Manuscripts, Letters, Books
- The sites, library and
collections listed here provide a further port of call for Coward
- The books shown were written
by or about Coward's contemporaries. They contain useful information
about Coward and his work and his relationships with others.
NEW on this page:
and 'A Man Called Intrepid'
- References to public collections
of papers associated with Noel Coward with links where known:
- The Historical Manuscripts Commission
- Website: http://www.hmc.gov.uk/
- This commision has been established
by the Government to rationalise and protect manuscript resources
across the UK. The site will be of increasing importance in establishing
where collections of manuscripts relating to individuals are
kept. In the case of Noel Coward the following references were
found using the Lycos search engine. When we tried to repeat
the search using the engine of the HMC site we did not get the
responses shown below. This perhaps indicates that the site is
still being developed and that the search engine is not working
correctly - or that we are not using the correct approch to searching!
It will be worth watching though and should provide some further
sources for those Coward papers not under the care of the Coward
Sir Noel Coward - (1899-1973) Knight Playwright and Composer
- Correspondence and literary
papers for the location of these papers see:
Reference : Location register of 20th century English literary
- 1924-66: corresp with Basil
Manchester University: John Rylands Library
Reference : Location register of 20th century English literary
- 1931-52: corresp with League
British Library, Manuscript Collections
Reference : Add MSS 63370
- 1967-72: corresp with Joseph
British Film Institute
Reference : Losey 341
NRA 34678 BFI
- Letters to Esme Wynne (Noël
Coward: letters to his childhood friend Esme Wynne ('Stodge'),
incl details of his work.)
Reference : Annual Return 1995 RP 95/1489
- Biographies and Publications
- Ego - Volumes 1 to 9 1945 James Agate These
volumes make up the diaries of James Agate, the drama critic
of The Times. They are very hard to find nowadays, especially
the earlier volumes. There are also three volumes of 'A Shorter
Ego' edited by Agate himself that contain edited versions of
the 9 volumes - these are also hard to find. Lastly there is
'The Selective Ego' edited by Tim Beaumont that contains selections
from the 9 volumes. This was published in 1976 and is easier
to find. The books contain criticisms of plays from June 1932
to June 1947 and other diary information. There is information
here of Coward during this critical period of his life.
- Showman Looks On 1945. Charles B. Cochran.
Limited references to Coward with no inside information on how
they worked together.
- A Star Danced 1945. Gertrude
Lawrence. This somewhat shaky autobiography does provide other
views of Coward but there is not a lot that is not included elsewhere.
- The Contemporary Theatre 1946. James Agate.
Two interesting references to Coward in this book on 'Private
Lives' and 'Sigh No More'
- Ivor Novello - Man of the
Peter Noble. The Foreword by Coward is only present in the first
edition as by the time of the second edition Novello had tragically
died. There are many references to Coward.
- Ivor - the Story of Achievement 1951. W. Macqueen-Pope.
Another Novello biography written after his death. Many Coward
- Ivor Novello 1987. James Harding. Probably
the best biography of Ivor Novello with numerous refernces to
Coward and his works.
- Gertrude Lawrence as 'Mrs.
Richard Stoddard Aldrich. A tender and moving book by her husband,
who, given the time of his writing, spares little in describing
their lives. Good background reading with some Coward references
Companion to Coward (A
revised version due out 1999/2000) 1957 Raymond
Mander & Joe Mitchenson The result of a theatrical archive
and placed here as it brings together commentaries of the plays
"The Rat Trap" through to "Nude With Violin"
with an 'Appreciation' by Terence Rattigan plus Radio & TV
scripts, songs & sketches, unproduced & unpublished plays
and unproduced sketches & lyrics. A new edition is due out
Mist Procession - The
Autobiography of Lord Vansittart - 1958. Pb. Hutchinson.
The autobiography has three references to Noel Coward.
- It Isn't All Mink 1959. Ginette Spanier.
The Directrice of the House of Balmain whose Paris home was Coward's
first port of call in Paris. He wrote the introduction to this
book, about her fraught passage through the war years and her
post-war role with Pierre Balmain.The book links with entries
in 'The Noel Coward Diaries'.
- The Last
Fred Bason. Edited by Noel Coward This fourth diary by Fred Bason
has many entries concerning Coward who edited and introduces
- Curtains A Critic's view of plays, players and
theatrical events 1950 - 1960 1961. Kenneth
Tynan Born too late to be a critic of Coward at his peak as a
playwright, this book has some references to Coward in the 50's
but its main value is in providing background information of
the theatre at this time and the changes that so upset Coward.
Man Called Intrepid - The Secret War 1939-1945 - 1976 A book about the British Security Coordination
which made a major contribution to Allied victory in WWII. Includes
information on Noel Coward's wartime activity.
- Gladys Cooper - 1979. A Biography by
Sheridan Morley. Sheridan Morley's grandmother and a close friend
of Coward - this book has lots of Coward references.
- Somerset Maugham 1980. Ted Morgan.
Biography of this playwright and novelist. Sheridan Morley says
that he was the only playwright apart from Noel to have had four
plays running simultaneously during the first half of the century.
It has lots of Coward references.
Sheridan Morley. A book about Gertie with masses on their professional
and private relationship. Re-issued in 1999 paired with 'Talent
- Astaire - The Biography 1987. Tim Satchell.
Lots of references to how Fred and Adele Astaire met Coward and
- Spread a Little Happiness 1987. The First
Hundred Years of the British Musical. Sheridan Morley. Great
book with lots of Coward references, plus pictures, posters etc.
Includes a 'set-up' picture of Noel Coward and Gladys Calthrop
watching Mary Martin modelling one of her gowns for Pacific 1980.
- Myrna Loy : Being And Becoming
1987 By James
Kotsilibas-Davis and Myrna LoyAlfred published by A. Knopf, Inc.
Some Coward references.
Beverley Nichols a Life 1991 Written by Bryan Connon. A very readable
and well constructed biography that provides a reasoned alternative
to Nichol's autobiographies which are full of inconsistences,
bitter attacks (especially on his father John Nichols) and invented
episodes. Connon examines all of the evidence and provides reasons
for Nichol's aberrant writing and actions. The book contain numerous
references to his friends Noel Coward, Ivor Novello and Ned Lathom.
He struggled all his life to be taken seriously and was a prolific
writer on a wide variety of issues and topics but is best remembered
for his books on gardening and cats.
- John Gielgud's Notes from
the Gods - 1994.
Playgoing in the Twenties. John Gielgud edited by Richard
Mangan An item from the Mander and Mitchenson archive of John
Gielgud's notes on his playgoing in the 20s.
- Michael Redgrave, My Father 1995. Corin
Redgrave. A book about Michael Redgrave by his son Corin. It
mentions Coward only twice including an extract from Corin's
mother, Rachel Kempson's autobiography ('A Family and Its Fortunes')
where she recounts talking to Coward about the evening before
Redgrave was going to 'join up' at Plymouth at the beginning
of the war. He had spent that evening with Noel Coward rather
than with her. Coward said that he hadn't wished to hurt her
but he had found Michael so irresistibly charming.
- New Dictionary of National
Biography 2002 with
a new, 5000 word entry on Coward by Philip Hoare.
Magazines and Newspapers
- Magazines and newspapers etc.
that contain articles about Coward and his work.
- I've been to a Marvellous
Party ... (WIT Magazine)
Summer 1998 Kenneth Tynan A reprint of an article
by Kenneth Tynan in the US magazine "Wit" written some
years ago and largely a review of Cole Lesley's biography "Remembered
Copyright - The Noel Coward Society -