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Frederick W. Rolfe, Baron Corvo Collection

Identifier: GTM-141102.1

Content Description

Secondary works relating to Baron Corvo, including correspondence from collectors such as Donald Weeks, manuscripts of papers about Corvo by various authors (some photocopied), printed ephemera, and photographs.


  • 1929 - 2013

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

Frederick William Serafino Austin Lewis Mary Rolfe (1860-1913),was an English writer, photographer and eccentric. Also known as Baron Corvo, he was associated with the "Yellow Book" circle and fin-de-siecle decadent culture. In 1889, while a student in Rome, he was adopted into the circle of the Duchess Sforza Cesarini (1818-1897), who became his patron. A convert to Catholicism, Rolfe studied to be a priest, but was rejected. He wrote short stories for the "Yellow Book," and painted religious banners with boy-saint motifs. His best-known works are his 1904 novel "Hadrian VII," and "The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole," considered by admirers like Susan Sontag and Graham Greene to be the greatest novel written about the city of Venice.

By the end of World War I, Corvo had fallen into obscurity as an author. In 1934, British eccentric author A.J.A. Symons (1900-1941), published the so-called cult-classic "The Quest for Corvo" which earned critical acclaim for its exploration of the dynamic between author and subject; and ignited renewed interest in Corvo’s work.

Source: Wikipedia


1.02 Linear Feet (3 Hollinger Slim Document Cases + 1 Hollinger Document Case)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Boo-Hooray, New York, N.Y., November 2014. Collection formerly owned by Johan Kugelberg.

Frederick W. Rolfe, Baron Corvo Collection
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections.
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057