I spent two days at the archives, which opened at 9am and closed at 5:15pm, with a one-hour break for lunch at one o’clock. The archives provided me with a finding aid for the Bequest, which was a much more user-friendly guide than the online finding aid. I was allowed to pull out six items at a time, and I took liberal advantage of this. The Hayward Bequest is divided into eight sections of books, writings, photographs, and miscellaneous paraphernalia that had belonged to Eliot. I was able to look at Eliot's copy of The Odyssey (in Greek, of course), his cancelled passport, and the guidebook that he brought from the States on his first visit to
I also had the privilege of meeting another Eliot scholar while I was there, one who was also utilizing the Hayward Bequest in order to re-punctuate Eliot’s poems for an upcoming volume. Mr. M and I were able to talk about Eliot over tea, and he, being a fellow of Magdalene college and a very nice man, showed me parts of campus that were off limits to all but fellows of the university, including the Trinity College green. He took me to the old library at
The visit was quite fruitful, as I was able to better pinpoint my focus of research to the extensive work that Eliot did with libraries. In addition to eventually being a fellow of the Library of Congress, invited by Archibald MacLeish himself, Eliot worked extensively as the president of an organization called Books Across the Sea, which I had never heard of, until I read a speech that was included in the collection, which was given by Eliot upon the occasion of the opening of the Walter Hines Page Memorial Library. I set out, from there, to find this library, and to find out more about Eliot and his involvement with Books Across the Sea.