Maugham, W. Somerset (1874-1965)
Scope:
The W. Somerset Maugham papers are grouped into two separate collections. The W. Somerset Maugham collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, and other material. The Loren and Frances Rothschild Maugham collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, printed material, and other items. The latter collection contains the material acquired by collector Loren Rothschild.

Manuscripts by Maugham in the W. Somerset Maugham collection consist of a handwritten draft fragment of a short autobiographical essay (1936); Maugham’s original preface for a exhibition catalog of paintings by Sir Gerald Kelly (1950); his working draft of a preface to the Doubleday edition of his complete short stories (1952); and a fragment of autobiography (1956). Manuscripts by others include poems by Henry Neville Maugham (ca. 1904); a speech by Rev. Sturgis Riddle (1962); Ruth Bellamy’s birthday tribute to Maugham (1965); and some other items.

Correspondence makes up the bulk of the Maugham collection. These letters in include letters to and from Maugham, as well as letters to Alan Searle (Maugham’s secretary and companion from 1944 to 1965) and a few other letters, including an autograph signed letter from Charles Dickens dated 1851.

The letters from Maugham contain a set of 18 letters to Louis Legrand (a lover and friend of Gerald Haxton, Maugham’s first long term secretary and companion) written between 1944 and 1964. Maugham complied with one of Haxton’s final wishes and looked after Legrand’s well-being, providing him some financial support. These letters provide a record of the men’s relationship. Also present are letters from Maugham to George Cukor, Damon Runyon, and Vivian Sharp.

The letters to Maugham and Searle include many important literary, artistic, political, and royal figures of the first half of the twentieth century. Most of the letters were written between 1930 and 1965. A majority of the letters are handwritten. The collection has a significant number of letters from Richard Aldington, William Maxwell Beaverbrook, Clive Bell, R. E. Butler, Winston Churchill, Jean Cocteau, Noël Coward, Eve Fairfax, E. M. Forster, Gerald Heard, Michael Jolyvan, Gerald Kelly, Guy Little, Edith Sitwell, Osbert Sitwell, Graham Sutherland, Frank Arthur Swinnerton, and H. G. Wells. Other correspondents include Kingsley Amis, T. S. Eliot, Jacob Epstein, John Gielgud, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Aga Khan, Rudyard Kipling, Louis Legrand, Vivien Leigh, Claire Boothe Luce, Liza Maugham, Robin Maugham, Oliver Messel, Henry Miller, Bernard Law Montgomery, Robert Morley, Romola Nijinsky, Dorothy Parker, S. J. Perelman, J. B. Priestley, Terence Rattigan, Siegfried Sassoon, Stephen Spender, Carl Van Vechten, Hugh Walpole, Alex Waugh, Evelyn Waugh, Wallis Warfield (Simpson) Windsor, and Anna May Wong.

Legal material and documents in the collection include Maugham’s birth certificate, three British passports, an inventory of the Maugham estate, and Maugham’s last will and testament. There is also a royalty agreement for “A Lambeth Idyll” (1897), a contract for a radio broadcast of Theatre (1950), and employment documents regarding Alan Searle. Also present are some of Maugham’s bank records from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Other items in the Maugham collection include an etching of Maugham by Hubert Andrew Freeth, dated 1946; a lithograph of Maugham by Graham Sutherland, dated 1953; 17 pamphlets, printed between 1930 and 1965; newspaper and magazine clippings from the 1950s and 1960s; address books; travel itineraries; business cards; and several locks of Maugham’s hair.

Manuscripts in the Loren and Frances Rothschild Maugham collection consist of holograph and typescript drafts, as well as proofs and galleys with notations by Maugham. Book-length works include The Painted Veil (Doran, 1925); The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong (Doubleday, Doran, 1930); Great Novelists and Their Novels (Winston, 1948); A Writer’s Notebook (Doubleday, 1949); The Maugham Reader (Doubleday, 1950); The Vagrant Mood (Heinemann, 1952); and Ten Novels and Their Authors (Heinemann, 1954).

Shorter pieces include the short story “The Fortunate Painter and the Honest Jew” (1906); the play Lady Frederick (first produced in London, 1907); an adaptation of Moliere’s play The Perfect Gentleman (first produced in London, 1913); the play The Camel’s Back (first produced in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1923); and eleven speeches given by Maugham. Also present are several introductions by Maugham for his books; most of these are prefaces for editions of “The Collected Works of W. Somerset Maugham” series, reprinted by Hinemann between 1934 and 1937. Titles introduced include Liza of Lambeth (1934); The Painted Veil (1934); The Narrow Corner (1934); Cakes and Ale (1934); The Moon and Sixpence (1935); The Trembling of a Leaf (1935); Ah King (1936); and Of Human Bondage (1937). The collection also includes a teleplay adaptation by Robert J. Shaw of The Narrow Corner (1951).

Correspondence in the collection consists of numerous items, primarily letters from Maugham to various recipients. There are several hundred letters to Alan Searle (1930s-1940s), and many letters to Jerome Zipkin (1940s-1960s), Lady Juliet Duff (1935-1962), and Gerald Kelly (1904-1962). Also present are letters from Maugham to Lord Beaverbrook, Ian Fleming, Syrie Maugham, and Pat and Alexander Frere. The collection also includes a group of letters written to Jerome Zipkin by various individuals. These letters are all related to Maugham, and include letters from Alan Searle, Martin Secker, Nelson and Ellen Doubleday, Klaus Jonas, Robin Maugham, and Ted Morgan.

The collection contains over 40 photographs. These include 19 portrait photos of Maugham, taken between 1934 and 1963; 9 photographs of various portrait paintings of Maugham; and several miscellaneous images.

Printed material in the collection includes approximately 100 periodicals containing published writings by Maugham, dating from 1900 to 1962. Some of these are rare complete sets of serialized novels. Publications include Punch, Pall Mall, Strand Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Motion Picture Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Hearst’s International, Harper’s Bazaar, Golden Book Magazine, Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Cornhill Magazine, Picture Post, Show, and Vogue.

Also included are a number of newspapers containing articles and reviews regarding Maugham. Other items include several dozen playbills for productions of Maugham’s plays, dating between 1903 (the year of his first produced play) to 1976 (a revival of The Circle); and catalogs, guides, bibliographies of Maugham materials, and biographical and reference items.

Other items in the collection include several drawings and painted portraits of Maugham, as well as a sculpted bust of Maugham created by Jacob Epstein; phonograph, cassette, and compact disc recordings of readings of Maugham’s work; video cassette and laserdisc recordings of film adaptation of Maugham’s writings, dating from 1929 through 1964; an Incorporated Stage Society contract (1904); a tax return (1948-1949); Robin Maugham’s memorial service program; and various Maugham ephemera, including posters, a bookplate, sheet music, and a leather portfolio.

CLICK BELOW TO VIEW THE INVENTORY OF THE COLLECTION
Notable Figures
1. Maugham, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. LGBT Subject Guide