Bernard Shaw papers
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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
George Bernard Shaw, prominent Irish playwright and advocate of rights for the working classes, was born on July 26, 1856 in Dublin, Ireland, to George Carr and Lucinda Elizabeth Gurly Shaw.
Although his family belonged to the landed Irish gentry, they were actually quite poor. Early in his life Shaw was tutored by his clerical uncle and briefly attended day schools; however, most of his useful education was obtained outside of the classroom through his avid reading, his theater attendance, the time he spent exploring the National Gallery of Ireland, and the variety of music which was ever-present in his home. Through his mother and her music teacher, George John Vandeleur Lee, Shaw was exposed to and absorbed a musical education.
By his sixteenth birthday, Shaw was working in a land agent's office in Dublin. Bookkeeping work involving the rentals of poor tenants and having to collect their rent confronted Shaw with economic inequalities. The insights gained during these experiences had a lasting influence on his political views.
In 1876, Shaw followed his mother and sister to London where he began his literary career by experimenting with short fiction, drama, and several novels (all rejected by publishers). HisThe Irrational Knot was serialized in 1885-1887 and finally published in book form in 1905.
The 1880s were a decade in which Shaw underwent extensive development. During this time he adopted socialism, became a vegetarian, developed as an orator and polemicist, and began seriously writing drama. He helped to found the Fabian Society, a middle-class socialist group which sought to transform English society, in 1884. His last novel,An Unsocial Socialist (1883), incorporated his socialist views.
In this decade, Bernard Shaw began writing criticism. He wrote book reviews for thePall Mall Gazette (1885-1888), art criticism for the World (1886-1890), musical columns in the Star (as Corno di Bassetto from 1888-1890) and in the World (1890-1894), and theater criticism for the Saturday Review (1895-1898).
In 1898, during his recuperation from major illness, he married his unofficial nurse, Charlotte Payne-Townshend, an Irish heiress and friend of Beatrice and Sidney Webb. Their marriage lasted until Charlotte's death in 1943.
Although Shaw had experimented with drama at various times during his early writing days, it was his collaboration with William Archer in 1884 which produced Shaw's first serious dramatic work. The playWidower's Houses, was abandoned for eight years but finally completed and staged in 1892 by the Independent Theatre Society. Shaw's career as a dramatist began slowly with his plays unappreciated or, as in the case of Mrs. Warren's Profession, banned. But with the production of Shaw's Man and Superman in 1905, his fame as a playwright was established. Other plays by Shaw include You Can Never Tell (1899), The Doctor's Dilemma (1906), Candida (1897), Misalliance (1910), Major Barbara (1905), Pygmalion (1913), Caesar and Cleopatra (1906), Overruled (1912), Saint Joan (1923), The Apple Cart (1929), Androcles and the Lion (1912), and Heartbreak House (1920).
In addition to being a renowned playwright, Bernard Shaw is also remembered for the challenging prefaces he wrote to his plays and books.Prefaces, published in 1934, is a collection of a number of these works.
One of Shaw's greatest achievements was his invention of the theater of ideas, by insisting that the theater provide some moral instruction. In the process he also created a new genre, the serious farce. The serious farce consisted of using the techniques of comedy to advance serious views on humanity, society, and political systems. His plays, criticism, and political conscience all helped shape the theater of his time and after. Bernard Shaw died on November 2, 1950 at the age of 94.
Crawford, Fred D., "Shaw, George Bernard 1846-1950,"Contemporary Authors(128: 371-378). "Shaw, George Bernard,"The Dictionary of National Biography, 1941-1950, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 773-782.Weintraub, Stanley, "Bernard Shaw,"Dictionary of Literary Biography(10: 129-148).Wells, H. G., "G.B.S.--A MEMOIR BY H.G. WELLS; An Intimate Personal Estimate Written in 1945 Now Published,"The New York Times, November 2, 1950.
This collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, a contract, receipts, proofs, and inscriptions by the playwright, Bernard Shaw.
The correspondence series includes letters to Edith and Pakenham Beatty, Hubert Bland, Reverend J. G. Bowran, F. Pepys Cockerell, St. John Ervine, Gardiner, Gurney, George S. King, John Kirkby, Jules Magny, Karl W. Musek, A. M. Palmer, William Poel, Paul R. Reynolds, Pharall Smith, Sobieniowski, T. Fisher Unwin, and Gleeson White.
The manuscripts include galley proofs for a version of "Fabian Manifesto," a typescript review titled "The Moral of Samuel Butler's Career," autograph and proof material forPrefaces, a proof for Everybody's Political What's What, and an autograph account of Shaw's early life and career.
