Henry James: Cambridge letters and related material

Scope and Content

Letters from Henry James to Geoffrey Keynes, Charles Sayle, A.T. Bartholomew and others, with related correspondence and papers compiled by Keynes. The supporting material includes extracts from Bartholomew and Sayle's diaries concerning James' visit. There are also copies of Keynes' essay 'Henry James in Cambridge', including the version published in the London magazine, vol. 6, no. 3 (March, 1959), pp. 50-61; papers regarding the publication of the essay in various forms; and details of Keynes' B.B.C. Radio broadcast on this subject.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry James (1843-1916), novelist, was born in New York on 15 April 1843. He was educated in New York, London, Paris and Geneva, and studied law at Harvard. After settling in Europe in 1875, he lived in London, 1876-1898, and at Rye, 1898-1916, becoming a naturalised citizen in 1915. James was the author of The portrait of a lady (1881), The wings of the dove (1902) and The ambassadors (1903). He died at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, on 28 February 1916. James visited Cambridge, 11-14 June 1909, on the invitation of Geoffrey Keynes, A.T. Bartholomew and Charles Sayle.

Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes (1887-1982), surgeon, bibliographer and literary scholar, was born in Cambridge on 25 March 1887. His brother was John Maynard Keynes, later Lord Keynes. Keynes went to school at Rugby before entering Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1906, to study natural sciences. He trained at St Bartholomew's Hospital, and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War. After the war, he became part of the surgical team at Bart's, where he was appointed assistant surgeon in 1928. During the Second World War, he was consulting surgeon to the R.A.F., and was made acting Air Vice-Marshal in 1944. Keynes retired from Bart's in 1952, and received a knighthood in 1955. He died at Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, on 5 July 1982.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Sir Geoffrey Keynes, 1981.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Henry James in H.W.C. Davis and J.R.H. Weaver, eds, Dictionary of national biography, 1912-1921 (Oxford University Press, 1927), pp. 287-290, and the entry on Sir Geoffrey Keynes in Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls, eds, Dictionary of national biography, 1981-1985 (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 224-226.

Other Finding Aids


Related Material

Cambridge University Library holds Sir Geoffrey Keynes' first version of the essay 'Henry James in Cambridge', MS.Add.8543.


Sir Geoffrey Keynes, Henry James in Cambridge, a collection of James' letters regarding his Cambridge visit, was published in Cambridge, 1967.

Geographical Names