional upbringing and early bohemian life-style in his autobiography, Memoirs of a Public Baby (London, 1958). As well as his collections of verse, Selected Poems 1936-1966 (London, 1968) and Arias of Water (London, 1981), O'Connor's varied corpus of work includes sociology (Vagrancy, Harmondsworth, 1963), personal reminiscence (The Lower View, London, 1960), and an autobiographical novel, (Steiner's Tour, Paris, 1960). His work was first published in New Verse during the 1930s. He was twice married, had at least nine children, and died on 29 May 1998.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

The gift of Mrs Panna Grady O'Connor, his widow, on 28 January 2003.


Mainly in English, but with some French.


Andrew Barrow: Quentin and Philip: a double portrait, London: Macmillan, 2002.