Date Published: 1913 to 1950
Trained as a medical doctor at Cambridge University, Warwick Deeping served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War I. He abandoned medicine and became a full-time author. Seven of his novels were best-sellers, notably Sorrell and Son. During his career he published at least one or two novels annually as well as hundreds of short stories. His early work is dominated by historical romances. His later novels attempted to keep alive the spirit of the Edwardian age.
The collection contains 37 items dating from 1913 to 1950, specifically, 34 Autographed Signed Letters, 1 movie herald, 1 photo card, and 1 book (signature laid in).
34 Autographed Signed Letters (ALS):
• ALS to Arthur St. John Adcock (English novelist and poet), 4 October 1913, thanking him for the general notice in the Bookman.
• ALS to Miss Moseley, 24 November 1926, sending thanks for her letter and replying: “Here is a photo [no longer present]. May you have the best of good luck with your first book.” • ALS to Miss Sherma, 30 March 1927, says that he has been forbidden to write letters because he receives so many of them, but says “I hope you will like `Doomsday’ as well as Sorrell. I love them both, not merely because I wrote them, but because of the people in them.”
• ALS to “Dear Sir”, 5 August 1928. "Very many thanks for sending me a copy of 'The Forum.' It is delightfully done."
• ALS to [P.M.] Stone, 1 March 1931, sending thanks for his letter and adding: "It helps an author to know that the people he has created are equally real to the live people who read. I am afraid... my letters are legion, & if I answered all of them & at length, there would be no novels."
• ALS to Morley Stuart, 5 April 1934. “I'm afraid my correspondence is so very heavy that I cannot deal with letters as I might wish to. Cambridge is touched on incidentally in Sorrell, Smith & Old Pybus [three of his novels], especially Trinity College. As to the University in Fiction - that is beyond me. I suppose my feeling about that is that they are reverting to their original function - that of teaching those who are worth while. As schools for tailoring & manners they had their uses, & such details may still be of importance! Youth has a certain rawness that needs attention. Someone told me that Sorrell was a snob to send his son to Cambridge….”
• 4 ALS to Mr. [Clarence] Winchester, an editor, 28 September 1928, 20 November 1928, 23 January 1930, 9 January 1931, re his contributions to the Story-Teller.
• 8 ALS to Margaret Greenwood (13 September 1949, 16 September 1949 with envelope, n.d., 16 October 1949, 30 October 1949, 24 November 1949, 31 December 1949, and January 1950); 3 ALS from Deeping’s wife (née Phyllis Maude Merrill), 2 of these are under Warwick Deeping’s name but in her hand (28 July 1949, 2 August 1949, and 21 July 1950); and 13 TL of Greenwood's replies, 10 to Deeping and 3 to his wife (27 July 1949, 30 July 1949, 10 September 1949, 14 September 1949, 18 September 1949, 14 October 1949, 28 October 1949, 23 November 1949, 22 December 1949, 3 January 1950, 21 April 1950, 20 July 1950, 22 July 1950). Re the adaptation of his work for film. In good condition, lightly aged, held together with a brass stud. Deeping's 8 items of correspondence, all signed, total 9 pp. His wife's 8 letters total 4 pp. The copies of Greenwood's typed letters, totalling 16 pp., are written on the backs of discarded typed drafts of pages from Greenwood’s screenplays; other items in her papers indicate that she had worked in a bank, and as secretary to the actor Robert Donat, but that she was now living with her mother). She begins her first letter:“As you will see from the letter heading we are a company devoting our time to the writing of film scripts, based upon original or existing stories and plays. These are chosen because of their human appeal and potential entertainment value.” She claims that the firm's “reader” has brought to her attention Deeping's book Blind Man's Year, and that a “well known actress” is “anxious to portray Rosamund Gerard”. The first two replies are by Deeping's wife, the second signed “M P D per pro Warwick Deeping”. The Deepings grant consent to the adaptation, subject to approval by Deeping, and Deeping's response (13 September 1949) to the first sample of the adaptation is positive: “Excellent! The tale comes out with direction & simplicity.” He suggests £600 for the rights. Greenwood finds this “very reasonable”, revealing that Sonia Dresdel (1909-1976), the actress she had in mind for the female lead, “is delighted with the part”. On 26 October 1949, Deeping declares the complete adaptation “excellent”, explaining that “Writing is a difficult business as I had a stroke about nine months ago.” Four days later he agrees that “John Mills would be a very good choice” for the male lead, “especially if he could produce the book himself”, and reports that his wife is “as pleased with your rendering of the book, as I am, & she is a critical person”. Four weeks later, Greenwood writes to tell him that she is writing to Mills, and asks for permission to adapt Corn in Egypt. He feels that there is “a lot of good stuff” in the book, and that she “would make a very fine picture” out of it. In a two-page letter she describes points in the book she is uneasy about, and this elicits a two-page response from Deeping, in which he discusses “the machinery” which plays a prominent part in the story, explaining that he and his wife “had all these things on our small farm”. He finds her adaptation of the second book better than the first, concluding: “I was doubtful about the end, but when I had read your treatment of it, I was moved to let it stand.” A three-page letter from Greenwood, at the beginning of 1950, meets with a terse reply from Deeping: “You have the exclusive rights of `Blind Man's Year’ & not just a temporary lease. | Good luck to it.” On 21 April 1950, she sends a letter of condolence to Mrs. Deeping, with a business letter regarding the rights to Woman at the Door three months later. In her response (21 July 1950), Mrs. Deeping thanks her for her sympathy (“I need it.”) and explains about the large amount of correspondence she has to deal with. A further query from Greenwood, made the following day, appears to have gone unanswered.
1 Book (signature laid in):
Sorrell and Son. London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1928. 3s. 6d. edition (8th impression). Green cloth in illustrated slightly chipped dust wrapper with red, blue, black and white coloured titles to the front panel and black and white coloured titles to the backstrip. Deeping’s signature on a sheet, dated 30 March 1924, affixed to the front free endpaper. Softening and rubbing of the backstrip edges with rubbing of the book corners. There is cocking of the spine along with light tanning of the text block edges and pages. The rear fold over panel has almost become completely detached from the dust wrapper. Rubbing to the dust wrapper edges and to the panels along with some sunning to the backstrip.
1 Movie Herald
• For Herbert Brenon’s production of Deeping’s Sorrel & Son, United Artists Picture (1927), stamped Temple Theatre, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, showing on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
1 Colour photo card:
• W.D. & Howells, Wills’s Cigarettess, issued by the Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain & Ireland Limited, no. 8, probably after Bassano Ltd. [1937.]
Collection on consignment with LDRB.