Rebecca West papers
Extent: (293 boxes, 3 oversize).
Level of Description: Item level.
Name of creator(s): [Rebecca West].
Date of creation: Undetermined.
Scope and Content: The papers are
organized into four series: Correspondence; Writings; Personal Papers; and
The correspondence consists of letters exchanged by Rebecca West and colleagues,
friends, publishers, and family members. This series is arranged alphabetically
by correspondent. A group of letters from unidentified correspondents is
placed at the end of the sequence. See also the Name/Title/Subject Index to
the Manuscript Notebooks (in the Series 2 inventory) for a listing of fragments
of letters found in the Notebooks; these fragments HAVE NOT been
cross-referenced to Series 1. This series
is housed in 70 boxes
writings consist of major works, unfinished and unpublished works, and newspaper
and magazine articles. This series is arranged alphabetically by title (e.g.
Birds Fall Down, The), or by first word when untitled. This series
also contains book reviews (arranged in an alphabetical sequence by author of
the book reviewed) and reader's reports (arranged in a separate alphabetical
sequence by author of the book reported); Rebecca West's notebooks which contain
drafts and draft fragments of novels, articles, book reviews, letters, and
personal notes, as well as Rebecca West’s sketches and drawings. Individual fragments
have been described as best possible and the descriptions listed in an index
which precedes the manuscript notebook section of this inventory; research and
reference materials include Rebecca West’s notes, notes transcribed from other
sources, newspaper and magazine articles, etc., which we assume Rebecca West
used in her writing. Photographs and postcards thought to have been collected
for similar purposes are arranged alphabetically by location or subject.
This series is housed in 122 boxes
3: Personal Papers
personal papers were originally grouped into Accounts (Personal (A);
Professional (B); Farm; Garden; House; Petty Cash) and a general file
containing further Accounts materials mixed with additional papers and
correspondence. The integrity of the original Accounts files has not been
disturbed; but it has not been possible
cross-reference materials in this series fully. A reader searching a general
subject—e.g. Professional (B)—may want also to review "accountants"
and "solicitors" n this series; publishers in Series 1; and the
Name/Title/Subject Index for manuscript notebooks in Series 2. On the whole,
the papers in Series 3 consist of the following types of materials arranged alphabetically
by subject (or by name of correspondent where subject
cannot be determined) and chronologically within each subject group:
records, invoices, and receipts to/from Rebecca West and accountants, art
galleries, auto mechanics, insurers, solicitors, surveyors, auctioneers, estate
records, bank statements, cancelled cheques, invoices, etc., for Personal (A)
and Professional (B) accounts; records of productivity and expenditures for Twigside
Farm, Ibstone Manor and garden, Kingston House North, etc;
baptism, marriage, and death certificates, passports, wills and codicils for Rebecca
West and her husband, Henry M. Andrews; autograph will of H.G. Wells;
documents of Rebecca West's honorary degrees and various other awards;
relating to the Fairfield ancestry consisting of letters, diagrams, and
books, telephone indices;
containing personal notes dating from 1945 to 1982 and appointment diaries
dating from 1917-1984;
photographs, including individual portraits and snapshots of Rebecca West in
various stages of her life; Rebecca West with other people (identified where
possible); family members and friends (Rebecca West and Andrews); and
miscellaneous photographs of landscapes, etc;
cuttings, mostly of newspaper and magazine articles about Rebecca West,
arranged by decade (1920-1984);
records for domestic, farm, and secretarial help;
and brochures relating to travel and entertainment;
relating to Rebecca West's medical care including 2 spiral notebooks of nurses
notes taken during her final illness;
autograph notes, printed ephemera, excised pages from various sources, French
visiting cards, membership cards, etc.
Administrative/Biographical History: The
collection was accompanied by a rough but extensive inventory prepared by, Diana
Stainforth, Rebecca West’s last secretary.
Access and Copyright:
Language and Scripts: English,
Finding aid/Inventory: Finding aid is available
Provenance/Source of Acquisition: Purchased
from Bertram Rota, 1986. Additional correspondence between
West and her grandson, Edmund West, as well correspondence with her
ex-daughter-in-law, Kitty West, acquired in 1992 from Cheryl and Edmund West.
A few items have been added from other sources.
Date(s) of description:
Aug 1992; rev. Jul 1996; Sept 2007.