Skip to main content

Alan Pryce-Jones papers

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 513

Scope and Contents

The Alan Pryce-Jones Papers consist of correspondence, diaries, manuscripts and printed versions of writings, photographs, scrapbooks, financial papers and other personal papers of the English writer, editor, and critic Alan Pryce-Jones. They span the years 1857-2000, with the bulk falling between about 1915 and 1990. The papers are organized into four series: Correspondence, Writings, Photographs, and Personal Papers. Groups of Oversize material and Restricted Fragile Papers are also present.

Series I, Correspondence , is organized into two subseries: Alan Pryce-Jones Correspondence and Third Party Correspondence.

Alan Pryce-Jones Correspondence spans the years 1913-1996. Because there is no clear boundary between Pryce-Jones's literary work and personal life, or between his family and friends, his correspondence is arranged in a single alphabetical sequence. It documents his career as a writer and editor, as well as his relationships with immediate and extended family, close friends, and acquaintances.

Pryce-Jones's literary career is documented in correspondence with literary agents, publishers, and contributors to publications and single works he edited, as well as with collaborators and close friends who were also writers. Correspondence from Evan Morgan, for instance, is accompanied by heavily edited copies of Pryce-Jones's poems.

His work with the Times Literary Supplement is documented in one folder of correspondence from other editors and staff members at the Times itself; this includes his work as editor as well as his ongoing relationship with the paper as a contributor after 1959. His work as editor is also documented to a limited extent in more personal correspondence from other editors, and more fully in his correspondence from the many reviewers he worked with and cultivated, and from writers whose work was reviewed.

Pryce-Jones's correspondence also documents his childhood and school experiences, immediate and extended family relationships, and friendships throughout his life with a wide range of well-known figures in England, Europe, and America. Correspondence with his immediate family contains the only substantial quantity of outgoing letters from Pryce-Jones in the collection. These include letters to his parents, his grandmother Victoria Dawnay, and his brother Adrian; in the case of his parents, the bulk of the correspondence is outgoing. Generally these letters to his parents contain detailed accounts of Pryce-Jones's daily life and of those around him, and document his experiences at Eton and Oxford, visits to extended family, his courtship of Thérèse Fould-Springer, his early married life, and other aspects of his life up to the beginning of World War II. (Outgoing letters, here and in the very few other files in which they occur, are interfiled with incoming correspondence.)

In addition to the twenty-five folders of correspondence with his parents, other correspondence from immediate family includes nine folders of letters from Pryce-Jones's first wife, Thérèse, which document their engagement, their life together, and her last illness. Letters from their son David are chiefly from the period after Pryce-Jones moved to America, and to a great extent document David's own career as a writer, in addition to family matters.

The largest volume of correspondence in the collection (thirty-eight folders) is from Mary ("Mollie"), Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, spanning the years 1954-1992. These letters document the close relationship that she and Pryce-Jones shared for forty years. They contain much information about her family, particularly her children and grandchildren, and about mutual friends and relations in the British aristocracy. She sometimes wrote more than once a day and frequently enclosed letters to her from mutual friends and acquaintances. A number of her letters to Pryce-Jones, particularly concentrated in 1956-57, were unopened when the papers were acquired by the Library. These letters have been opened by Library staff, and placed in enclosures indicating this. (A few unopened letters found elsewhere in the series were treated in the same manner.)

Many other close friendships over the course of Pryce-Jones's long life are documented by comparatively fewer, yet not insignificant numbers of letters from each correspondent. Among his more frequent correspondents at various points in his life were David Astor, John Betjeman, Roger de Candolle, Harry and Rosemary D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Billa Harrod, Patrick Kinross, Mary Loder, Harold Nicolson, Vere and Honor Pilkington, Robert Pratt-Barlow, Shirley and LeClare Ratteree, the Sitwells, Stephen Spender, and James Stern, to mention only a few. He also maintained regular correspondence with the extended Fould-Springer family: there are substantial files of letters from his mother-in-law Mary Wooster; sisters-in-law Liliane de Rothschild and Hélène Propper de Callejon; brother-in-law Baron Max Fould-Springer; their spouses and children; and from Cecile and Clarice de Rothschild.

Pryce-Jones was long established within the most prominent twentieth- century literary and social circles, and he was well connected in the classical music world as well. Consequently, his correspondence also includes single or small quantities of letters from a considerable number of well-known figures. In addition to writers and intellectuals of high standing on both sides of the Atlantic, British and European royalty and aristocracy are well represented, as is American high society. His correspondents reflect the broad spectrum of his social and professional experience, ranging from George Bernard Shaw to Eudora Welty; from Winston Churchill to Elsa Maxwell; from Princess Margaret to Lincoln Kirstein; and including nearly everyone imaginable in between.

Several folders of letters from unidentified correspondents, or from those identified only by first name, are present at the end of the subseries.

(A small amount of correspondence from banks, financial advisors, legal representatives, and insurance agents, as well as from contractors and other tradespeople, can be found in Series IV. This body of correspondence was present within a distinct group of files documenting Pryce-Jones's financial affairs; as such, it was kept among those files rather than interfiled with the main correspondence series. There is, therefore, some overlap between Series I and Series IV, as a small amount of correspondence from financial and legal representatives and tradespeople can be found throughout Series I, chiefly but not exclusively in the "letter general" files.)

The second subseries, Third Party Correspondence, spans the years 1876 to 1994, and contains letters to and from members of Pryce-Jones's family, his friends, and the editors who preceded him at The London Mercury and the Times Literary Supplement. It is arranged alphabetically under headings for each recipient for whom multiple letters are present, with a final heading for Other Third Party Correspondence, which contains single letters to and from other parties. Correspondents include Pryce-Jones's parents Henry and Vere Pryce-Jones; his brother Adrian; his son David; his cousin Mary Loder; his first wife Thérèse Fould-Springer Pryce-Jones and her siblings; his mother-in-law Mary Wooster; his grandmother Lady Victoria Dawnay and her sisters Louisa, Countess of Antrim and Mary, Countess of Minto; his second wife Mary Jean Kempner; George Dix; Larry Hudson; Mary ("Mollie"), Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry; Sir John Collings Squire; and Stanley Morrison.

