Mortimer, Penelope (1918-1999)
Scope:
The Penelope Mortimer collection includes manuscripts, notebooks, correspondence, journals and diaries, and printed material.

Manuscripts for novels by Mortimer in the collection include her novels Holiday (unpublished, 1946); Johanna (Secker and Warburg, 1947); The Pumpkin Eater (Hutchinson, 1962; McGraw, 1963); Long Distance (Doubleday, 1974); and The Handyman (Allan Lane, 1983; St. Martin’s Press, 1985).

Manuscripts for non-fiction by Mortimer includes About Time: An Aspect of Autobiography (Doubleday, 1979); Queen Elizabeth: A Life of the Queen Mother (Viking, 1986); About Time Too (second volume of autobiography; Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1993); and Time After Time (a projected, unfinished third volume of autobiography).

Manuscripts for screenplays by Mortimer include Bunny Lake is Missing (written with John Mortimer; Columbia, 1965); Come Spy With Me (unfinished, 1960s); The Death of a Princess (television movie, 1980); Little Miss Muspratt ; The Apple Tree (1987); Summer Story (Atlantic Entertainment Group, 1988); and Portrait of a Marriage for the television series Masterpiece Theatre (adapted from Nigel Nicolson’s memoir; PBS, 1992).

Other manuscripts in the collection include short stories; essays; book and film reviews; journalistic articles (1970s); a three-act play titled The Nursery (1960); radio plays titled Three’s One and White Rabbit (1983); and notes, outlines, sketches, and drafts for various other projects.

Notebooks in the collection includes Mortimer’s early writings (poetry and prose) from the 1930s and 1940s; these include notes for what would become her novel Johanna . Other notebooks include notes on creative writing classes Mortimer taught at Boston University (1975-1977); six journalism notebooks, including a notebook with transcribed interviews with Tom Stoppard, Pam Ayres, and Wilfred Wood (1980s); ten notebooks used for Queen Elizabeth; and other notebooks with notes, lists, letter drafts, and other writings.

Correspondence in the collection includes both personal and professional letters, to and from Mortimer.

Personal correspondence includes letters to and from family, friends, and readers. These date from ca. 1928 to 1995, and include several letters from her husband John Mortimer (1950s-1992) documenting the history of their romance, marriage, and divorce. Other notable correspondents include A. S. Byatt, Al Alvarez, Elizabeth Bishop, Bette Davis, Doris Lessing, Gerry Mulligan, Joyce Carol Oates, Alan Resnais, Eva Marie Saint, Yehudi Menuhin, Howard Moss, May Sarton, Tom Stoppard, Donald Sutherland, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Irene Worth, and Richard Yates. Please note that the Dirk Bogarde collection includes several letters from Bogarde to Mortimer (1971-1993) chronicling their long friendship.

Professional correspondence primarily consists of letters from editors and publishers regarding Mortimer’s writing. Correspondence regarding Queen Elizabeth (1986) includes letters from Princess Margaret, Sir Harold MacMillan, Lady Elizabeth Longford, Hugo Vickers, Michael Thornton, John Grigg, and Nadine Gordimer, as well a series of letters documenting the history of the project. Correspondence regarding About Time Too (1993) includes letters from Dirk Bogarde and Harold Pinter. Correspondence from literary agents includes letters from A. P. Watt, Ltd.; Leah Schmidt; Felicity Bryan; and Mike Shaw. Correspondence with publishers includes letters from Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Bloomsbury, Secker and Warburg, Chatto and Windus, and Andre Deutsch.

Journals and diaries in the collection include Mortimer’s journal notebooks (1938-1996); daily planners (1947-1982), and calendars (1977-1986, 1990).

Printed material in the collection primarily consists of the published versions of Mortimer’s writings, including her journalism (1954-1980), short stories, and other works. Also included are two scrapbooks of press clippings (1954-1971) as well as other clippings and printed interviews. Periodical titles include Evening Standard, Women’s Own, Daily Mail, Sunday Dispatch, Daily Express, Sunday Mirror, and The Observer .
CLICK BELOW TO VIEW THE INVENTORY OF THE COLLECTION
Notable Figures
1. Mortimer, Penelope, 1918-1999
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Novels and Short Stories Subject Guide
2. Literary Collections Subject Guide
3. English literature – Women authors
4. English literature – 20th century
5. Women authors, English
6. Diaries