Anna Kavan papers , 1867-1991; Bulk 1903-1976
1986.003

Summary Information

Repository
University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title
Anna Kavan papers
ID
1986.003
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1903-1977
Date [inclusive]
1867-1991
Extent
13.0 Linear feet 20 boxes, 1 oversize box, plus oversize items
Language
English

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Scope and Contents note

This artificial collection has been compiled from a number of acquisitions and included handwritten and typed manuscripts of novels, novellas and short stories. Also diaries, notebooks, photographs, personal memorabilia and correspondence with theater critic Raymond B. Marriott, George Bullock, Rhys Davies and letters, notes and drawings from K. T. Bluth to Kavan. Kavan's artwork, predominantly water color but including oil, pen and ink, and goache.

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Arrangement note

Organized into six series: I. Writings; II. Correspondence; III. Photographs; IV. Artwork; V. Personal Papers. The writings are arranged alphabetically by title. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent then chronologically within each grouping. Art work too large for the oversize box is housed in Map Case 5:Drawer 11.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives 1991 October

McFarlin Library
University of Tulsa
2933 E. 6th St
Tulsa, OK, 74104-3123
918-631-2496
Marc-carlson@utulsa.edu

Revision Description

  1994 August; 2010 March

Access

This material is open for research use by any registered reader.

This material is housed off-site and will require special arrangements for anticipated use. Contact the Department of Special Collections.

Use and Copyright

This material is owned by the University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections. Unpublished manuscripts are under copyright. Therefore, permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from both the repository and the copyright holder.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The preponderance of the papers were purchased from Bertram Rota Ltd., Oct 1986. Kavan's diaries, manuscript notebooks, and correspondence (to Raymond Marriott and George Bullock), as well as a few short story manuscripts purchased from Raymond Marriott through Bertram Rota Ltd., 1978. Materials related to My Soul in China purchased from William Reese Co., Apr, 1986. Unpublished manuscripts of "The Parson," "Hope Deferred," and "The Words of Mercury are Harsh After The Songs of Apollo" purchased from Peter Owen, Dec 1989.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

1992.008 Richard R. Centing collection of Anna Kavan.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Bluth, Karl Theodor, 1892- -- Correspondence
  • Bullock, George -- Correspondence
  • Davies, Rhys -- Correspondence
  • Kavan, Anna, 1904-1968 -- Manuscripts
  • Kavan, Anna, 1904-1968 -- Correspondence
  • Marriott, Raymond -- Correspondence

Subject(s)

  • English language and literature -- 20th century.
  • Special Collections -- Manuscripts --Kavan, Anna.
  • Women authors, English -- 20th century -- Biography.

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Chronology

Chronology
1901 April 10 Anna Kavan, born Helen Emily Woods, in Cannes.
1905 Woods family moves to Rialto, California.
1914 Claude C. E. Woods commits suicide. Kavan and her mother return to England. Kavan is sent to boarding school at Lausanne, Switzerland.
1915 Kavan is returned to London to attend Parsons Mead School, Ashstead, Surrey.
1918 Attends Malvern College, Worcestershire.
1919 Marries Donald Ferguson, couple moves to Burma.
1921 Begins writing novels (unpublished).
1922 Son, Bryan Ferguson, born.
1925 Leaving her husband in Burma, returns to England with her son. Meets Stuart Edmonds while in south of France.
1926 Begins classes at the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts. Begins keeping a diary.
1930 The Dark Sister (London: Jonathan Cape)
Let Me Alone (London: Jonathan Cape)
1929 A Charmed Circle (London: Jonathan Cape), as Helen Ferguson.
1931 Divorces Ferguson. Marries Stuart Edmonds.
1932-34 Travels to France, Italy, Spain, and the Pyrenees.
1933 Moves to Chilterns, Bledlow Cross.
1935 A Stranger Still (London: Jonathan Cape)
Exhibition of "Landscapes in Oil" by Helen Ferguson at Wertheim Gallery in London.
1936 Goose Cross: A Novel (London: John Lane)
Travels to clinic in Switzerland for treatment of drug addiction.
1937 Rich get Rich (London: John Lane).
1938 Second marriage dissolves. Kavan attempts suicide, admitted to sanitarium near London.
1939 Moves to New York. Legally changes name to Anna Kavan.
1940 Asylum Piece and Other Stories (London: Jonathan Cape)
Moves to New Zealand.
1941 Change the Name (London: Jonathan Cape).
1942 Returns to England. Works as researcher for military psychiatric unit.
Son killed in war, Kavan attempts suicide.
Meets K. Th. Bluth.
Becomes assistant editor for Horizon.
1945 I am Lazarus: Short Stories (London: Jonathan Cape)
1946 American edition of Asylum Piece.
1947 House of Sleep (New York: Doubleday) appears in United States
Kavan travels to Switzerland for drug cure and then to South Africa.
1948 House of Sleep appears in Great Britain as Sleep has his House (London: Cassell).
Doubleday declines option on new novel.
Kavan returns to London, goes to Switzerland for treatment, then South Africa and London again.
1949 The Horse's Tale (London: Gaberbocchus Press). Co-authored with K. Th. Bluth.
Kavan enters London nursing home for "narcosis," a treatment for drug addiction.
Leaves for South Africa then later returns to London.
Breaks ties with George Bullock and Raymond Marriott.
1950 Establishes architecture and design firm Kavan Properties.
1953 Resumes friendship with George Bullock and Raymond Marriott.
1955 Mother dies in South Africa leaving no inheritance to Kavan.
1956 A Scarcity of Love. (Southport, Lancashire: Angus Downie). Publisher bankrupts and novel is pulped.
Meets Peter Owen.
1957 Eagles Nest (London: Peter Owen).
Magazine layout of design work.
Moves from 99 Peel St. house to new house at 19a Hillsleigh Rd.
1958 A Bright Green Field (London: Peter Owen)
Car accident and court appearances.
1963 Who are you? (Lowestoft, Suffolk: Scorpion Press).
1964 K. Th. Bluth dies. Kavan writes her will, attempts suicide. Raymond Marriot and Rhys Davies revive her.
1967 Ice (London: Peter Owen). Selected by Brian Aldiss as science fiction work of the year.
1968 Dec. 8 Kavan found dead of a heart attack.
Doubleday accepts Ice.
1970 Julia and the Bazooka and Other Stories (London: Peter Owen)
Kavan's drug addiction revealed in introduction by Rhys Davies.
1975 My Soul in China: A Novella and Stories (London: Peter Owen).
1990 My Madness: Selected Writings (Macmillan)
1994 Mercury (Peter Owen)
1995 The Parson (Peter Owen)
2007 Guilty (Peter Owen)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1 - Writings 