Letters to and from family members and close friends are largely personal, although many letters are from well-known figures such as Lord Kitchener or Noël Coward. Many of the letters to Pryce-Jones's parents favorably discuss his early writings. Correspondence to Squire and Morrison is chiefly from contributors to the Mercury and the Times Literary Supplement, respectively. These include, for example, Max Beerbohm, Lord Alfred Douglas, and Siegfried Sassoon, among others.

Series II, Writings is organized into twelve subseries: Books; Short Stories; Essays, Lectures and Radio Appearances; Reviews; Obituaries, Eulogies, and Tribute Speeches; Lyrics, Libretti and Plays; Poetry; Juvenilia; Translations and Edited Works; Scrapbooks; Notebooks; and Writings of Others. The series spans circa 1914 to 1996. Writings in all genres from the period before 1927 are filed in the Juvenilia subseries.

For many of the subseries, the Scrapbooks and Notebooks subseries should be considered addenda, as they contain additional material for each genre. The Scrapbooks, in particular, contain numerous printed versions of poetry, essays, stories, and reviews by Pryce-Jones, intermingled on the pages. They also contain the majority of reviews of Pryce-Jones's writings. Because of the quantity of material in the scrapbooks, cross references have not been created from the other subseries.

Pryce-Jones used several pseudonyms in his career. A few letters in Series I addressed to "Marigold" suggest that he may have written under that name in the 1930s, although no writings signed "Marigold" appear in this series. Arthur Pumphrey, the pseudonym under which he published Pink Danube in 1939, appears also as the byline for some of the shorter works later in his career. He used the pseudonym George Cloyne beginning in the late 1950s and chiefly during his tenure at the Ford Foundation, which forbade its advisors to publish their own writings.

The first subseries, Books, spans 1932-1969 and is organized under two headings: Fiction and Non-Fiction. Material under Fiction includes the holograph draft and related material for Pryce-Jones's 1932 collection of stories, People in the South (published in the U.S. under the title Hot Places); the holograph manuscript and some related material for Pink Danube; and a draft titled Seven Against Thebes. Material under Non-Fiction includes drafts, reviews, and other related material for Pryce-Jones's travel book The Spring Journey (1932), his biography of Beethoven (1932), his memoir The Bonus of Laughter (1987), and Private Opinion: A Commonplace Book (1936). It also includes contracts for a few other works for which no drafts are present. (As with works in other subseries, many reviews of Pryce-Jones's books can also be found in the Scrapbooks.)

Short Stories, the second subseries, contains drafts and printed versions of individual short stories. It is arranged alphabetically by title, with untitled drafts and fragments at the end of the sequence, and includes both drafts and printed versions. The stories are largely undated, but the date span is approximately 1927 through 1977. (Additional short stories can be found in the Scrapbooks, particularly in the scrapbook containing Pryce-Jones's writings published in The Sketch in the early 1930s (Box 66, folder 2430).)

The third subseries, Essays, Lectures and Radio Appearances, spans approximately 1929 to 1974. It contains a large volume of individual essays, lectures, and radio scripts in both draft and printed form. Because it is often difficult to discern for which forum a particular draft was intended, the drafts have been listed in a single alphabetical sequence, by title; two notebooks of holograph drafts are filed at the end of the alphabetical sequence, followed by Untitled Drafts and Fragments, Notes, and Related Material.

Many of the pieces in this subseries document BBC appearances, including a long series called "Month in New York," a commentary on current events in New York City, which aired between 1967 and 1972. The majority of the lectures identifiable as such are variations on the theme of twentieth century literature; another common theme is the experience of moving to America from England. Other pieces, including many essays, are critical studies of or introductions to works by individual writers; some are commentary on literature, society, and occaisionally politics, including a number of pieces for the column "Viewpoint" in the Times. Also present are transcripts of on-air conversations and interviews, and lighter essays which appeared in such publications as Mademoiselle or House and Garden.

Notes may be either lecture notes or preliminary outlines for more formal, written pieces. Related Material includes itineraries from two lecture tours, in Scandinavia and Japan; contracts with lecture agencies; and printed notices of speaking appearances.

(There is unavoidably some overlap between the content of the Essays, Lectures and Radio Appearances subseries and that of the following subseries, Reviews. The line between critical essays and reviews can be fine; for the most part, pieces about an author in general or about an older work, such as Wagner's Ring Cycle, are filed in Essays, Lectures and Radio Appearances, while writings about specific, recently published books or specific productions of musical or theatrical works are filed under Reviews. However, Pryce-Jones himself did not always make such distinctions, including, for instance, the occasional casual review of specific theatre productions in his "Month in New York" BBC talks, and sometimes using his review column in Theatre Arts, which is filed in the Reviews subseries, for more generalized comment. Additionally, a few essays are bound with his writings for the London Mercury, which are filed with Reviews.)

The fourth subseries, Reviews, contains Pryce-Jones's reviews of literature, theater, and music, and spans the years 1928 to 1996. It is organized under two headings: Review Columns and Regular Assignments; and Other Reviews. Material under the first heading, Review Columns and Regular assignments, is chiefly printed, and is arranged under subheadings for the name of the publication or agency; the subheadings are arranged alphabetically, while the reviews are arranged chronologically by date of publication within each folder. The one exception to this is material under the subheading for the British Broadcasting Company, which is chiefly in draft form; this is arranged alphabetically by the name of the author of the work reviewed.

Pryce-Jones's writings for the London Mercury are bound in two volumes, in rough chronological order. Writings for the Mercury are chiefly reviews, but also include a few poems, essays, and stories. Also present under Review Columns and Regular Assignments are substantial files of Pryce-Jones's review columns in the Observer, the New York Herald Tribune and Theatre Arts. Other reviews appeared regularly in the New York Times and other New York papers, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Sun Times, and in London newspapers including the Times and the Sunday Telegraph.

