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Marjorie Bowen papers

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 454

Scope and Contents

The Marjorie Bowen Papers consist of the literary and personal papers of the British writer Gabrielle Margaret Vere Campbell, who published hundreds of works of fiction, historical fiction, and history, as well as reviews and opinion pieces, in the first half of the twentieth century under the pseudonyms Marjorie Bowen, Robert Paye, George R. Preedy, Joseph Shearing, and John Winch. The collection primarily contains manuscripts, typescripts, and printed versions of her writings, with some photographs, press cuttings, and correspondence files that include letters from authors Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Rebecca West. Also in the collection are papers of Bowen's mother, the author and playwright Mrs. Vere Campbell, and son Hilary Long, in particular more than three hundred letters from Bowen to Long.

Bowen was a remarkably prolific author who issued novels, biographical works, and plays in "astonishing profusion" (Times, December 27, 1952), and she had a special interest in romance, fantasy, occult, and supernatural themes and topics. The papers here contain drafts and other versions of certain titles but represent only a portion of her output. Aside from long-form works, Bowen wrote scores of book reviews, short stories, essays and articles, particularly on issues related to women, including education, character, independence, marriage, and child-rearing. Extremely successful and with a reputation as "outspoken," Bowen was often solicited for her opinion on current events and contemporary lifestyles; the collection holds many examples of those shorter writings. She was well regarded by her literary peers and by her great fans, and the collection holds correspondence from those in both categories.

Auxiliary material covers the lives of family members, including Bowen's mother, Josephine Bowen Ellis Campbell, who published under the name Mrs. Vere Campbell, and ancestors in the Bowen, Ellis, and Campbell families. Present are some of Mrs. Campbell's writings and press cuttings, and a small group of letters, photographs, and personal memoirs of the Ellises, who served as Moravian missionaries in the West Indies during the nineteenth century.

Dates

  • 1810 - 1998
  • Majority of material found within 1900 - 1951

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 41 (sound recordings): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Marjorie Bowen Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Bernard Quaritch, Ltd., on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2002.

Arrangement

Organized into three series: I. Writings, 1830-1951. II. Personal Papers, 1810-1951. III. Other Papers, 1889-1998.

Extent

16 Linear Feet (41 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.bowenm

Overview

The Marjorie Bowen Papers consist of the literary and personal papers of the British writer Gabrielle Margaret Vere Campbell, who published hundreds of works of fiction, historical fiction, and history, as well as reviews and opinion pieces, in the first half of the twentieth century. The collection primarily contains manuscripts, typescripts, and printed versions of her writings, with photographs, press cuttings, and some correspondence files that include letters from authors Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Rebecca West. Also in the collection are papers of Bowen's mother, the author and playwright Mrs. Vere Campbell, and Bowen's son Hilary Long, in particular more than three hundred letters from Bowen to Long. The bulk was sent to Long during World War II while he was serving in the King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC), and includes many examples of wartime V-mail.
Auxiliary material covers the lives of family members, including ancestors in the Bowen, Ellis, and Campbell families. Present are three manuscript memoirs of Marjorie Bowen's ancestors: her grandfather, Bishop John Ellis (1785-1855), a Moravian missionary who spent several decades in Antigua, Jamaica, and Barbados, written by his widow; her grandmother Elizabeth Bowen Ellis (1792-1842), written by her son (Bowen's father) Charles Bowen Ellis; and a memoir of Charles Bowen Ellis (1821-1887), also a Moravian minister and missionary, written by one of his siblings.

Marjorie Bowen (1885-1952)

The British author Marjorie Bowen was born Gabrielle Margaret Vere Campbell on Hayling Island, Hampshire, on November 1, 1885, the daughter of Josephine Elisabeth Ellis and Vere Douglas Campbell. An introspective and unhappy child, Bowen was raised by her unstable mother in a series of chaotic and peripatetic Bohemian households in and around London. She studied with John Crompton at the Heatherley School of Art, attended the Slade School of Fine Art (1901-1904), and studied art in Paris, but was largely and intensely self-taught in history, languages, and literature. In 1912 she married a Sicilian man, Zeffrino Emilio Costanzo (died 1916), then a resident of London, with whom she lived in England and Italy and had two children: Paolo Maura (1914-1915) and Michael (born 1916). Her second marriage, to Arthur L. Long, produced two sons, Hilary Blaise and Athelstane. Bowen's autobiography, The Debate Continues,, was published in 1939 under the name Margaret Campbell. She died in a London hospital, following a fall at her home, on December 23, 1952.
Mrs. Vere Campbell (1860-1921) The British author Mrs. Vere Campbell was born Josephine Elisabeth Ellis on July 20, 1860, in Carmarthanshire, Wales, the daughter of Charles Bowen Ellis (1821-1887), a Moravian clergyman, and Priscilla Harson Bayley (1829-1879). Educated at Moravian schools in England and Germany, she married Vere Douglas Campbell (ca. 1854-1905), the alcoholic son and grandson of respected London physicians Hugh Campbell and David Campbell; the couple separated soon after the birth of their third child, Phyllis (born 1891). Mrs. Campbell published less than ten novels and had a few of her plays produced during her lifetime; she died in December 1921.

Custodial History

The papers were formerly the property of Hilary Long, son of Marjorie Bowen.

Separated Materials

Books received with the papers were removed and cataloged separately.

Processing Information

The papers were formerly identified by the call number Uncat MSS 399.
Title
Guide to the Marjorie Bowen Papers
Author
by Sandra Markham
Date
2010
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977