Foreword: T.H. White Holdings at the Harry Ransom Center

By Oram, Richard W. | Arthuriana, Fall 2006 | Go to article overview

Foreword: T.H. White Holdings at the Harry Ransom Center


Oram, Richard W., Arthuriana


Kurth Sprague's study of T.H. White's The Once and Future King is based in part on his research in the large White archive at the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas at Austin). The recent arrival of additional correspondence provides an opportunity to acquaint scholars with the Center's substantial (and underutilized) holdings of White materials and research opportunities therein.

White's archives were purchased by the Ransom Center between 1967 and 1969 and include manuscript materials for 108 novels, short stories, articles, poems, and other works. Titles represented include The Age of Scandal, The Book of Beasts, The Elephant and the Kangaroo, England Have My Bones, The Godstone and the Blackymor, The Goshawk, The Master, Mistress Masham 's Repose, the entire The Once and Future King, The Scandalmonger, The Witch in the Wood, and You Can 'tKeep a Good Man Down. The manuscript of The Book of Merlyn was published by the University of Texas Press in 1977. These manuscripts are accompanied by six unpublished journals dating from 1938 to 1963 totaling 1,051 pages and nine notebooks totaling 1,200 pages.

The number of letters from White is relatively small (others may be found at the University of Reading), and the bulk of it is the correspondence between White and his good friend David Garnett, which was published in 1968. Thus it was a pleasant surprise to receive a group of letters from White to his Stowe neighbors, the Wheeler family, generously donated in 2006 by Mrs. Josephine Wheeler Edrich. White wrote to several members of the family and was particularly close to Josephine (José or Josie) Wheeler, who was considerably younger than the author. His letters to her from the mid-1940s are revealing, shedding new light on his relationships with women in general. …

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