Material under the second heading, Other Reviews, includes drafts of reviews for which the intended publication is not known, and printed reviews which appeared in publications to which Pryce-Jones was not a regular contributor or for which only a few of his reviews are present. The drafts, and accompanying printed versions when present, are arranged alphabetically by name of the author of the work reviewed, with one notebook of holograph drafts filed at the end of the alphabetical sequence. These are followed by reviews for which only proofs or printed versions are present; these are arranged alphabetically by author of the work reviewed within each folder. Printed reviews include some unsigned reviews which may have been written by Pryce-Jones. (Unsigned reviews printed in the Times Literary Supplement are filed with signed reviews by Pryce-Jones in that publication.) Theatre and music reviews of entire festivals or of a company's full season are filed under the title of the event or company.

Obituaries, Eulogies, and Tribute Speeches includes drafts and printed versions, and spans 1946 through 1994. The intention or nature of some of the pieces is not clear; for instance, the piece on John Betjeman may have been read at an event in the poet's honor during his lifetime. Included here are Pryce-Jones's obituaries of Harold Acton, Osbert Sitwell, Robert Graves, W. H. Auden, and Aldous Huxley, among others.

Lyrics, Libretti, and Plays, the sixth subseries in Series II, spans the years 1940-62, and contains drafts of the libretto, a facsimile of the score, and related material for Lennox Berkeley's opera Nelson, as well as drafts and related material for the musical Vanity Fair, which was a collaboration between Pryce-Jones, Robin Miller, and Julian Slade. Other works include a play about the history of the London Times, titled "The Masque;" lyrics for "Travellers," written to accompany a composition by Patrick Hadley; and a radio play titled "A Year I Remember," as well as several untitled drafts.

The seventh subseries, Poetry, contains poems written between 1927 and at least the 1970s, with the exeption of a single poem dated 1925 which occurs within a group of other poems. (Poems written before 1927 are filed in the Juvenilia subseries.) Poetry is organized under four headings: Printed Collections, Groups, Individual Poems, and Poetry Written with Others. Printed Collections include copies of Pryce-Jones's three published poetry collections, 1935-73. Drafts of poems published in the printed collections can be found under both Groups and Individual Poems.

Groups includes three groups of drafts and printed poems that Pryce-Jones seems to have culled himself from the greater body of his poetry for submission to a publisher or for some other purpose, and may represent what he considered his best work. Individual Poems includes a large number of single poems, both in draft form and printed. These are filed alphabetically by title, with two notebooks of holograph drafts filed at the end of the alphabetical sequence. Under the final heading in this subseries, Poems Written With Others, are drafts of two group efforts, one of them co-authored by Brian Howard, among others.

(Additional poem drafts can be found in the Diaries and Notebooks. A few additional printed poems can be found in the subseries Reviews, bound with Pryce-Jones's reviews printed in the London Mercury, and in the Scrapbooks.)

The eighth subseries, Juvenilia, contains poetry, short stories, essays, plays, and translations that Pryce-Jones wrote in his childhood and while at school. It includes writings from about 1914 through about 1926, when he left Eton, with the exception of a small number of poems dated 1927, which occur in a group of other poems. Juvenilia is organized under two headings: Bound Volumes and Groups, and Individual Works, each of which is arranged chronologically.

Bound Volumes and Groups includes pieces chosen and arranged by Pryce-Jones or his parents, and, as with similar groups in the Poetry subseries, may represent what they considered his best work. Individual Works contains some pieces that are also in the Bound Volumes and Groups. Under both headings are holograph and typescript drafts, printed versions in Eton magazines, and printed versions of the poems for which he won the school's Hervey prize.

Translations and Edited Works comprise the ninth subseries. Filed here are Pryce-Jones's translations into English of the work of other writers between the late 1940s and 1974. These include a draft of his translation of Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier"; several drafts of Jules Supervielle's "Scheherazade," translated for a BBC broadcast; drafts of Dvorak's "Tvrde Palace," translated for a production in Newport, Rhode Island; and drafts of a translation of another of Supervielle's works, "Le Voleur d'enfants."

Edited Works are represented by notes, outlines, and contracts for several anthologies of twentieth-century writing that Pryce-Jones edited in the 1960s. No material is present from Little Innocents, the anthology of childhood reminiscences he compiled and edited in 1932. That work is documented by reviews found in the Scrapbooks, described below, and in Series I, in letters from the contributing authors.

The tenth subseries, Scrapbooks, contains five scrapbooks which span the years 1931 to 1963. They are arranged chronologically. The first scrapbook, in Box 66, folder 2429, contains reviews of Pryce-Jones's writings published between 1931 and 1934, including The Spring Journey, People in the South, Little Innocents, and appearances of his poetry. It also includes a few reviews by Pryce-Jones during this period; the essay "Arrival in Bolivia," printed in The Listener; and his appearances in gossip columns and society pages. In this final category are notices and photographs of his marriage to Thérèse Fould-Springer in 1934.

The second scrapbook, in Box 66, folder 2430, spans 1931 to 1947. It contains chiefly Pryce-Jones's writings for The Sketch between 1931 and 1938, but also contains printed appearances of poems, stories, essays, and reviews in other publications, including the London Mercury, Life and Letters Today, and the Times Literary Supplement. The pieces in The Sketch include essays, short stories, and travelogues, although often they are a hybrid of the three. Items from 1943 to 1947 are chiefly reviews by Pryce-Jones, including columns titled "New Novels" and "Books in General," the latter in The New Statesman and Nation.

The third scrapbook, in Box 67, folder 2431, spans the years 1933 to 1939, and contains reviews of Beethoven; Twenty-Seven Poems; Private Opinion; Pink Danube; and appearances of short stories and essays, particularly an essay on Max Reinhardt which appeared in the anthology Twelve Jews. It also contains the essay "Festival City," published in Vogue in 1935.

