Records the unique identifier that has been appointed to the unit of description by the archivists, in order to facilitate references made to the fonds on an international level.
Records the name of the unit of description.
Identifies the date of creation of the unit of description.
Identifies the level of arrangement of the unit of description (fonds, sub-fonds, series, sub-series, file, sub-file, item).
Records the extent of the unit of description. In case of an item description, it records the exact dimensions of the item.

34 files (1,798 items)


Identifies the author or the creator of the unit of description.
Provides information on the successive transfers of ownership, responsibility and/ or custody of the archival material.

In 1963 Alekos Singopoulo, heir of the poet, entrusted the editing and publication of Cavafy’s entire fonds to G. P. Savvidis. The transfers of the fonds’ rights, up until it came permanently in the possession of G. P. Savvidis in 1969, have been recorded by Savvidis himself in an article in Nea Estia (see: G.P. Savvidis, «To archeio C. P. Cavafy. Mia proti enimerotiki ekthesi», Nea Estia, 74 (1963), p. 1539-1547). The fonds had been managed in succession by Rica Singopoulo (1926-1939), Alekos Singopoulo (1926-1966) and G. A. Papoutsakis (as can be deduced from the examination of the items in the fonds), Kiveli Singopoulo (1966-1969), G. P. Savvidis (1969-1995) and Manuel Savvidis (1995-2012) (see: Katerina Ghika, «Simeioma gia to Archeio Cavafy», October 2012). Both G. P. Savvidis and his heir, Manuel Savvidis, safeguarded the integrity of the Cavafy fonds and restored it to a large extent, by retrieving manuscripts and other material that had been previously separated from the fonds.

Identifies the immediate source of acquisition or transfer of the unit of description.

The Cavafy fonds was acquired by the Onassis Foundation in 2012. The eight subsequent additions of relevant archival material were successively made by the Foundation, through purchases, from 2013 to 2018.


Provides a summary of the scope (such as, time periods, geography) and content of the unit of description.

The Cavafy fonds is a fairly complete fonds, free from physical decay and inconsistencies – these are traits ensuring the chronological continuity of the items contained therein, in terms of both order and frequency of appearance. These traits make the Cavafy fonds a unique literary archive.

Besides, the poet himself collected and archived his work on a systematic basis. His poems, both manuscripts and in print, in the form of homemade books or printer’s copies, the distribution lists of volumes and collections, the prose texts and the poet’s personal and literary notes, together with translations, texts and studies of the poet’s work by others, make up the section of the fonds that relates to Cavafy’s intellectual activity.

The poet’s private life is outlined in the rich collection of his personal and family letters, of diary-type texts, of the various family items and, finally, in the important collection of personal and family photographs.

In his personal notes Cavafy records his thoughts about his work, poetry and art in general, as well as his everyday life, as for example his activities in gambling or his personal and love life. During the last years of his life, when he could no longer speak as a result of his illness, such notes were the poet’s only means of communication.

Personal relations and journeys, contacts with prominent figures and intellectuals are all included in the items of the fonds and complement Cavafy’s physiognomy by integrating it in the context of the poet’s era.


The entire fonds has been retained. Bifolios and plain files of later dates that had been previously used as item separators were replaced and collected in a separate file during the arrangement process.

Informs on the possibility of foreseen additions to the archival material.

Future acquisitions may occur.

Provides information on the processing, the internal structure, the order and the system of classification of the fonds.

Α. Archival documentation
According to the G. P. Savvidis Historical Catalogue, the Cavafy fonds, as delivered to the Onassis Foundation, consists of 85 files (including manuscripts and other loose printed media); the Peridis file; the Papoutsakis file; the Alexandrini Techni archive and the Alekos and Rica Singopoulo fonds. It is noted that this Catalogue forms part of the Cavafy fonds.

The cataloguing and description of the material preceded the arrangement of the fonds, in the order of its acquisition by the Foundation. A detailed index on item level has been compiled. Further processing of the fonds dictated the arrangement of the material into three distinct sub-fonds:

A. Work (of C. P. Cavafy); B. Personal Papers (of C. P. Cavafy) and C. Post-2012 acquisitions.

The arrangement of items was organised in thematic files, the contents of which have been placed in chronological order. The files have been numbered uniformly in an ascending order and have been included in series and sub-series on the basis of thematic criteria, with the exception of the third collection, the contents of which have been arranged chronologically.