Scope and Contents note

Consist of autograph and typescript manuscripts and manuscript fragments of short stories, novels and novellas, poetry, book reviews, and an obituary for Karl Theodor Bluth, as well as 15 manuscript notebooks and two diaries. Arranged alphabetically by title. Short story titles appearing in collected works are cross referenced to the collected work in which they were published. Notebooks and diaries follow the manuscripts. Consists of 258 poems, notes, and sketches from Karl Theodore Bluth to Kavan, dating from 1944-1963, including undated material; 74 autograph and typescript letters and notes from Kavan to George Bullock, dating from 1945-1958, including undated letters and 3 of Bullock's journals (1940-46, 1949-1958, 1951-1954); 28 autograph letters from Kavan to Rhys Davies, dating circa 1944-1954. 847 autograph and typescript letters and notes from Kavan to Raymond Marriott, dating from 1945-1968, including undated letters; miscellaneous correspondence between various individuals and Kavan including Kavan's great aunt, Lucy Woods, 5 autograph and 5 typescript letters from Rhys Davies and Raymond Marriott to Margaret Crosland, dating from 1910-1977. The main body of correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, and chronologically within each correspondent's collection of letters; this is followed by the miscellaneous correspondence.

Series 1:  Writings

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Series 2 - Correspondence 

Scope and Contents note

Consists of 258 poems, notes, and sketches from Karl Theodore Bluth to Kavan, dating from 1944-1963, including undated material; 74 autograph and typescript letters and notes from Kavan to George Bullock, dating from 1945-1958, including undated letters and 3 of Bullock's journals (1940-46, 1949-1958, 1951-1954); 28 autograph letters from Kavan to Rhys Davies, dating circa 1944-1954. 847 autograph and typescript letters and notes from Kavan to Raymond Marriott, dating from 1945-1968, including undated letters; miscellaneous correspondence between various individuals and Kavan including Kavan's great aunt, Lucy Woods, 5 autograph and 5 typescript letters from Rhys Davies and Raymond Marriott to Margaret Crosland, dating from 1910-1977.

The main body of correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, and chronologically within each correspondent's collection of letters; this is followed by the miscellaneous correspondence.

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Series 3 - Photographs 

Scope and Contents note

Includes photos of Kavan as a child (Helen Emily Woods), as Mrs. Donald Ferguson and Mrs. Stuart Edmonds, and finally as Anna Kavan. Included are photos of various family members such as her son (Brian Ferguson), an unidentified baby girl (of Stuart Edmonds' time period), her mother (Mrs. Hugh (Helen) Tevis), her great aunt, Lucy Woods, as well as Kavan's friends, Karl Theodor Bluth and George Bullock. Also included in this series are four photo albums which contain family photos as well as snapshots of Kavan and her friends while on holidays.

Series 3: Photographs

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Series 4 - Artwork 

Scope and Contents note

49 pieces, predominantly watercolors (a few pen and ink, and 1 unframed [oil]), 4 artist's sketchbooks, and oversize and plus oversize watercolors and a framed [oil].

Series 4: Art work

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Series 5 - Personal Papers 

Scope and Contents note

Include a 19th century document tracing the Woods family history; a photostat of Kavan's will; and an address book and two passports.

Series 5:  Personal papers

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