The fourth scrapbook, in Box 67, folder 2432, contains reviews and essays by Pryce-Jones published in The Times Literary Supplement, The New Statesman and Nation and other publications in 1951 and 1952. The reviews in the Times Literary Supplement are not signed, but may be assumed to be by Pryce-Jones because of his inclusion of them here among his other writings. This scrapbook also includes a review of Patrick Hadley's "Travellers," for which Pryce-Jones supplied the lyrics, and lecture notices.

The fifth scrapbook, in Box 68, folder 2433, spans the years 1961 to 1963, and contains printed reviews by Pryce-Jones, including many from the New York Herald Tribune. It also contains reviews of Vanity Fair and lecture notices.

The eleventh subseries, Notebooks, contains six notebooks and a small quantity of loose notes. One of the notebooks contains draft fragments of the opera Nelson and a draft of a play about Pryce-Jones's marriage to Thérèse Fould-Springer and their life in Central Europe before the war, among other notes. Most of the notebooks contain a mix of notes from readings, draft fragments of poems and essays, and outlines and notes which are possibly for issues of the Times Literary Supplement. Also in most of the notebooks are miscellaneous personal notes, such as lists of furniture and artwork, addresses, and grocery lists. The loose notes are likewise a mix of miscellaneous outlines and lists. Also present here are holograph notes removed from Pryce-Jones's copy of Charles Du Bos's Journal, which is cataloged separately.

Writings of Others, the final subseries in Series II, contains poems, essays and other short writings by Pryce-Jones's friends, family, and literary colleagues, spanning the years 1926-1969. Authors included are his uncle Alan Dawnay, his friend Evan Morgan (Viscount Tredegar), and his second wife Mary Jean Kempner, as well as London Mercury editor J. C. Squire, and Gay Talese, among others. Writings of others can also be found throughout Series I, Correspondence, accompanying letters from the authors. Cross-references are provided in the box list from this subseries to Series I for writings by well-known authors.

Series III, Photographs , is organized into four subseries: Alan Pryce-Jones; Friends and Family; Unidentified People; and Places. The first subseries is arranged roughly chronologically, and contains formal portraits, snapshots, and passport photographs of Alan Pryce-Jones taken between 1908 and the late 1990s. It also includes one album, which contains photographs of his parents and his brother Adrian in addition to numerous individual portraits of Pryce-Jones from infancy through his time at Eton. Also present here are photographs of Alan Pryce-Jones with unidentified friends, and two photographs of him with others on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1957.

The second subseries, Friends and Family, is arranged alphabetically by name of chief subject, and contains largely snapshots, many of which include Pryce-Jones. His presence in group photographs is noted in a folder note for each occurence. This subseries includes formal portraits of Thérèse Fould-Springer Pryce-Jones, Mary Jean Kempner Pryce-Jones, David Pryce-Jones, and Elie and Liliane de Rothschild, and Evan Morgan, among others, as well as snapshots of a wide range of Pryce-Jones's close friends and relations. These include a number of snapshots of the Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry and her family. Also present are several groups of photographs, including one group taken at W. Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque and one taken at a party given by Cyril Connolly, both in 1933.

The third subseries, Unidentified People, contains individual photographs and groups of photographs which do not include Pryce-Jones.

The fourth subseries, Places, contains photographs of several houses in which Pryce-Jones lived, including a reproduction of a nineteenth- or early twentieth-century view of his primary Newport residence, 46 John Street, and postcards of many of his family's and the Fould-Springer family's homes, among others. It also contains travel photographs of Japan and South America, and other unidentified locations.

Series IV, Personal Papers , is organized into six subseries: Diaries; Financial Papers; Official Documents and Related Material; Professional (Non-Literary) Work; Other Papers; and Family Papers. It spans the years 1857-2000.

The first subseries, Diaries, is organized under two headings: Journal Diaries and Engagement Calendars. Journal Diaries contains holograph and typescript diaries written between 1918 and 1992. For the earliest diaries (1918-26), there is a small amount of overlap with Pryce-Jones's pocket calendars and school assignment notebooks, both under the second heading, Engagement Calendars. Some of these early calendars contain a few narrative diary entries.

The Journal Diaries are holograph bound volumes until about 1955, after which they are chiefly typescript and were clearly kept in looseleaf binders. For many of the diaries, Pryce-Jones created an index of places he had been, either at the beginning or the end of the volume. Pryce-Jones's diaries document personal aspects of his life from his childhood through his early eighties. Although he did not write every day, they are a fair guide to his movements, relationships with family and friends, and events in his life. While the earlier diaries, through the 1930s, do contain drafts of poems, the diaries are for the most part a detailed record of Pryce-Jones's travels, including short visits, extended journeys, and lecture tours; and of his social life, including accounts of dinners, luncheons, and parties attended, often with lists and descriptions of others present. Entries are chiefly long narrative accounts of the preceding day, days or weeks, although some are merely brief notes. There are some gaps in time, the largest of these being during World War II, although he did write occasionally during this time, and after the death of his first wife. A portion of one diary (1930-31) is corrected in pencil and is followed by an edited typescript version titled "Andean Diary."

Engagement Calendars contains Pryce-Jones's pocket and desk calendars from 1922 to 1995, and a few notebooks in which he recorded homework assignments at Eton between 1920 and 1924. The Eton assignment notebooks are arranged chronologically at the beginning of the group, followed by the pocket and desk calendars, which are likewise arranged chronologically. Pryce-Jones frequently kept more than one calendar for the same year, although there are also periods of time not represented. Two of the calendars, "Year by Year" calendars, are designed to cover five-year periods of time; these are filed in the chronological sequence by the first year they represent. Most of the calendars contain phone numbers and other miscellaneous memoranda in addition to appointment information. One calendar kept by Thérèse Pryce-Jones is present, for 1938.

The second subseries, Financial Papers, documents Pryce-Jones's financial and legal affairs, and to some extent those of his family, between 1932 and 1996. It is organized under five headings: Correspondence and Statements; Insurance; Residence and Property Files; Medical Records; and Bills and Receipts.

