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Mary Lago Collection.


Lago, Mary McClelland, 1919-2001.


Mary Lago Collection.


Holdings: 1714 books and approximately 117 linear feet of manuscripts.


Biographical Sketch

Mary McClelland Lago (1919-2001) was on the University of Missouri Department of English faculty from 1977 to 1991. From 1989 until her retirement she held the endowed professorship, the Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair of English. Biographical Passages: Essays on Victorian and Modernist Biography Honoring Mary M. Lago (University of Missouri Press, 2000) describes her as a distinguished biographer, editor, translator, and scholar of Victorian and Edwardian literature. Her research interests included the intersection of British and Indian literature at the turn of the century and the Edwardian art scene.

Mary McClelland was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received her B.A. in English from Bucknell University in 1940. She moved to New York and worked for the Friendship Press. While in New York she became involved with the Cantata Singers and the Dessoff Choir and met her future husband, Gladwyn V. Lago. They moved to Columbia, Missouri, where Gladwyn Lago assumed a faculty position in the Engineering School. While raising their two children, Mary Lago organized the Bach Singers where she was introduced to the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. Lago eventually returned to school and earned her M.A. (1965) and PhD (1969) from the University of Missouri. After teaching as an instructor in the department from 1971-1977, she was appointed Associate Professor in 1977, full Professor in 1979, and named Professor Emerita in 1991. Lago died from cancer in 2001.

Professor Lago was an authority on Rabindranath Tagore and E. M. Forster and wrote several books on each. She translated Tagore's works and was the author of numerous articles and reviews. Additionally, she wrote books on William Rothenstein, Max Beerbohm, Edward Burne-Jones, and Christiana Herringham. Her most recent book, India's Prisoner: A Biography of Edward John Thompson, 1886-1946, was published shortly before her death. 

Scope and Contents

The massive correspondence of E. M. Forster, which Professor Lago gathered from archives all over the world, is one of the prominent features of the collection, with over 15,000 letters. It was assembled in preparation for an edition of selected letters that she edited in collaboration with P. N. Furbank, Forster’s authorized biographer. A similar archive of Forster letters has been deposited in King's College.

The collection also includes copies of the correspondence of William Rothenstein, Edward John Thompson, Max Beerbohm, Rabindranath Tagore, Edward Burne-Jones, D.S. MacColl, Christiana Herringham, and Arthur Henry Fox-Strangways. These materials were also gathered by her in preparation for subsequent books.

In addition, the collection contains Lago's extensive personal and professional correspondence, including correspondence with Buddhadeva Bose, Penelope Fitzgerald, P.N. Furbank, Dilys Hamlett, Krishna Kripalani, Celia Rooke, Stella Rhys, Satyajit Ray, Amitendranath Tagore, E.P. Thompson, Lance Thirkell, Pratima Tagore, John Rothenstein and his family, Eric and Nancy Crozier, Michael Holroyd, Margaret Drabble, Santha Rama Rau, Hsiao Ch'ien, Ted Uppmann, Edith Weiss-Mann, Arthur Mendel, Zia Moyheddin and numerous others.

The collection is supplemented by extensive files related to each of her books, proof copies of these books, and files related to her academic career, honors, awards, and memorabilia. Personal material includes her journals and diaries that depict the tenuous position of a woman in the male-dominated profession of the early seventies. The book collection fully supports research in Edwardian and Victorian literature and also contains a representative selection of recent Bengali literature.

Table Of Contents

The books in the collection have been cataloged and are available through the collection level heading Mary Lago Collection (University of Missouri–Columbia. Libraries) in the University's online catalog. 

Finding aid: Mary Lago Collection finding aid

Series Arrangement

I. Clippings

II. Contracts

III. Course Materials

IV. Correspondence

V. Daybooks

VI. Diaries and Notebooks

VII. Grants

VIII. Papers and Articles by Mary Lago

  • Published essays
  • Book reviews
  • Unpublished essays
  • Translations

IX. Research and Publication files

  • Max and Florence Beerbohm
  • Stopford Brooke
  • Burne-Jones / T. M. Rooke
  • E. M. Forster (incl. Britten/Pears)
    • E. M. Forster letters
  • Arthur Henry Fox-Strangways
  • Hardinge/Crewe
  • Christiana Herringham
  • D. S. MacColl
  • T. W. Rolleston
  • William Rothenstein
  • Rabindranath Tagore
  • E. J. Thompson

X. Reviews

XII. Student files (restricted)

XII. Subject files 

XIII. Microfilm

XIV. Photographs

XV. Memorabilia

XVI. Oversize

Is Referenced By

Lago’s Calendar of the Letters of E M. Forster (Mansell, 1985) lists extant letters and includes copyright and ownership information.


Lago bequeathed her collection of manuscripts and books to the MU Libraries in 2001.


Copyright of all correspondence resides with the originator. Correspondence in the collection not written by Mary Lago may be consulted but not photocopied or published without permission from the copyright holder. Photocopies of correspondence collected by Lago (Forster, e.g.) may be under further restrictions based on instructions of original source.

Access Rights

Materials do not circulate but are available to users in the Special Collections Reading Room during service hours or by appointment. This collection is stored offsite. Please request items at least 48 hours in advance.


The majority of the correspondence collected by Lago is in the form of photocopies. Lago did have possession of a number of original letters, which are marked as such in the inventory. Parts of the collected correspondence are in the form of handwritten or typed notes, some of which are in Lago’s shorthand.

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