Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 160.4

James Joyce Ulysses placards


Printed placards (equivalent to galley proofs), many extensively annotated by James Joyce, for his novel Ulysses.


  • 1921

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Restricted: fragile; use surrogate. For access to original consult curatorial staff.


3 linear feet (11 boxes)

The placards do not contain the entire text as published, as changes and additions were made after the placard stage. All the placards are marked, some more than others; for a sense of the extent of Joyce's manuscript changes, readers should consult the Garland facsimile cited above.

Biographical / Historical

James Joyce was an Irish novelist.

The first episodes of Ulysses were published in the Little Review in 1918; the complete novel was first published by Sylvia Beach through her bookshop Shakespeare and Company, Paris, in 1922. The book was typeset and printed by the firm of Maurice Darantiere in Dijon during 1921. Darantiere sent Joyce the placards for correction. Each placard (equivalent to galley proofs) is a large sheet of paper measuring roughly 29 x 18 ½ inches (74 x 47 cm.), printed on one side only, and containing eight pages of text, four across and two high. The pages are unnumbered, with the second page printed below the first, the fourth below the third, and so on. Joyce would not only correct the text, he would often make large additions and deletions. Because of the additions, each placard was pulled from one to four times.

After the placards, the book was set in page proof.


The placards are arranged by episode, as follows:

  1. Telemachus
  2. Nestor
  3. Proteus
  4. Calypso
  5. Lotus Eaters
  6. Hades
  7. Aeolus
  8. Lestrygonians
  9. Scylla and Charybdis
  10. Wandering Rocks
  11. Sirens
  12. Cyclops
  13. Nausicaa
  14. Oxen of the Sun
  15. Circe
  16. Eumaeus
  17. Ithaca
  18. Penelope

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

50M-84. Deposited by Marian Willard Johnson, Locust Valley, Long Island, New York, 1950 November 29. Part gift of Mrs. Johnson in memory of Sylvia Beach, 1969 August 6, and part purchase with funds from the Amy Lowell Fund, 1969 August 12.

Existence and Location of Copies

Readers must consult either a photocopy (available as Electroprints in Box 11) or the facsimile reproduction published as part of The James Joyce Archive edited by Michael Groden (New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1978).

Processing Information

Processed by: Leslie A. Morris

The placards were ordered and numbered upon receipt in the Library in 1950, and this numbering has been retained except where this resulted in the fragmentation of text of an episode. Where Houghton numbers have been changed, this is indicated in a note. Many placards are present in more than one copy, and this information is in parentheses following the placard number; however, no attempt has been made to determine which sheet was pulled first, second, etc. The "titles" given to the placards (for example, "2", "IV", "9 bis", etc.) are numbers printed on the placards themselves.

Joyce, James, 1882-1941. James Joyce Ulysses placards, 1921: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2440