Material under the first heading, Correspondence and Statements, includes correspondence with banks, accountants, and legal representatives concerning income, taxes, and the management of several trusts for which Pryce-Jones was executor or trustee, as well as actual statements of income and credit. This includes information about the estates of Robert Pratt-Barlow and Mary Jean Kempner, a trust fund belonging to Vere Dawnay Pryce-Jones, and Pryce-Jones's efforts after World War II to recover property of his mother-in-law, Mary Wooster. (Additional information about the Pratt-Barlow trust can be found in Pryce-Jones's correspondence with Roger de Candolle and Ian Whigam, in Series I.)

Under the second heading, Insurance, there is a small amount of correspondence with insurance agents, particularly in Newport, but the bulk of this material is policies for health, life, and property insurance between 1936 and 1995. The papers are arranged alphabetically by the name of the insurer.

Material under the third heading, Residence and Property Files, is arranged chronologically by dates of residence or ownership. While the contents vary for each property, the files generally contain information about the purchase or lease, renovation, and management of Pryce-Jones's homes and other property between 1942 and 1994. This includes correspondence with agents and attorneys, as well as estimates and bills from contractors. Files for his flats at the Albany in London, for instance, contain information about various sublease agreements and the enventual transfer of one of the leases to Isaiah Berlin, as well as detailed bills for decorating work. Files for his Newport homes document the renovation and historic restoration work done there, while files for his commercial Newport properties document a protracted zoning dispute in the 1970s-80s. More information about his properties and domestic arrangements can be found in correspondence from his housekeeper, Doris Gibbins Mercer, in Series I.

Medical Records contains two folders of medical bills and information, including some correspondence from doctors, as well as prescriptions, hospital and lab reports, and pharmacy receipts from the late 1940s through 1994.

Bills and Reciepts is aranged alphabetically, and documents purchases of everything from fine art to bath towels, donations to charities and cultural organizations, shipping and storage of personal property, and travel, dating from the 1930s but chiefly for the latter part of Pryce-Jones's life.

(As noted in the description of Series I, Correspondence, there is a small amount of overlap between Financial Papers and Series I. For instance, while some royalty statements are present here in Financial Papers, further information about earnings from writings can be found in correspondence from literary agents and publishers throughout Series I. Additionally, Series I contains a small amount of correspondence from attorneys, contractors and other business people.)

The third subseries in Series IV, Official Documents and Related Material, spans 1922 through 2000. It contains Pryce-Jones's passports and driver's licenses; a 1941 curriculum vita; military papers; immigration documents; copies of his birth certificate; and several versions of his will. Related material includes reports to his parents from Eton, announcements of his first marriage, and a draft biographical entry form for submission to Debrett's, among other papers. Also present is the program for a memorial service for Alan Pryce-Jones in 2000.

Professional (Non-Literary) Work contains documentation of aspects of Pryce-Jones's career other than writing and editing. This includes his brief political candidacy in 1939, his military intelligence work during World War II, and his work for the Ford Foundation in the early 1960s. There is only a small amount of material in each of these three categories.

The one folder of material from his Liberal Party candidacy includes a speech draft, Party newsletters containing statements from him, and advertising material. More information about his candidacy can be found in Series I, in correspondence with the Louth Liberal Association. Material documenting Pryce-Jones's work as an intelligence officer during the war includes an anonymous tip mailed from France, a copy of an intercepted German communication about St. Vincent Troubridge, and a teletype exchange between the historian Eric Birley and another operator. His work for the Ford Foundation is documented by his notes from several conferences and one draft report to the Foundation.

Other Papers is organized under six headings: Address Books; Lists of Possessions; Memberships and Affiliations; Drawings; Clippings and Printed Ephemera; and Miscellaneous.

Under the first heading, Address Books, fourteen address books are arranged in rough chronological order, as far as that was possible to determine. The entries date from 1934 to at least the late 1980s. The first address book, a wedding present, chiefly contains entries by Thérèse Pryce-Jones. Other address books also contain entries made by Thérèse, and one address book contains a few entries possibly made by Pryce-Jones's second wife Mary Jean Kempner. Also under this heading are a folder of loose notes of addresses and telephone numbers, and a folder of business and calling cards.

Under the heading Lists of Possessions are a bound volume listing wedding presents from Pryce-Jones's first marriage in 1934, lists made by his first wife Thérèse Pryce-Jones for their homes in Vienna and England, and lists of items in storage, made in 1964 and possibly later by his housekeeper Doris Gibbins Mercer. (A few similar lists of objects, artwork, and household possessions can be found in the Notebooks in Series II.)

Material under Memberships and Affiliations includes membership cards and related documentation of Pryce-Jones's membership in private clubs, literary and theatre societies, and arts, historic preservation, and charitable organizations, among others. Also under this heading are programs, menus, and invitations from Court and social events, and gift subscription lists.

Drawings include one portrait by Evan Morgan (Viscount Tredegar) of an unidentified person, and five other drawings by unidentified artists. One of these is possibly a set design, perhaps for the opera Nelson or the musical Vanity Fair.

Clippings and Printed Ephemera is organized under two headings: APJ in the press, and Other Subjects. Under the first heading are clippings which are about or which mention Pryce-Jones from 1933 through the 1980s. They are arranged chronologically, and document both his career as a writer and his appearances in the society pages and gossip columns of London and New York. There are several feature articles on him as a cultural figure in Newport in his later years. (Further appearances of Pryce-Jones in newspapers and magazines can be found in his scrapbooks in Series II (Boxes 66-68).)

Under the second heading, Other Subjects, are clippings concerning Pryce-Jones's friends and family members as well as a variety of subjects of interest to him; obituaries and memorial service programs of friends and some family members; and printed ephemera including theatre programs, flyers advertising books, church bulletins, and annotated gift catalogs. Material under this heading is arranged alphabetically by category of material.

Miscellaneous material under the final heading in this subseries includes curriculum vitae of others, a transcript of a séance, and a prospectus for a rental house in Portugal written by Pryce-Jones's stepson Daniel Thorne.

