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Edwin Pugh letters to C. F. Cazenove


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The material in this collection arguably postdates the zenith of Edwin Pugh's literary career. Born in London in 1874, Pugh began working as a clerk in a City office at age fourteen. Despite long hours, Pugh found time to write and succeeded in getting his first collection of short stories, A Street in Suburbia, published in 1895. The positive reception of this volume, and of his 1896 novel The Man of Straw, inspired Pugh to leave his job as a clerk and become a professional author. Unfortunately, Pugh never recaptured the success of these early works. Pugh's genre –the British Cockney School- experienced a vogue in the late nineteenth century but soon fell out of fashion. Although he published 33 works over the course of his lifetime, Pugh was in near-constant financial trouble and also struggled with depression and alcoholism until his death in 1930.

Charles Francis Cazenove (1870-1915) was a well-known literary agent who opened his own firm in London in 1899. Cazenove served as Pugh's agent from 1903 until his early death from cancer twelve years later. Thomas Burke, a colleague of Cazenove's described him as "capable of judging and appreciating new literature, and understanding the mind of the literary artist."


Sutherland, John. The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford University Press: 1989.

Gaipa, Mark. Edwin William Pugh (1874-1930) from The Modernist Journals Project.

Wilson, Jean Moorcroft. Edward Thomas: from Adlestrop to Arras: A Biography. Bloomsbury: 2015.

The Edwin Pugh letters to C. F. Cazenove contain correspondence dating between 1903 and 1915, from the writer to his literary agent. While the content of the letters, postcards, telegraphs and telegrams in the collection relates primarily to matters of business, Pugh and Cazenove seem to have had a close relationship. In his letters, Pugh shares personal information with Cazenove about his financial troubles and various health problems including severe depression. Most of the letters provide Pugh's updates on his progress in writing, his opinions about the journals and magazines to which particular pieces should be sent for submission, and logistical information about securing payment for his work. A number of these letters accompanied installments of Pugh's written work that he wanted his agent to read and, hopefully, sell for publication (the writing samples are not included). The papers in the collection are arranged chronologically; the very few undated documents have been placed at the back of the folder containing the material with which they were originally arranged.

Thus, an undated clipping of one of Pugh's published stories ("The Invasion of France") is included with the correspondence from 1903. The letters from 1904 reflect a terrible decline in Pugh's mental and physical health. In a precarious financial state, many of his letters implore Cazenove to advance him money. A few of the letters from this period are written on Pugh's behalf by his brother, Henry, or a friend. A 1905 letter from Henry Pugh advises Cazenove not to send Edwin Pugh any more money, lest it support his brother's alcoholism. The correspondence from 1908, comprising the largest file in the collection, refers largely to The Enchantress, a novel written by Pugh, which was published that year by John Milne. Along with Pugh's notes to Cazenove about his progress on the manuscript, this file contains a printing order for the book and a few check receipts. There is very little correspondence from 1910, as Pugh and Cazenove seem to have temporarily broken off their business relationship in the early weeks of that year. Letters from 1911 deal in part with the logistics of publishing The City of the World: A Book About London and the Londoners in the United States, and those from 1913 include some strongly worded messages about what Pugh considered the bad business practices of the Northern Newspaper Syndicate. There are no letters in this collection from 1914 and only one from 1915, a short note asking literary agent "Mr. Collins" if he would be interested in taking Pugh on as a client.

Formerly cataloged as Dewey: 823 P963L.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Rive Cadwallader
Finding Aid Date
2017 July 13
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This collection is open for research use.

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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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1913, 1915.
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