In order to facilitate item content searches, access points have been created for all fields of the archival description. These access points are grouped as follows: persons, corporate bodies, families, places, and subjects. Subjects have been further subdivided into categories.

The items of the files entitled “Peridis” and “Papoutsakis” have been placed in their files of origin, according to their content. Relevant information has been included in the “Former Reference Code” field.

Moreover, the files of the Alekos and Rica Singopoulo fonds, together with those of the Alexandrini Techni archive, were separated and now constitute a distinct fonds.

Taking into account that the fonds has been extensively used as a source of information for publications and in order to facilitate researchers, the description field entitled “Former Reference Code” includes a link between the new documentation and the indications of the G. P. Savvidis Historical Catalogue, based on the serial number of the microfilm and of the photo shoots.

Finally, the third sub-fonds is a distinct part of the Cavafy fonds, comprising additional, post-2012 acquisitions by the Onassis Foundation. Future acquisitions will be included in this sub-fonds.

In detail, the classification scheme of the fonds is articulated as follows:

Sub-fonds 01: WORK
Series: Poems
file: Poems (manuscript)
sub-file: Poems
sub-file: Printer’s copies and miscellanea
file: Poems (printed)
sub-file: Pamphlets – broadsheets
sub-file: Issues
sub-file: Collections
file: Lists
sub-file: Title lists
sub-file: Distribution lists of issues and collections

Series: Prose works
file: Literary texts
file: Articles – studies – drafts
file: “Dictionary of quotations”

Series: Notes
file: Literary notes
file: Notes on linguistic matters
file: Personal notes
file: Notes on historical matters
file: Working notes

Series: Translations and works of others on C. P. Cavafy
file: English translations
sub-file: Translations by John Cavafy
sub-file: Translations by G. A. Valassopoulo
sub-file: Translations by others
file: Translations into other languages
sub-file: French translations
sub-file: Italian translations
sub-file: Dutch translations
file: Texts and studies on C. P. Cavafy
file: Works of C. P. Cavafy set to music
file: Sketches

Series: Correspondence of C. P. Cavafy
Sub-series: Personal correspondence
file: Drafts and copies of C. P. Cavafy’s letters
sub-file: Drafts and copies of letters addressed to Alekos and Rica Singopoulo
sub-file: Drafts and copies of letters addressed to Ε. Μ. Forster
sub-file: Drafts and copies of letters addressed to various recipients
sub-file: Correspondence relating to C. P. Cavafy’s publication activity in England
file: Incoming correspondence
sub-file: Incoming correspondence by Ε. Μ. Forster
sub-file: Incoming correspondence by Mike Ralli, John Rodocanachi, Stephen Schilizzi
sub-file: Incoming correspondence by various authors

Sub-series: Family correspondence
file: Drafts and copies of C. P. Cavafy’s letters
file: Incoming correspondence of C. P. Cavafy
sub-file: Incoming correspondence by John Cavafy
sub-file: Incoming correspondence by Paul Cavafy
sub-file: Incoming correspondence by various senders
file: Correspondence exchanged among members of the Cavafy family, and correspondence of members of the family with third parties

Sub-series: General correspondence
file: Official correspondence
sub-file: Incoming official correspondence
sub-file: Outgoing official correspondence
file: Correspondence among third parties

Series: Miscellanea
file: Diary-type texts
file: Various personal documents
sub-file: Legal documents
sub-file: Genealogical data
sub-file: Notes on financial matters
sub-file: Personal notes
sub-file: Various family documents
sub-file: Ephemera
sub-file: Press and printed documents
sub-file: Works by others

Series: Photographic archive
file: Collection of photographs
sub-file: Personal photographs
sub-file: Family photographs
sub-file: Photographs of various persons

Sub-fonds 03: POST-2012 ACQUISITIONS
file: Acquisitions 01 (2013)
file: Acquisitions 02 (2013)
file: Acquisitions 03 (2015)
file: Acquisitions 04 (2016)
file: Acquisitions 05 (2017)
file: Acquisitions 06 (2017)
file: Acquisitions 07 (2018)
file: Acquisitions 08 (2018)

B. Literary documentation
The contribution of the literary scholars to the documentation of the Cavafy fonds consisted in adding literary and critical annotation to the archival description of individual items.

