Scope and arrangement
This is a synthetic collection consisting of manuscripts, typescripts, correspondence by and about the author, notebooks dating from  to , undated commonplace books, diaries for 1959 through 1973, journals for 1929 through 1964, legal and financial documents, a certificate, portraits, and pictorial works. The manuscripts and typescripts consist of drafts of poems, some of which were published in "Thank you, Fog," "Epistle to a Godson," or his collected poems; librettos, notes toward works, essays, plays, lectures, speeches, criticism, and translations. The collection also contains manuscripts and typescripts relating to Auden. The collection contains correspondence by the author, dating from 1930 through 1973, to Benjamin Britten, Nevill Coghill, Wayne Cogswell, Rupert Doone, Orlan Fox, Margaret Gardiner, Howard Griffin, Rhoda Jaffe, Noemi Kenmore, David Luke, Elizabeth Mayer, W. S. Merwin, Caroline Newton, Peter H. Salus, May Sarton, Monroe Spears, Stephen Spender, James and Tania Stern, and others. It also contains letters relating to the author, dating from 1934 to 1979, between various correspondents, including Alan Ansen, Hannah Arendt, T. S. Eliot, Christopher Isherwood, James Merrill, Peter Salus, Edith Sitwell, W. B. Yeats, and others, as well as letters to the author from various correspondents dating from 1936 to 1973.
The W. H. Auden collection of papers are arranged in five series: