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Enid Bagnold papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 78
Scope and Contents

The Enid Bagnold Papers contain personal and professional correspondence and other papers which document the life and career of the author of National Velvet and "The Chalk Garden." The papers span the years 1912-71.

The Bagnold Papers are divided into two series: Personal Papers and Correspondence. The bulk of the collection consists of letters written to Bagnold, although there are also letters by Bagnold and a small quantity of third party correspondence.

Series I, Personal Papers , is divided into three sections: copies of letters from Bagnold where no other correspondence exists, correspondence with booksellers regarding The Door of Life, and a scrapbook. Bagnold's letters are arranged chronologically, with the notes, drafts, and miscellaneous material following. The Door of Life correspondence consists of chronologically arranged postcards distributed by the William Morrow & Company, publisher, for comments from book vendors, replies to those postcards, and unsolicited reviews. The scrapbook has been photocopied and the original letters placed in the correspondence series. Original material that did not fit in correspondence has been placed in a separate folder.

Series II, General Correspondence , is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, and unidentified correspondence has been placed at the end of the series. Most third person correspondence has been placed in Series I.

Series II does not contain a significant quantity of correspondence from any single individual. There are several groups of ten of more letters, but most individuals wrote just a few letters. The letters are predominantly personal in content, but they also include some discussion of Bagnold's work. The collection contains a handful of business letters.

Almost all the correspondence dating from 1918-19 comments on her first novel Diary without Dates. The production of "Lottie Dundass" is discussed in the Charles Cochran correspondence, while Thornton Wilder's letters critique the play. Probably the best documented work is her play "The Chalk Garden." Letters from Christopher Busney give some hint as to the genesis of the play, while Bagnold's correspondence with Sir James Cassels demonstrates how she acquired legal facts for her plot. Finally some information on the New York and London productions of "The Chalk Garden" can be found in the Irene Selznick and the Brandt & Brandt Dramatic Department correspondence.

Bagnold's correspondence with Arthur Calder-Marshall and William Heineman Limited demonstrates her business manner. There is a rich correspondence with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, a friendship that arose when Bagnold offered them the leading roles in "The Chinese Prime Minister." Another interesting correspondent is Hugo Rumbold, who wrote to Bagnold using the name "Marie." Known in the theater world as "Binkie," Hugh Beaumont, corresponded with Bagnold and is often mentioned in other correspondence.

The collection also contains letters from such prominent political and literary figures as Irene Selznick, Stanley Baldwin, William Somerset Maugham, J. B. Priestley, Thornton Wilder, and Katherine Mansfield.

The fragile papers in Box 4 consist of originals for which preservation photocopies have been made.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 4: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Enid Bagnold 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

The papers were purchased by The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in April 1982 from the George S. MacManus Company with income from the Herman W. Liebert Book Fund.

1912 - 1971
1 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
Related Names
Bagnold, Enid
Language of Materials