Douglas, Alfred Bruce, 1870-1945

Alternative names
Birth 1870-10-22
Death 1945-03-20

Biographical notes:

Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas was an English writer, best known for his controversial personality and scandalous relationship with Oscar Wilde. Born into an aristocratic family, Douglas attended Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he wrote and participated in sports, but didn't take a degree. His well-chronicled relationship with Oscar Wilde provoked Douglas' father to insult Wilde, prompting a disastrous lawsuit that ended with Wilde imprisoned for two years. Douglas had a strong and rather egocentric temperment, leading to several libel trials; he was a talented author, particularly a gifted poet, and also wrote a memoir and two books about Wilde.

From the description of Alfred Douglas letter to Gifford Ernest, 1931 Feb. 26. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 123906103

Poet, editor, and intimate of Oscar Wilde.

From the description of Papers, [1888]-1947. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122514982

British poet and translator.

From the description of Letter, 1932 November. (Boston College). WorldCat record id: 48402525

English poet.

From the description of Autograph letters signed (3) : Salisbury & Smedmore, to Leonard Smithers, 1899 Oct. 6-Nov. 20. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270533200

Lord Alfred Douglas was an English poet. He was closely involved with the notorious trial of Oscar Wilde.

From the description of Lord Alfred Douglas collection. [1940-1941]. (University of Victoria Libraries). WorldCat record id: 667848445

English poet and translator.

From the description of ALsS and sonnets : 1893 Sept. 30-Nov. 22. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122380665


From the description of Alfred Bruce papers, Lord Douglas, 1934-1940. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71009615


Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas was born October 22, 1870 near Worcester, England; his father was the ninth marquess of Queensberry. His mother nicknamed him Bosie at a young age, and Douglas is often referred to by this name. He attended private schools, Winchester College, and eventually ended at Magdalen College in Oxford. He did not receive a degree from Magdalen, but wrote for various college publications.

Douglas was introduced to Oscar Wilde in 1891, and they became involved in a long relationship. In 1895, Douglas encouraged Wilde to sue the marquess of Queensberry for libel. However, Wilde was instead prosecuted and forced to spend two years in jail. Douglas attempted to petition the Queen of England to have Wilde released, but was unsuccessful. After Wilde's sentence was completed, he and Douglas traveled together for while. He often supported Wilde financially, as well.

Douglas later eloped with Olive Eleanor Custance and was married to her for 10 years before they separated. He had a son, Raymond, born 1902. Both Olive and Douglas were talented poets and writers. Douglas was involved with a fair number of other lawsuits, included libel against his father-in-law and Robert Ross, and even a lawsuit with Winston Churchill. The latter of the suits landed Douglas in jail for six months. Approximately 20 years later, Douglas died in Lancing on March 20, 1945 and was buried in Sussex.

From the guide to the Lord Alfred Douglas Collection, 1890-1951, (William Andrews Clark Memorial Library)


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Ark ID:


  • Imitation in literature--19th century
  • Catholic converts
  • Poets, English--20th century
  • English poetry--20th century
  • Male authors, English--Correspondence
  • English poetry--19th century
  • Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence


  • Translator


  • England (as recorded)