After having familiarised themselves with the entirety of the fonds, they collaborated with the archivists and decided to create two additional fields and to expand the category entitled “Subjects” of the “Access points” field. The literary scholars developed the following fields:

Ι. Related works by C. P. Cavafy
ΙΙ. Additional comments
ΙΙΙ. Access points (complementing the archival annotation)

Ι. The field entitled “Related works by C. P. Cavafy” correlates the individual archival items with one or more of Cavafy’s works and facilitates the users who wish to find archival material related to these works. Taking into account the intricacies of the publication of Cavafy’s works and the various headings under which Cavafy’s poems have reached the reader (unpublished, unfinished, hidden, repudiated etc.), the following method has been adopted: the field entitled “Related works by C. P. Cavafy” mentions the title(s) of Cavafy’s works (poems, prose texts, articles); it is followed by the number of entry in the Bibliography on C. P. Cavafy by D. Daskalopoulos (Dimitris Daskalopoulos, Vivliografia C. P. Cavafy (1886-2000), Centre for the Greek Language, Thessaloniki, 2003), that denotes the first publication of the relevant work. The “>” symbol is included between the title and the entry number, always followed by the entry number (e.g., “Alexandrian kings”>129).1

Only in cases where the correlation between one of C. P. Cavafy’s works is obvious and explicit in an archival item has a reference been included in the relevant records; this correlation is a result of the text itself and not of a hypothesis based on secondary sources. No reference is made to a poem when the textual information included in the archival item is not intended to be related to this poem, even if it accidentally happens to be so related. For example, Cavafy used the empty back page of printed broadsheets as paper material in order to take notes or write up his poems. In such cases, the literary scholars do not refer to the printed poems included on the verso, because the issue is the item itself.

II. The field entitled “Additional comments” comprises the necessary clarifications which facilitate researchers and users. For example, it comprises:

  • References to data of literary or critical interest, e.g., “References to Friedrich Schiller and to Molière as well as to ‘The Arab Conquest of Egypt’. The title ‘Siwa’ is also mentioned, probably referring to the work by Charles Dalrymple Belgrave under the same title”.
  • References to drafts and to variations of Cavafy’s works, only in case the said drafts or variations are explicitly mentioned in the item or are identical.
  • The secondary bibliography mentioned in the archival items themselves and the necessary explanatory comments (books, periodicals and newspapers used by Cavafy), e.g. “Reference to: Ilias Oikonomopoulos Mythologia tis Archaias Ellados, Athens, Fexis, 1896”.
  • Publication data of the literary or critical work appended to or commented upon in the archival item, e.g. “Poems by Giorgos Vrisimitzakis published in the first issue of the journal Alexandrini Techni (Alexandrini Techni, year I, no. 1, December 1926, p. 3-4)”.

Concerning the field “Αdditional comments”, the literary scholars did not interpret the archival information, and only used the secondary sources in order to identify a text and to cross-check the literary and critical annotation.

The so-called “G. P. Savvidis Historical Catalogue” has been an important factor to this effort. The literary scholars consulted the catalogue in every stage of the project, without, however, always adopting its literary and critical remarks (e.g., they did not necessarily presume that notes written by the poet are linked to specific poems, etc.). It was decided, in order to highlight the contribution of the Savvidis catalogue, to include references, in the form of hyperlinks, of the archival items to the corresponding entries in the said catalogue. In this manner, the historical continuity of the fonds becomes apparent, and the users can compare the different versions or take into account remarks of the G. P. Savvidis historical catalogue which have not been included in the present documentation.

III. In order to locate the relevant material in the fonds a number of keywords are used that are called “access points”. The literary scholars, taking into account the needs of the users and the technical specifications of the electronic tool adopted for this project (“ArchiveMax”) decided, in addition to the categories “Persons”, “Corporate Bodies”, “Places”, and “Families”, which were filled in by both the archivists and the group, to subdivide the “Subjects” category of the access points that were of literary interest into further categories, as follows:

Literary and other character
Works by C. P. Cavafy (titles)
Works by other authors (titles)
Works by C. P. Cavafy in translation

The “Literary and other characters” category includes annotations concerning the characters encountered in poems and prose texts by Cavafy. The members of the literary scholars group adopted the methodology of Kyriakos Delopoulos as derived from his work Cavafy istorika kai alla prosopa. Istoriki, filologiki kai vivliografiki erevna, ELIA, Athens, 1978, in order to indicate the attributes of the “Literary and other characters” category.