The subseries Family Papers contains small amounts of information documenting the lives of Pryce-Jones's immediate and extended family between 1857 and 1988. It is organized under four headings: Dawnay Family, Grey Family, Pryce-Jones Family, and Springer/Fould-Springer Family. It includes manuscript notes and clippings about the lives and characters of Lewis Payan Dawnay, several members of the Grey family, and Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones. Genealogical information about the Grey family is also present, including a chart showing a direct line of descent from Pocahontas to Pryce-Jones's great-grandmother Caroline Farquhar Grey. An 1857 passport for Caroline Farquhar Grey is also present.

Material concerning Pryce-Jones's immediate family includes clippings and an invitation from his parents' marriage; certificates of cremation for his parents; reports from Eton about David Pryce-Jones; and clippings about David and his family. It also includes a manuscript press release concerning the death of Mary Jean Kempner Pryce-Jones, a printed obituary, and a draft of the program for her memorial service.

Under the final heading in Family Papers is a printed booklet about the history of the Fould-Springers' house in Meidling and its fate after the Second World War. It contains a section about the family which mentions Pryce-Jones.

Finally, the collection contains groups of Oversize and Restricted Fragile material. Oversize material is included in the series descriptions for each of the four series above, and is listed in the box and folder list for each series with cross references to the listing of Oversize boxes, in which it is physically stored. For all Restricted Fragile Papers, reference surrogates have been provided in the main body of the collection. Access to the material stored in Restricted Fragile Papers is possible only by permission of the curator.

Dates

  • 1857 - 2000
  • Majority of material found within 1915 - 1990

Creator

Language

English

Physical Description

Other Storage Formats: 1 broadside folder, cold storage

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 69-71, and items in cold storage: Restricted fragile material. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Alan Pryce-Jones Papers are 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 Bertram Rota Ltd. on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 1989, and Gifts of Alan Pryce-Jones, 1991-98.

Extent

33.2 Linear Feet (72 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.prycejon

Overview

The Alan Pryce-Jones papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts and printed versions of writings, family papers, diaries, financial papers, scrapbooks, photographs and other personal papers.
Series I., Correspondence, includes letters from literary colleagues and acquaintances, family, and friends. It documents Pryce-Jones's career as a writer and editor, including many substantive letters from other writers and editors about their work. It also documents his family history, family relationships, and his social life as a member of the English and European aristocracy and, later in life, of American high society. Major correspondents, beyond Pryce-Jones's immediate family, include the Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry and Sir John Betjeman, among many others. Some third-party correspondence is also present.
Series II., Writings, contains drafts and printed versions of Pryce-Jones's writings in many genres from throughout his long career. In addition to a large quantity of essays and reviews of literature, music, and theatre, the series includes juvenilia, novels, stories, memoirs, travel books, biographies, translations, poetry, plays, and libretti.
Series III., Photographs, contains a photograph album of childhood portraits, as well as snapshots and formal portraits of Pryce-Jones from childhood through his eighties. The series also contains images of his family and friends, including two groups of photos taken at the homes of W. Somerset Maugham and Cyril Connolly.
Series IV., Personal Papers, includes diaries, financial papers, family papers, and a few papers relating to Pryce-Jones's military work in MI14 during World War II and his brief political candidacy in 1939. It also includes files relating to renovation and restoration of Pryce-Jones's homes, particularly in Newport, and other personal papers such as address books and travel itineraries.

Alan Pryce-Jones

Heralded as one of the most promising writers of his generation in the early 1930s, Alan Pryce-Jones made his mark on twentieth century literature as an editor and critic, most significantly as editor of the Times Literary Supplement in the 1950s. A member of both the social and the intellectual elite in Britain, Europe and America, he lived his life on a large scale, finding success in what pleased him most: literature, music, travel, and society.

Alan Payan Pryce-Jones was born in London on November 18, 1908. He was the first child of Henry Morris Pryce-Jones, a colonel in the Army's Coldstream Guards and son of Welsh textile manufacturer Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones, and Vere Dawnay Pryce-Jones, granddaughter of Charles Grey, Private Secretary to Queen Victoria. His only sibling, Adrian, was born in 1919. The family lived near Buckingham Palace in Pryce-Jones's childhood, moving to a residence in Windsor Castle when his father joined the King's Body Guard in the 1920s. Pryce-Jones was close to his parents, and also to his maternal grandmother, Lady Victoria Dawnay, sister of the fourth Earl Grey. With her, he was a frequent guest throughout his early life in the great houses and castles of numerous titled relations.

He was educated at Eton, where he displayed a strong interest in and talent for music and literature, winning the school's Hervey prize for English Literature three years in a row. By his own account a precocious talent, he was encouraged by his parents and by critics to whom they sent his writings. After Eton he spent several months at Montbazon, in Touraine, France, before entering Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1927. Apparently without even a pretense of study, he enjoyed a busy social life at Oxford with new friends such as John Betjeman, and was sent down before the end of his second term.

Despite this unpromising exit from academia, in 1928 Pryce-Jones was offered an unpaid position as assistant editor of The London Mercury. He remained there, under editor J. C. Squire, until 1932, building a network of literary connections and earning money by writing for other publications.

During this period Pryce-Jones also began to travel extensively with a friend of the family, Robert Pratt-Barlow. Pratt-Barlow introduced him to Sicily, the Middle East and Eastern Europe in 1930. The two travelled to South America in 1931, and to Africa in 1932. From these experiences came Pryce-Jones's first two books, The Spring Journey (1931), an account of his travels in the Middle East, and People in the South (1932), a collection of stories set in South America. Both were very well received, and they, along with his Beethoven (1932) and Little Innocents (1932), earned Pryce-Jones literary celebrity by the age of twenty-four.

After leaving the Mercury, Pryce-Jones wrote for the illustrated paper The Sketch, among other publications. He based himself in London, but continued to travel often. In December 1932 he became engaged to Joan Eyres-Monsell, the sister of an Eton friend, but the disapproval of her parents gradually put an end to this attachment. Not long afterwards, while spending the winter of 1933-34 in Vienna, Pryce-Jones met Baroness Thérèse Fould-Springer.

Called "Poppy" by those close to her, Thérèse Fould-Springer was the daughter of Baroness Mary ("Mitzi") Springer (later Mrs. Frank Wooster) and the late Baron Eugène Fould, and heir, with her three siblings, to a vast inheritence including estates in France, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. With the enthusiastic approval of her mother and stepfather, Thérèse and Alan Pryce-Jones were engaged in September of 1934, and married on December 28 at Royaumont, one of the family's homes near Paris.

After their wedding, the couple lived in the Fould-Springers' house in Meidling, outside Vienna. Their only child, David, was born there on February 15, 1936. That same year, Pryce-Jones's Private Opinion: a Commonplace Book was published. Despite a comfortable life in Austria, by 1937 Thérèse's Jewish background made it unwise to remain there, and they moved to England at the end of that year.

Back in England, Pryce-Jones finished his first novel, Pink Danube, which was published in 1939 under the pseudonym Arthur Pumphrey. He ran as the Liberal Party's candidate for Louth, in Lincolnshire, in 1939, but his political career was cut short by the outbreak of the Second World War. He began the war as a captain in the 4th Hussars, and served briefly in France before transferring to MI14 in 1940. As an intelligence officer, he remained in London until 1945, although his family moved to Tonbridge, Kent after their London home was damaged by bombs in 1942. Following final assignments in Italy and Vienna, Lieutenant-Colonel Pryce-Jones was discharged in 1946.

After the war, Pryce-Jones joined the staff of the Times Literary Supplement. He became assistant editor in 1947, and was chosen to succeed Stanley Morrison as editor in 1948. He remained in this post for eleven years, earning the highest praise from his contemporaries. He is credited with significantly revitalizing the publication--and with it English literary culture--by broadening its scope to include work by European and American writers, and by raising the quality of the reviews.

Early in Pryce-Jones's tenure at the Times, his wife became seriously ill following a miscarriage. After several years of struggle against what was eventually diagnosed as cancer, Thérèse died in February 1953, in Paris. Pryce-Jones remained very close to her family for the rest of his life. He also maintained close ties with the Rothschilds, relations by marriage through Thérèse's younger sister Liliane, Baroness Elie de Rothschild.

Throughout the late 1940s and '50s, Pryce-Jones led a busy life, both professionally and personally. In addition to his work at the Times, he travelled throughout the world on lecture tours for the British Council, made frequent appearances on BBC radio and television, translated, among other works, Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier (1947), and wrote the libretto for Lennox Berkeley's opera Nelson (1954). He was a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, the Old Vic Trust, and the Royal Literary Fund, among other such duties. He converted to Catholicism in 1950. Several years after his wife's death, he began to see a great deal of his distant cousin Mary ("Mollie"), Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, who remained his close confidante until her death in 1993.

Pryce-Jones voluntarily stepped down as editor of the Times Literary Supplement in 1959, in order to pursue fresh challenges. He became theater critic for The Observer for a year, while its regular critic Kenneth Tynan was on leave in New York, and then accepted an offer to go to New York himself for a short time as an adviser to the Ford Foundation, in 1960. A widower for some years, with both parents now deceased and his son grown, Pryce-Jones had few responsibilities in England, and soon decided to stay in America permanently.

He did not remain with the Ford Foundation long, preferring to resume his own writing career. He collaborated on a musical version of Vanity Fair with Robin Miller and Julian Slade, which premiered in London in 1962. He became a literary critic for the New York Herald Tribune, and, after it folded, the World Journal Tribune and the Washington Post. He also had a column in Theatre Arts, and wrote for a wide range of other publications. Throughout the 1960s and '70s, he appeared frequently on BBC radio both as a reviewer and as a commentator on American life, and continued to lecture through the British Council and other agencies.

In 1963 Pryce-Jones purchased two small houses in Newport, Rhode Island, which he renovated extensively. A third house made possible extended visits by friends and family from abroad, and throughout the 1960s he divided his time between New York and Newport. In 1968, he married Mary Jean Kempner Thorne, a journalist and member of a prominent Galveston, Texas, family. A year later, she became ill while vacationing in Portugal and was rushed to the American Hospital in Paris, where she died, in September 1969, of aplastic anaemia. After her death, Pryce-Jones remained close to her mother and to his stepson, Daniel Thorne, Mary Jean's only child by her first marriage.

Pryce-Jones moved to Newport permanently in the 1970s. He spent part of each year abroad with family and friends, particularly with his son David and daughter-in-law Clarissa (Caccia), their three children, and the extended Fould-Springer family. He traveled frequently, most often with the Duchess of Buccleuch or Cecile de Rothschild, but also with Larry Hudson, his close companion in later years.

Pryce-Jones continued to write and review throughout the rest of his life, on a wide variety of subjects. In 1987 his memoir, The Bonus of Laughter was published in England. He died January 22, 2000, in Galveston, Texas.

For more information about Pryce-Jones's family connections, see the Appendix. See also his memoir, The Bonus of Laughter.

Physical Description

Other Storage Formats: 1 broadside folder, cold storage

Appendix: Family Trees

Note: These family trees are not complete. They are intended to aid research by clarifying relationships between people represented in the collection.