The collection also includes photocopies of inscriptions by Shaw in books held in Special Collections, several receipts signed by Shaw, and a contract between Shaw and George Sidney King and Harry Douglas Parry for performances of Shaw's plays.
I. Manuscripts Written or Edited by ShawII. Correspondence From ShawIII. Inscriptions in Books by ShawIV. Contracts and ReceiptsV.Everybody's Political What's What
Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript box
Partial gift of S. Hallock du Pont (1963) and purchase (1968-1972).
Processed by Anita A. Wellner, 1990-1991. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, 2006.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2006 June 8
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, http://library.udel.edu/spec/askspec/
Includes five pieces of galley proofs with a few autograph corrections and thirteen pages of typescript with extensive autograph corrections. One page of the typescript has an attached clipping. Possibly incomplete. Rough draft of an untitled work which appears to be a version of the "Fabian Manifesto."Physical Description
Written as a review of Henry Festing Jones' two volume biography, Samuel Butler,Author of Erewhon (1835-1902), it is, rather, a biting commentary on Butler's philosophy, life and work. This is very much a statement of Shaw's own principles and views on English society. Physical Description
Material pertaining to Shaw'sPrefaces (London: Constable, 1934). Originally laid in a copy of Prefaces (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5364 .P7 1934a). Physical Description
Shaw writes to an unidentified person concerning changes and the order of material inPrefaces. Physical Description
Autograph pages which delineate the arrangement of the contents page.Physical Description
Printed page 137 ofPrefaces with autograph corrections by Shaw apparently used as a proof. Also initialed by Shaw. Physical Description
Two sheets of galley proofs with autograph corrections by Shaw. One sheet is initialed and dated.Physical Description
Incomplete, includes pp. 2-7. Extensive autograph corrections and additions by Shaw (in black ink). The manuscript is an account of Shaw's early life and career, with Shaw's corrections and additions adding biographical detail.Physical Description
Includes correspondence between Bernard Shaw and other individuals. A number of the letters were originally laid in books written by Shaw which are housed in the Special Collections book collection.
From London. From Shaw to Edith Beatty. Originally laid inCaesar & Cleopatra (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .C15 1905). Physical Description
From 29 Fitzroy Square W. From Shaw to Pakenham Beatty. Originally laid inFabianism and the Empire (Special Collections call number: SPEC HX 246 .S5). Physical Description
Adelphi Terrace. From Shaw to Pakenham Beatty. Autograph note at the bottom of page 2.Physical Description
No location listed. From Shaw to Pakenham Beatty. Photograph postcard of Shaw.Physical Description
29 Fitzroy Square. In addition to this letter from Shaw to Bland, also included here is a note from Dan H. Laurence, Shaw's bibliographer, (1978 November 27) which explains to whom Shaw was writing in this letter. Laurence, who also edited Shaw'sCollected Letters, notes that Bland was a member of the Fabian Society. The original of Shaw's letter to Bland is tipped into Shaw's The Irrational Knot (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5365 .I7 1905a). Physical Description
10 Adelphi Terrace. From Shaw to Bowran (editor ofAldersgate Magazine). This letter refers to article written by a Mr. Goodreid concerning Shaw's religious beliefs. Physical Description
10 Adelphi Terrace. From Shaw to Cockerell. Originally laid inDramatic Opinions and Essays... (Special Collections call number: SPEC PN 2594 .S5 1907). Physical Description
London. From Shaw to Ervine (of the Harvard Club in NY). Also included here is a one page typed letter signed from Ervine to Gabriel Wells (1929 March 4). Both items were originally laid inAlan's Wife (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 4099 .B15 A79). Physical Description
St. Lawrence, Welwyn. From Shaw to Gardiner. Originally laid inPeace Conference Hints (Special Collections call number: SPEC D 646 .S5). Physical Description
St. Lawrence, Welwyn. From Shaw to Gurney. Originally laid inThe Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Ring of Niblungs (Special Collections call number: SPEC MT 100 .W25 S5 1898). Physical Description
Rosslare, Co. Wexford, Ireland. From Shaw to King (of the Repertory Theatre, Plymouth) concerning Shaw's play, "Getting Married."Physical Description
London. From Shaw to Kirkby. The original is tipped in Shaw'sMan and Superman (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .M3 1903a). Physical Description
Aberystwyth. From Shaw to Magny.Physical Description
10 Adelphi Terrace. From Shaw to Musek (of Bohemia).Physical Description
Blen-Cathra, Hindhead, Surrey. From Shaw to Palmer. The original is tipped inSaint Joan: A Chronicle Play in Six Scenes and an Epilogue (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .S3 1924). Physical Description
10 Adelphi Terrace. From Shaw to Poel (actor, manager, and scholar). Originally laid inThe Dying Tongue of Great Elizabeth (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 2828 .S5). Physical Description