The “^” symbol has been placed next to each character and the following data have been included in parentheses, as appropriate:

H: Historical characters
L: Literary characters [The literary scholars changed the abbreviation “ΦΙ” (‘Philological figure’) used by Delopoulos,].
I: Invented characters
M: Mythological characters

E.g. “Ioannis Kantakouzinos^(Ι)

Concerning the “non-literary” archival items, while the mythological, literary and imaginary figures carry the same annotation (L, I, M), historical figures (H) were included in the “persons” category.

Finally, in the thematic category “Places” only geographical designations that match actual locations are included, while mythical or fictional designations are excluded.

  1. In the case of the poem “Che fece… il gran rifiuto”, which has, by error, two different classification numbers, the one in the Index of Bibliography Titles (A66) and the other in the main corpus of the bibliography (A67), the latter has been adopted. 


Specifies the law or legal status, regulation or policy that affects access to the unit of description.

The digital reproduction of the fonds (including description metadata) has been posted in its entirety on the website of the Onassis Foundation and is made available on the basis of the reproduction terms. Access to the original items is permitted only in special cases, following submission of a request for this purpose, so as to ensure the protection and preservation of the physical integrity of the original archival material.

Specifies the conditions governing the reproduction of the unit of description.

The Onassis Foundation Cavafy Archive is made available in its entirety subject to the Creative Commons Attribution – Share alike license (CC BY-SA 4.0), international, v. 4.0 or later. References to the Cavafy Archive should be made as follows: © 2016-2018 Cavafy Archive, Onassis Foundation. In case that a work included in the Cavafy Archive is the property of a third person, the beneficiary of the intellectual property rights shall be specified, together with the license subject to which that work is made available. Requests for additional rights or licenses, other than the ones permitted by the CC license, should be emailed to the Cavafy Archive (

Identifies the language(s) and script(s) employed in the unit of description.

Mainly Greek, and, secondarily, French and English. Very few texts are written in Italian, and three texts are in Dutch.

Provides information about important physical characteristics of the unit of description.

The fonds consists of loose manuscripts, notebooks, prints, clippings or newspaper sheets and photographs. There are some volumes of poetry collections with homemade binding by the author, as well as handmade folders.

The writing medium is plain paper (ruled or not) or sheets of paper or paperboard cut or folded in bifolios. Scrap paper in various sizes has also been extensively used. In many cases and for practical reasons the main body of the paper has been extended with the use of affixed additions.

The writing inks used are black, red and blue; pencil has also been frequently used. The watermarks found on sheets of paper used by Cavafy have also been recorded. These are of various origins and are found on the paper of letters addressed to and sent by Cavafy which have been preserved in the fonds. Such watermarks include: English Commercial Post, Southern Cross Fine Quality, The New Mill Super Fine, Extra Strong, Navarre, Spartan Bond, Boar’s Head English Bond, Conqueror London, R. J. Moss & Co Alexandria, Marchant Singer & Co London, Velo Mill, Alex Pirie & Sons Royal Super Fine, Delta Mill Fine, Original Renage’s Mill, Original Australasian, Baskerville Vellum Wove, Au Louvre Paris, G. Pulman & Sons Air Dried London, Gurney Ivory Laid, POF, W. T. & Co, Lenvale Hollingworth Kent, Mercury Mill GB, Urania Ban, Egypte 1899, Tamvaco Choremi & Co. Alexandrie-Egypte, Aero Bank J.R., Extra Strong 1902 J.R.F., Abondance, F. Guerimand & Cie, Imperial Treasury De La Rue, Ultra Per Fecta Type Writer, Harrods Hans Script, Oceana Ledge, United Service Air-Dried Vellum, Excelsior Super Fine, Imperial Air Mail, Johannot & Cie Extra Strong, Basildon Bond, Green Spring Bond Rag Content, Air Mail 693, Titan Bond, Marmaty Mill J.C.A, Original Ledger Air Dried, Britannia, L. J. & Cie Basseau, Registre Superieure P. P. & Co., Union Bond, Velo Mill Depose. Some of them are illegible.

The correspondence series includes letterheads from hotels in France (Paris, Toulon, Hyères) as well as from various banks.

The fonds is preserved in fairly good state. Light or moderate oxidation has in cases caused discolouration and erosion of the paper. Discolourations are mainly due to the type of paper or ink used (the latter has in some cases eroded the paper to such an extent as to form holes) and to the extensive use of metal paperclips or pins. Mechanical stresses and wear are usually observed, such as loss of small parts in some items as well as tears and wears attributable to biological factors. Some items bear visible traces of glue as a result of the use of self-adhesive tape for the temporary repair of tears.