GREY FAMILY
1 Charles Grey (1729-1807), 1st Earl Grey m. Elizabeth Grey
2 ..Charles Grey (1764-1845), 2nd Earl Grey m. Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby
3 ....Henry Grey (1802-1894), 3rd Earl Grey
3 ....(other children)
3 ....Charles Grey (1804-1870) m. Caroline Eliza Farquhar (d.1890)
4 ......Albert Henry Grey (1851-1917), 4th Earl Grey m. Alice Holford
5 ........Victoria Grey (b.1878) m. Arthur Grenfell
4 ......Sybil Mary Grey (d.1871) m. William de Vere Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans
5 ........Louisa de Vere Beauclerk (1869-1949) m. Gerald Loder, Lord Wakehurst
6 ..........Mary Loder
6 ..........(other children)
5 ........Mary Sybil de Vere Beauclerk (1871-1910) m. William Lascelles
6 ..........Diana Lascelles (b.1904) m. Daly
6 ..........Vreda Esther Mary ("Mollie") Lascelles (1901-1993) m.1921 Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry
7 ............Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott (b.1923), Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry m. Jane McNeill
8 ..............(children)
7 ............Elizabeth Montagu-Douglas-Scott (b.1922) m. Hugh Percy, Duke of Northumberland
8 ..............(children)
7 ............Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott (b.1927) m. Ian Gilmour
8 ..............Oliver Gilmour
8 ..............David Gilmour
8 ..............(other children)
4 ......Victoria Alexandra Grey (185?-1922) m. Lewis Payan Dawnay
5 ........Guy Dawnay
5 ........Alan Dawnay (1888-1938) m.Elizabeth Bulteel (later Shaw-Stewart)
6 ..........Lewis Dawnay
6 ..........Denys Dawnay
5 ........Margaret Dawnay m. Rowland Grant
6 ..........Alec Grant
6 ..........Enid Grant
6 ..........James Grant
5 ........Marion Vere Dawnay (1885-1956) m.1905 Henry Morris Pryce-Jones
6 ..........Alan Payan Pryce-Jones (1908-2000) m.1934 Thérèse Fould-Springer
7 ............David Eugène Henry Pryce-Jones (b.1936) m.1959 Clarissa Caccia
8 ..............Jessica Pryce-Jones (b.1961) m. David Shukman
8 ..............Candida Pryce-Jones (b.1963) m. Owen Mostyn-Owen
8 ..............Sonia Pryce-Jones (1970-72)
8 ..............Adam Pryce-Jones (b.1973)
...............................[APJ] 2nd m.1968 Mary Jean Kempner (1913-69)
6 ..........David Adrian Pryce-Jones (1919-1968)
4 ......Louisa Jane Grey (1855-1949) m. William McDonell, Earl of Antrim
5 ........(children)
4 ......Mary Caroline Grey (1858-1940) m. Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, Earl of Minto
5 ........Victor Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 5th Earl of Minto
5 ........Violet Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound m. Charles Mercer-Nairne ....................................2nd m. John Jacob Astor
6 ..........Gavin Astor m. Irene Haig
6 ..........John Jacob Astor m. Fiona Harvey
5 ........Eileen Elliott-Murray-Kynynmound m. Francis Montagu-Douglas-Scott

PRYCE-JONES FAMILY
1 William Jones m. Margaret Goodwin
2 ..Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones (1834-1920) m.1859 Eleanor Morris
3 ....Sir Edward Pryce-Jones (b.1861) m. Beatrice Hardie
4 ......Sir Victor Pryce-Jones (1887-1963) m. Syra O'Shiel (1905-2001)
4 ......Irene Pryce-Jones
3 ....Elizabeth Pryce-Jones (b.1862) m. Frank Purchas
4 ......Eleanor Purchas (b.ca.1898)
3 ....Albert Pryce-Jones m. Ida
4 ......Robert Pryce-Jones (b.1906)
3 ....Eleanor Pryce-Jones m. Edward Powell
4 ......Arthur Powell
4 ......Sydney Powell
3 ....Katie Pryce-Jones m. Archibald Read
3 ....Rose Pryce-Jones
3 ....William Ernest Pryce-Jones
3 ....Henry Morris Pryce-Jones (1878-1952) m. Marion Vere Dawnay
4 ......Alan Payan Pryce-Jones (1908-2000) m.1934 Thérèse Fould-Springer
5 ........David Eugène Henry Pryce-Jones (b.1936) m.1959 Clarissa Caccia
6 ..........Jessica Pryce-Jones (b.1961) m. David Shukman
6 ..........Candida Pryce-Jones (b.1963) m. Owen Mostyn-Owen
6 ..........Sonia Pryce-Jones (1970-72)
6 ..........Adam Pryce-Jones (b.1973)
.......................................2nd m.1968 Mary Jean Kempner
4 ......David Adrian Pryce-Jones (1919-1968)

SPRINGER/FOULD-SPRINGER FAMILY
1 Gustav Springer m. Hélène von Königswarter
2 ..Mary ("Mitzi") Springer (d.ca.1978) m.1905 Eugène Fould (d.1929)
............................2nd.m.1930 Frank Wooster (1890-1953)
3 ....Max Fould-Springer m. Georgette
3 ....Hélène ("Bubbles") Fould-Springer m. Eduardo Propper de Callejon
4 ......Elena Propper de Callejon m. Raymond Bonham Carter
4 ......Philip Propper de Callejon
4 ......Diana Propper de Callejon
3 ....Thérèse ("Poppy") Fould-Springer (1914-53) m.1934 Alan Payan Pryce-Jones
4 ......David Eugène Henry Pryce-Jones (b.1936) m.1959 Clarissa Caccia
5 ........Jessica Pryce-Jones (b.1961) m. David Shukman
5 ........Candida Pryce-Jones (b.1963) m. Owen Mostyn-Owen
5 ........Sonia Pryce-Jones (1970-72)
5 ........Adam Pryce-Jones (b.1973)
3 ....Liliane Fould-Springer (b.1916) m.1942 Elie de Rothschild
4 ......Nathaniel de Rothschild (b.1946)
4 ......Nelly de Rothschild (b.1947) m. Adam Munthe
4 ......Elizabeth de Rothschild (b.1952) m. Marc Leland
Title
Guide to the Alan Pryce-Jones Papers
Author
by Ellen Doon
Date
May 2003
Language of description
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2010-02-10: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.
  • 2007-08-13: beinecke.prycejon.xml converted for compliance with Yale EAD Best Practice Guidelines with brbl-migrate-01.xsl (mr2007-08-13).
  • 2007-07-26: PUBLIC "-//Yale University::Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library//TEXT (US::CtYBR::::[ALAN PRYCE-JONES PAPERS ])//EN" "prycejon.xml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

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