New York and London. Consists of an autograph note (signed) from Shaw to Reynolds on page two of a Typed letter signed from M. W. Putnam (of G. P. Putnam's Sons) to Paul Reynolds (of New York).Physical Description
Strachur, Argyllshire. From Shaw to Smith. Originally laid inThe Doctor's Dilemma, Getting Married and The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .A2 1911a). Physical Description
London. From Shaw to Sobieniowski (Shaw's translator). The original letter is written on the flyleaf ofAlan's Wife by Florence Eveleen Eleanore (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 4099 .B15 A79). Physical Description
From Shaw to Unwin (publisher)
In care ofThe Argoed. Physical Description
29 Fitzroy Square, West. The original is inserted inRuskin's Politics (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5267 .P6 S5). Physical Description
29 Fitzroy Square, West. Originally inserted inTranslations and Tomfooleries (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .A6 1926 c.4). Physical Description
29 Fitzroy Square, West. Originally inserted inHeartbreak House, Great Catharine, and Playlets of the War (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .A23 1919a). Physical Description
c/o Sidney Webb,The Argoed . From Shaw to Gleeson (editor of the Striker ). Originally inserted in John Bull's Other Island and Major Barbara; also how He Lied to Her Husband (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .J6 1907a).
10 Adelphi Terrace. Originally laid inPassion, Poison and Petrification, or, the Fatal Gazogene (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5365 .P37 1905). Printed presentation card with an autograph note and initialed by Shaw. Physical Description
Included in this folder are photocopies of original inscriptions by Shaw to various individuals in presentation copies of his books held in Special Collections. The list is arranged alphabetically by name of the individual to whom the presentation is addressed. Also provided are the call numbers for each book.
Autograph inscription signed. London. In:Translations and Tomfooleries (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .A6 1926a).
Autograph inscription signed. In:Man and Superman; A Comedy and a Philosophy (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .M3 1903a).
Autograph inscription signed. In:Prefaces (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5364 .P7 1934a).
Autograph inscription signed. In:An Unsocial Socialist (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5365 .U57 1887).
Autograph inscription signed. In:Misalliance, The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, and Fanny's First Play... (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .A25 1914 c.4).
Autograph inscription signed. Harrogate. In:The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (Special Collections call number: SPEC HX 246 .S53 1928a c. 2).
Autograph inscription signed. Ayot Saint Lawrence. In:Everybody's Political What's What (Special Collections call number: SPEC JC 257 .S5 1944).
Autograph inscription signed. In:On the Rocks (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .O65 1933).
Autograph inscription initialed. In:In Good King Charles's Days (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5363 .I5).
Autograph notes, bibliographic information, and inscription. Note states: "copy marked for Messr. Schneider & Jablonski...The author does not claim that this copy cannot be translated in Germany, as the 10 years have expired." In:Cashel Byron's Profession (Special Collections call number: SPEC PR 5365 .C37 1889). Physical Description
Printed copy with autograph notes by Shaw and signed by Shaw (and witness, Ann Elder).
The contract is for performances of Shaw's plays at the Repertory Theatre in Princess Square in Plymouth. The plays by Shaw included in the contract areCandida , You Never Can Tell , Captain Brassbound's Conversion , The Doctor's Dilemma , and Fanny's First Play . Physical Description
Printed receipt signed by Shaw with autograph insertions.
To George S. King and H. D. Parry. Money received for performances of Shaw'sFanny's First Play at the Repertory Theatre in Plymouth. Physical Description
Printed receipt signed by Shaw with autograph insertions and signed by Shaw.
To G. S. King for performances of Shaw'sYou Never Can Tell at the Repertory Theatre in Plymouth. Physical Description
Material is housed in a case with spine title What's What/Final Proof/ Supplementary Corrections/1944. Includes material originally laid in this final proof as well as the proof which Shaw has corrected in autograph notes. The proof also has typed slips of text as added by Shaw. The cover of the proof is stamped "second proof" and displays a lengthy autograph note to the publisher from Shaw. The material originally laid in the final proof edition is housed in a pocket in the case and is listed below. Citation for book is:Everybody's Political What's What (London: Constable, 1944).
Signed by Shaw. Concerns a correction to be made on page 99.Physical Description
Initialed and dated by Shaw. Concerns a correction for page 142.Physical Description
Initialed by Shaw. More corrections forEverybody's Political What's What . Physical Description
Shaw's initials appear on one page.Physical Description