The material was subjected to preventive restoration in the course of its classification. That is, metal staples and paperclips were removed and replaced by special ones that have no impact on the archival material. Wherever possible, items that were previously folded are now kept open; protective paper has been also used.
The physical condition of all items has been recorded in the relevant description field.

Provides information about the characteristics of the index that was produced during the description of the fonds.

A detailed index of the fonds has been compiled on item level.


Indicates the existence and location of copies of the original material.

The Cavafy fonds was microphotographed in 1963, with the support of the historian Vasilis P. Panagiotopoulos and with financial support from Ikaros publications (see: G. P. Savvidis, «To archeio C. P. Cavafy. Mia proti enimerotiki ekthesi», Nea Estia, 74/872 (1 November 1963), p. 1539-1547).

All 158 microfilms were delivered to the Onassis Foundation in 2017. 145 of these microfilms bear the numbering F1 to F146. Microfilm no. 73 is missing. The remaining 13 microfilms contain repeat takes.

The digital reproduction of the original archival material was completed in 2017 (11,086 takes). The 158 microfilms were digitised the same year (4,741 takes). On the basis of the shots that were produced from the digitization of the microfilms and following the comparison carried out making use of an older cataloguing of the fonds (the G. P. Savvidis Historical Catalogue), it was possible to identify the original archival items which were never delivered to the Onassis Foundation although they were part of the microphotographing session that took place in 1963. In the interest of the greatest possible access to archival information, as far as the specific assets are concerned, it was decided that the digital reproduction of the attendant microfilm shots from 1963 should be made available.

Records information about units of description that are related by provenance or other association(s) to the Cavafy Archive fonds and belong to other Institutions.

Archival sources related to the Cavafy fonds are kept at:

Alekos and Rica Singopoulo fonds


1) Manuscripts of Constantine Cavafy (1884-1897), entry no: 201
Origin: “Benaki Museum Friends” association (
2) Manuscripts of Constantine Cavafy (1915-1958), entry no: 231
Origin: Erietta Peridi (
3) Manuscripts of Constantine Cavafy (1917-1935), entry no: 202
Origin: Giorgos Savvidis (


1) Singopoulo, Alekos and Rica (fonds)
2) Calas, Nicolas (fonds)
3) Malanos, Timos (fonds)
4) Agras, Tellos (fonds)
5) Pargas, Stefanos (fonds)
6) Papoutsakis, G. A. (fonds)


Manuscript of Constantine Cavafy [“Betrayal”] (Special Collections Library)


1) Broadsheets C2 (1909-1911) [1917-1920] 2) Broadsheets C3 (1912-) [1918-1920]


1) Offprint (“Ancient days”) [Houghton Library] 2) Offprint (“Waiting for the Barbarians”) [Houghton Library] 3) “Poems 1910” [Houghton Library] 4) “Poems 1910-1917” [Houghton Library] 5) “Poems 1917” [Houghton Library] 6) “Poems 1910-1918” [Houghton Library] 7) “Poems 1908-1914” [Houghton Library] 8) “Poems 1907-1915” [Houghton Library] 9) “Poems 1916-1928” [Houghton Library] 10) “Poems 1916-1918” [Houghton Library] 11) “Poems 1905-1915” [Houghton Library] 12) “Poems 1919-1931” [Houghton Library] 13) “Poems 1919-1932” [Houghton Library] 14) Letter from E.M. Forster to T.S. Eliot (11.3.1924) [Houghton Library]


Manuscript (“Sculptor from Tyana”)

George G. Arnakis Papers (Constantine P. Cavafy, correspondence, 1924, 1928)


For a brief bibliography see the Greek version of this page.


Records the names of the authors of the Archival Documentation.

The description and classification of the archive was implemented by Nikos Koutsoumpos and Alexia Papakosta.

Records the names of the authors of the Literary Documentation.

The literary documentation of the archive was implemented by Alexandros Katsigiannis and Sofia Zisimopoulou.

Records the international rules and conventions on which the description is based.

The description was implemented according to the International Standard Archival Description (General) – second edition, International Council on Archives, Ottawa, 2000. For Greece: Hellenic Society of Greek Archivists (EAE/SGA), April 2002. Translation: Christina Varda, Amalia Pappa, Zisimos Ch. Sinodinos. Editors: Christina Varda, Zisimos Ch. Sinodinos, Athens, 2002.

Indicates the dates when the description of the fonds was prepared.

November 2017-September 2018

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