The Archive of Cecil Palmer, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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A Publisher's Archive

The Archive of Cecil Palmer
Substantial group of ca 265 letters addressed to the publisher Cecil Palmer, ca 1905-1930. A remarkably fine accumulation of letters to a publisher who was evidently held in the highest regard and personal affection by his authors, reflecting their many concerns, not only with respect to their works.
Stacy Aumonier (1887-1928, writer of fiction): substantial correspondence of ca 51 fine and lengthy Autograph Letters Signed to Palmer (sometimes as 'Gustave' or 'Old Boy') and signed either in full (the early letters) or as 'Stacy' or 'Stace' (six as 'Bill'), a few on cards, some in pencil, largely undated. The letters of a close friend, full of personal news, especially about cricket, his long spell in various sanatoria, an interlude in Spain, the Savile Club, etc.
'... I was very bucked with the O.B. cricket book - a delightful production. Cliffords & Arnolds contributions seemed to me exceptionally brilliant. Did Squire write the poem about "The Major Straining"? That was a gem! ...'
'... I was specially touched to hear that you had all drunk my health, & that old G.K.C[hesterton]. had come up to the scratch so kindly. I hardly know him, & was surprised to hear he had read my stories. I think I must drop him a line & thank him. ...'
'... God! "The Brothers Karamarzoff [sic]" is an unemotional Girls own paper story compared with my life during the last three months! I am undone. Thank God! I don't know a soul in Brighton. ...'
'... I have decided (or rather I should say we) to chuck the sanatorium. When well enough to travel I shall treck Southwards. My plans are vague. I may go back to Ascot. Also I may go up to London for a week or so, to consult more quacks & try new treatments. This place has been fairly good, & my lung is distinctly improved ...'
[From Malaga] 'I must write & tell you about a perfect scream I have got mixed up in. I don't know whether you have read the articles I had in the Evening Standard on things out here & Spaniards generally? Anyway I never expected them to come home to roost & create a kind of moral tornado. There has been no end of a stink. It is not the poor wretched Spaniards, who would never have heard of them, but the British colony ...'
(Sir) Arnold Bax (1883-1953, composer): 6 Autograph Letters Signed (all but one addressed to 'Gustave'), 1923 where dated
'I am deeply distressed to have to write this, but I fear I must ask you to withold any further work on my book of poems [Love-poems of a Musician], for a few days anyway. It appears to me that the publication of this little book would be so extremely unpleasant in its results for me that I fear it will have to be stopped. ...'
Clifford Bax (1886-1962, miscellaneous writer): 6 Autograph Letters Signed and 1 Typewritten Letter Signed, 1921 where dated, including one very long Autograph Letter Signed on the subject of the authorship of Shakespeare's works.
'I had a shock this morning when I picked up a copy of the Daily Mail which I found in a cab, and say that dear affectionate wayward humorous Stacy had at last said good-bye to all of us. We shall all miss him, but you, I fear, most of any among us. ...'
Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953): 4 Autograph Letters Signed & 2 Typewritten Letters Signed, together with the proofs of Do We Agree / A debate between G.K. Chesterton and G. Bernard Shaw with Hilaire Belloc in the chair, published by Palmer in 1928, with Belloc's brief corrections on the first page, and more extensive ones on the last page, to which one of the letters relates.

Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956): 7 Autograph Letters Signed, 1915-1918 where dated
'... You remember that arrangement we made about the Serbian artist Radovani, and doing a book on him. I have written him that owing to the War it may be difficult to carry this out and that you will made [sic] a Serbian section on his work to the Bouvier book. ...'
'I will write to Kipling if you will send me a typed letter to sign. ... By the way, before I can complete the title what is to be the name of the book - "The Navy"? and what else should go on the title page? ...'
Cecil Chesterton (1879-1918): Autograph Letter Signed and Typewritten Letter Signed, 1911 where dated, concerning making a book of his New Witness articles, and 'Nell Gwynn', for which he hoped for an advance.

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936): Autograph Letter Signed and 2 Typewritten Letters Signed, 1927 where dated, largely on technical editorial matters.
'... If we have the suggested leader on "Defeatism" we must be very careful not [to] seem to be annoyed by the Universe or snapping back at it - the word "Universe" had better not be used. We must be serenely grateful for their praise of Hope & Courage & assure everyone that we will never yield to Defeatism & the destruction of the family ...'
Robert Graves (1895-1985): good Autograph Letter Signed (ca 1924 from Islip) giving Dr Head's views on his 'Dream Book' [The Meaning of Dreams, Cecil Palmer 1924], asking Palmer to publish his next work, and commenting on the success of his poetry.
'... You notice his remarks about Chapter VIII; which concerns dreams & poetry. I hope that you will see your way to publish my second book, which you have acknowledged. I am constantly getting press references to my first On English Poetry [1922], which was possibly an amusing book & started many hares ...'
'There are signs of a very good press for my latest poems, Mock Beggar Hall (Hogarth Press) [1924] ...'
Palmer was to publish Poetic Unreason and Other Studies in 1925.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928): Autograph Letter Signed on card, 15 December 1915, declining to write an appreciation, and Typewritten Letter Signed, 30 October 1921, thanking Palmer for the 'calendar of quotations'.
'... As you surmise it was so many years ago that you wrote to me on the matter that I had quite forgotten the agreement, and to find any letters bearing upon it would necessitate a long search. ... So many applications are made to me, or to [Macmillans], for terms for including poems, etc. of mine in anthologies that I am quite vague on such particulars.'
The present letters are apparently unpublished, but Hardy had written to Macmillan on 15 June 1914 to inform him that he had given Palmer permission to compile a 'Calendar of sentences' from his books ('a quotation of single sentences can do no harm') [Collected Letters, Vol. 5, page 32].

