JAMESON, Margaret Storm (1891-1986). A small archive of letters and books, 1921-70.
The received correspondence includes letters from:
Virginia WOOLF (1882-1941). Autograph letter signed (‘Virginia Woolf’), 31 December 1938, politely declining to be become a Vice-President of the PEN Society, for ‘you are right in thinking that I do not like societies. I never join them now, & indeed refused some years ago to join the Club for this reason’. One page, small 4to;
Aldous HUXLEY (1894-1963). Autograph letter signed (‘Aldous Huxley’), 23 March 1943, regretting that time constraints mean he cannot contribute a chapter [to a proposed book on disarmament], and in any case, ‘this problem of a motive for the upholding of the human decencies is one that I am far from having got clear in my own mind’. He explores this at length, despairing of finding an equally ‘intoxicating faith’ to that of war and separatism, for ‘hatred pays a higher dividend of satisfaction than a mild and tolerant benevolence’, and the activities of intellectuals ‘only affect other people like ourselves’. 4 pages, oblong 8vo; Edmund Blunden (3); H.G. Wells (2); Osbert Sitwell (3); Edith Sitwell; Walter de la Mare (11); J.B. Priestly; Henry Nevinson (15); Arthur Koestler (3); André Gide (2); Thornton Wilder; Gerald Bullett; and others. Altogether 113 letters received.
The novelist Storm Jameson's received correspondence reflects the broad spectrum of literary activity into which she threw her not-inconsiderable authorial energies. A founding member of the Peace Pledge Union, she invites Edmund Blunden to join as a contributor to a ‘Disarmament Ring’ (he offers a poem of 100-150 verses, asking ‘How long do you allow your Bards?’) as well as Huxley, a fellow creator of dystopian fiction. Her science fiction novels bring recognition from H.G. Wells, while Walter de la Mare enters into a longer correspondence, apparently quite taken with Jameson (confiding he was daunted to speak to her at one party: ‘I thought you were an intellectual. But you are, of course.’), on more general matters literary (‘What being have imagined characters and places? I can distinguish no essential difference between them & the so-called real except a partial uncorroboratibleness’). Many of the letters date from her time as president of the English branch of the PEN Society: those from Henry Nevinson deal with the handing over of the presidency as well as contemporary literature and the progress of the war, while Arthur Koestler writes with thinly-veiled fury about his resignation from the society over accusations of tax avoidance. Her writings attract letters from Nobel prize winners (from André Gide and Thornton Wilder to Lawrence Bragg) and military men (including Henry Harwood), a testament to her recognition outside of literary society in the 1930s and '40s. [With:] a copy of Storm Jameson's two-volume autobiography, Journey from the North, with autograph emendations and tipped-in material (photographs, further letters and annotated typescripts) [And:] diploma and further material related to her honorary membership of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters [And:] four books by Osbert Sitwell and two by Sacheverell Sitwell, all with authorial presentation inscriptions [And:] a signed edition of the Fothergill Omnibus, 1931.