Manuscript Letters and Documents
London: 1917-1928. Manuscript material. A small collection of letters to James Douglas including typed and handwritten items on his family genealogy, a letter from his son with a condolence letter from his son’s commanding officer, an original photograph, and a leaf bearing the signature of William Randolph Hearst. James Douglas (1867-1940) was a British newspaper editor, critic, and author. He was known as a moralist and was in favor of censorship. As the editor of the Sunday Express in the 1920s, he launched a campaign against Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, writing “ I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this book.” He also negatively reviewed Joyce’s Ulysses. This collection comprises an eclectic assortment of items. Douglas was apparently interested in his family’s genealogy, and there are typewritten summaries of his research as well as two letters written to him from clergymen in response to inquiries about his family sent to their parish. There are two typewritten articles by Douglas, one a nostalgic memoir of his childhood Christmases, and the other a piece on meeting Mussolini. Included also is an original photo of Douglas, and, for undetermined reasons, a leaf bearing William Randolph Hearst’s autograph on stationery from the Savoy Hotel in London. Most poignant are two letters from World War I. One is from Douglas’s son, Brian, a member of the RAF, written in 1917 from the WWI front in France. It is a four-page, sweet and chatty letter to “My dearest Pater,” inquiring about his sister’s health, saying how he enjoys flying, talking about a recent article on an incident written about in the Daily Mail about a Hun aerodome bombing, and requesting new pajamas (silk Tartan) and more good books. He signs it “Ever your loving Brian.” The other is a two-page letter to Douglas from his son’s commander, Frank Russell, following the death of Brian in early 1918. In it he conveys the return of Brian’s watch, and thanks Douglas for his kind expression of thanks over the telephone. All items are in very good condition. ALS/062111. Very Good.