Sir Harry Lauder (1870-1950): 4 Autograph Letters Signed, 1917-1921, two (from Canada and Maryland) about the prospect (or not) of sales of his book in North America.

Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960): 8 lengthy Autograph Letters Signed and a signed photograph, 1914-1928, largely on publishing details.
'... I think I would sooner put the money into really classy paper etc, than elaborate decoration, which only detracts from the writer's art, or at any rate divides attention between it & the painter's or decorator's.
Edition-de-luxe (though a failure I am sorry to hear from you here) may be worked off in U.S.A., where my vogue is growing. They write a good deal more about me there than, under present conditions, in England. ...' [August 1917]
'... I am one of those who place absolute faith in the honesty & genius of Lloyd George; but I know all the pacifist & Asquithian groups do not & are dead to all that he has done. We should not probably agree in an estimate of the pacifist people. Personally I feel most thankful that they have fallen, since, had they won there [sic] way, England would now be under the heel of Germany, instead of still a free nation. John Drinkwater was stopping with me recently & actually said, echoing his side, that it would have been better to throw open our doors & let Germany come into this country - anything in fact better than striking a blow! How all these poets & art-loving young men think their verses & plays & repertory theatres would have stood after the arrival of the German & his culture, I cannot guess. ...'
Ezra Pound (1885-1972): Typewritten Letter Signed, 3 pages 4to, Rapallo, 25 December 1925, a long and lucid letter urging Palmer to publish an English translation of J.L. Chastanet's La Republique des Banquiers.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950): Autograph Letter Signed, 3 Typewritten Letters Signed, 2 Letters Signed on cards and an autograph note, 1913-1928, with Shaw's copy of the proofs of Do We Agree (see above under Belloc) with alterations and corrections on several pages.
'... I am much obliged by your offer as to the Quintessence of Ibsenism; but my present routine of publishing is so well established now that it goes on absolutely withour [sic] friction. My printers are used to me; so are my publishers; and the consequence is an economy of time and worry and letter writing that has a value to me that is not to be set off by anything that I can hope to gain from a change. ...' [May 1913]
'Thank you for the copy of Chesterton's book. The difficulty with me is that I am old enough to have finally made a groove for myself as regards publishing ...' November 1915]
[Regarding what was probably an earlier proof of Do We Agree than the one present] 'This infernal report has cost me two days work to reduce it to a show of coherence; and I have had to pull it about so much that it will probably be cheaper to set it up afresh on the machine than to correct the standing type.
My second speech, p 22, begins with a reply to a point of Chestertons which the reporter has left out. I don't know how much G.K.C. has done in the way of revision; but the more the better. ...'
[12 June 1928]
Alec Waugh (1898-1981): 3 Autograph Letters Signed and 1 Typewritten Letter Signed ('Alec'), 1923-1928, send a manuscript and discussing Evelyn's film ambitions ('she' Evelyn, not his brother).

Arthur Waugh (1866-1943): 2 Autograph Letters Signed, 1923 & 1926 and a page of humorous notes, thanking Palmer for kindnesses.
'... it is a pleasure to feel that my younger colleagues on the Board do not want to see the last of me yet. I hope to work as long as I live; and, if I were to die, like Moberley Bell, at my desk, I should not ask for a better euthanasia. ...'
H.G. Wells (1866-1946): 3 Autograph Letters Signed on cards, undated, briefly discussing literary matters, and agreeing to become a subscriber.
'... We still feel the tragedy of that pleasant lady's death very acutely & it will be nice to have such a personal memorial of her.'
A large quantity of miscellaneous correspondence Lord Beaverbrook, Arnold Bennett (2), Jane Burr, Hall Caine (5), Marie Corelli, Lord Curzon, John Drinkwater, James Hannay, Anthony Hope Hawkins (3), Maurice Hewlett, Spencer Leigh Hughes (6), Jerome K. Jerome, Sir Sidney Lee, Sinclair Lewis, Norman Lindsay (very long), David Low, J. Ramsay MacDonald, E.H.W. Meyerstein, Rafael Sabatini, Hannen Swaffer, Michael Sadle[i]r, Hugh Walpole (2), Humbert Wolfe, Israel Zangwill (2), H. Granville Fell, Lord Ampthill, J.C. Snaith (2), Lord Wolseley, W.B. Richmond, J. Forbes-Robertson, St John Ervine, Glyn Philpot (3), J.D. Beresford, the Countess of Warwick, Sir Thomas Brock, W. Shackleton, Frank Rutter, Lord Dewar, Bruce Bairnsfather, G.L. Stampa (4), W. Pett Ridge (4), Oscar Levy, Ethel May Dell, Sir Reginald Hall, A. St John Adcock, Sir Arthur Keith, Sir Gilbert Parker (2), Sir Clive Wigram, Norman Angell (2), Ralph Straus, Edwin Pugh, Gerald Gould (3 with a copy of Gould's Lady Adela, Cecil Palmer 1920), Sir Ian Malcolm, Aubrey Hammond (3), Edmund J. Sullivan, Hamilton Fyffe (3), Kate Perugini, W.A Darlington, and further group of ca 64 unlisted letters.

With The Collected Poems of G.K. Chesterton, limited edition published by Cecil Palmer, London, 1927, number 1 of 350 copies signed by the author, decorative boards, vellum spine (worn), xvi + 356 pages, uncut and partly unopened, 8vo.
[No: 22412]

The image is of part of a specimen letter only.

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