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Papers of Robert Ross and Vyvyan Holland relating to the Literary Estate of Oscar Wilde


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The collection contains: correspondence files relating to the administration of the estate by Robert Ross, Vyvyan Holland and solicitors Parker, Garrett & Co. (1890-1936); legal documents and correspondence in connection to the case Holland v Van Damm (1936-1937); scripts for plays (c.1907-1914); and posters for the Fox Film Co. production of Salome (1918).


  • Creation: 1890-1936


1.35 Linear metres (9 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

English, French, German

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 7018/1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 7018/1-9

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 7018


Papers relating to the administration of the literary estate of the poet and playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

Biographical / Historical

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), poet and playwright, died in Paris in 1900, a bankrupt. His literary executor was Robert Baldwin Ross (1869-1918), journalist and gallery owner and one of Wilde's most constant friends, remaining loyal after Wilde's scandalous trial and subsequent imprisonment in 1895. After Wilde's death, Ross worked hard to clear the estate of debt and managed to annul the bankruptcy in 1905. His patience in unravelling the 'inextricable muddle' the estate was in ensured that the estate became a valuable property. Ross administered the estate for Wilde's sons, Cyril and Vyvyan Holland (the boys' mother having changed their surname after Wilde's conviction). Cyril Holland (1885-1915) was killed during the First World War; Vyvyan Beresford Holland (1886-1967) became an author and translator, taking over the estate after Ross's death in 1918.

For full biographies of Wilde, Ross and Holland see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given by Merlin Holland, 14 August 1990. MSS. 7018/1, 8-9 were originally deposited by the British Record Association in 1986 [items stamped BRA 2201]; some duplicate printed material formerly with the BRA deposit was returned to Mr Holland in 1990.

Related Materials

Bodleian Library:

  1. M91.F05565 - Printed book Salomé: dramma musicale in un atto di Oscar Wilde, tradotto da Alex Leawington, musica di Richard Strauss (Mantova, 190-?) presented to the library by Merlin Holland in 1990 (originally part of deposit).

British Library, Manuscript Collections:

  1. Ad MSS 56854-9 - Correspondence (5 volumes) with the Society of Authors relating to the estate of Oscar Wilde, 1910-1947.

University of California, Los Angeles. William Andrews Clark Memorial Library:

  1. Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Correspondence (MS Wilde), 1819-1962.
  2. Robert Baldwin Ross Collection (MS Ross), including correspondence and court papers, 1888-1951.


  • See The Bodleian Library Record, Vol. 14, No.5, Oct 1993, p.435.
Catalogue of the papers of Robert Ross and Vyvyan Holland relating to the Literary Estate of Oscar Wilde
Finding aid prepared by Rachael Marsay. Original finding aid prepared by Judith Priestman, 1994.
Language of description
Script of description
Catalogued with the generous support of the Roy Davids bequest.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom