Date Published: 1933-1981
J.B. Priestley was an English novelist, playwright, and broadcaster. He was one of England's last great writers. Priestley was a member of the last generation of freethinking British "sages" who contemplated both science and philosophy in their literary output. Priestley gained considerable fame as "the voice of the common people", as he was often called, a patriotic radio broadcaster, second in popularity only to Winston Churchill. He was offered a knighthood and a peerage as a token of his homeland's esteem for his work, both of which he refused, but he did accept the Order of Merit in 1977.
J.B. (John Boynton) Priestley collection of 43 items including 12 Typed Signed Letters (TSL), 3 Signed Typescripts , 28 B&w photos and a small medal.
12 Typed Signed Letters (TSL);
1) TLS to S. Lloyd Kay (Messrs. Banks of Cheltenham Ltd.), 2 October 1933. “Many thanks for your invitation of the 26th September. I am sorry I cannot accept it as I have already have arranged to be in the North of England at the end of this month. With the best wishes of the success of the function….”
2) TLS to A. Cecil Piper, Public Library, Richmond, Surrey, 7 September, 1934: “Many thanks for your invitation to your Rotary Club. I am sorry I cannot accept it, but I expect to be so busy this autumn with theatrical and film work, which often demands one's instant attention, and am compelled to refuse nearly all invitations of this kind.”
3) TLS to [Adrian?] Brunel, 17 November 1936, informing Brunel that his play isn’t suitable (“It is undoubtedly as well done as most plays that get performed but I do not feel that either its action or its dialogue are quite good enough for a big theme of this kind.”).
4) TLS to Mrs. Parker, 29 August 1945, re finding a publisher for her children’s poems.
5) TLS to Mr. Darwin, 23 December 1958, re “Bedlam” (“I think there is some excellent stuff in it [“Bedlam”] but I think you should put some more work in it.”)
6) TLS to Miss Lanier, 17 March 1964, telling her that she is an insightful reader of his books that he has two books that will be published soon (Sir Michael and Sir George and Man and Time).
7) TLS to Mrs. Agnes Darrell-Smith, 17 April 1968, “I have not replied before to your letter of 31st March because I was abroad when it arrived here and have not long been back. Not being a film star I am afraid I have no photograph to give you and all I can offer is this letter, together with my best wishes.” TLS to P.R. Threadgold, 1 September 1976, informing him that he has nothing to do with the management or business arrangements of The Good Companions musical.
8) TLS to Sir Denis Forman, 7 November 1977, thanking him for his outstanding letter (“it is both warm and witty, a rare combination.”).
9) TLS to Denis Forman of Grenada Television Ltd., 7 November 1977, thanking him for his warm and witty letter. 2 short articles about Priestly; a colour Wills’s cigarette card of Priestley, n.d.;
10) TLS to the Argus Book Shop of Chicago, 3 September 1933, with envelope, in which he outlines several recent works to aid in the publishing of the upcoming Argus catalogue: “Moreover, I am not—and never have been—a collector of first or special editions, though of course I include many such collectors among my friends.”
11&12) TLS to Mrs. Allen, 30 September 1942, telling Mrs. Allen that of the three poems sent to him written by her son, Dennis Allen, “The Poet” is the best one (ts.of “The Poet” enclosed with letter).
3 Signed Typescripts;
1) Typescript, 5 pp., signed by Priestley, dated “Sunday, 20th 1940” on p. 1. The text is for his final war-time broadcast for the BBC, which begins: “This is my last Sunday postscript for some time, perhaps the last I shall ever do.”
2) Typescript, “At the Wedding Feast”, an excerpt from his novel The Thirty-First of June (1961), 7 pp., signed on the last page, “J.B. Priestley, August 30th 1968”.
3) Signed ts., “Atlantis” [re book entitled The Chronicles of Osiris. Set down in the House of El Eros-El Erua, they being Male-Female, born according to the Laws governing the Dhuman-Adamic Race, this being their fourth Incarnation], 8 pp., 1928
28 Photos of Priestley;
• 26 b&w photos of Priestley, 1950-81; b&w photo of his wife (Jacquetta Hawkes) and other protesters at Trafalgar Square Demonstration, 9 April 1959 ; B&w photo of Priestley looking at a manuscript (“A Master of the Pen in His Study”), 12 January 1932
• Brass medal of Priestley.
This collection is on consignment with LDRB.