The Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany

Finding aid prepared by Errol Stevens (?)
William H. Hannon Library
Loyola Marymount University
One LMU Drive, MS 8200
Los Angeles, CA 90045-8200
Phone: (310) 338-5710
Fax: (310) 338-5895
Email: spec.coll@lmu.edu
URL: http://library.lmu.edu/collections/archivesandspecialcollections/
© 2012
Loyola Marymount University. All rights reserved.

The Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany

Collection number: 004

William H. Hannon Library

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, California
Processed by:
Errol Stevens (?)
Encoded by:
Clay Stalls
© 2012 Loyola Marymount University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: The Willow Wray collection of the writings of Lord Dunsany
Dates: 1947-1959
Collection number: 004
Creator: Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Baron, 1878-1957
Collector: Wray, Willow
Collection Size: 6 archival document boxes, 1 oversize box 2.7 linear feet
Repository: Loyola Marymount University. Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
Abstract: The Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany consists of signed and unsigned manuscripts, letters, photographs, clippings, and numerous published works of Lord Dunsany.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

Collection is open to research under the terms of use of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.

Publication Rights

Materials in the Department of Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Loyola Marymount University does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or executors. The estate of Lord Dunsany retains all copyright and literary rights to his works.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Series number, Box and Folder number, The Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany, 004, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.

Acquisition Information

Loyola Marymount University (then Loyola University) purchased the collection in 1962 from Willow Wray, Lord Dunsany's literary agent. Accession Number: 1995.9

Processing History

Based on internal departmental documentation, it seems likely that Dr. Errol Stevens, then head of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, processed the collection, circa 1995.

Lord Dunsany Biography

The author and playwright Edward John Moreton Drax Plunket, better known as Lord Dunsany, deeply influenced the development of the literary genres of horror and fantasy. He was born in London in 1878 to Anglo-Irish family of Plunkett, lords of Dunsany Castle, in County Meath, northwest of Dublin, Ireland. The future Lord Dunsany was educated in public school at Eton, which seems to have been unpleasant for him, until the age of sixteen, when his father had him entered into Sandhurst, the British military academy, in 1896. Lord Dunsany graduated and entered British military service as an officer with the Coldstream Guards, serving in the Boer War and seeing action at such battles as Modder River. This took place in 1899, the same year that Lord Dunsany inherited Dunsany Castle on the death of his father.
In 1901 Dunsany returned to civilian life. In 1904 he married Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers, whose father was the Earl of Jersey; the couple made Dunsany Castle their principal residence for the next twenty years. Randal Arthur Henry, the couple's first and only child, was born in 1906.
Lord Dunsany settled down to the country life of an Anglo-Irish nobleman, but he had greater ambitions. In 1903, he had begun experimenting in writing in short stories. The end result was The Gods of Pegana, a collection of short stories concerning mythological gods and lands, both with a malevolent bent. In short Dunsany was creating, or at least helping to create, "sword and sorcery" fantasy. He had to pay for the publication of this first work, but The Gods of Pegana enjoyed strong enough sales that he never had to pay to publish his works again. Over the next decade he published six more books, all of which concerned mythological fantasy.
In 1914, Lord Dunsany became a playwright with the production of his first play, at Dublin's famous Abbey Theatre, the one-act "The Glittering House." It was the first of many, for Dunsany continued to write plays through the 1930s. Ironically, his plays were more popular in the United States than they were in either England or Ireland.
In World War I, Lord Dunsany re-joined the British Army, gaining the rank of captain with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. As a Unionist, he fought against the Irish Nationalists in the Dublin Uprising of 1916, and in the brutal trench warfare on the continent, Lord Dunsany saw combat at the Battle of the Somme that same year.
After the war Lord Dunsany continued to write fantasy fiction and plays. His 1924 novel, The King of Elfland's Daughter, marked a notable entry in the field of fantasy fiction. He also wrote short stories related to themes in Irish culture, as well as pieces related to his experiences in World War I. The most important development in his writings was the creation of the character "Mr. Joseph Jorkens," who first appeared in 1931. Jorkens is a member of a London gentleman's club, and a raconteur who spins tales for other members, tales which have a more than a touch of fantasy and oddness.
After World War II, Lord Dunsany's reputation declined, and he is best known today for his influence on such writers as H. P. Lovecraft and Arthur C. Clarke and their development of science fiction and horror genres. In short, Lord Dunsany is considered a minor writer, more important for his initial role in developing fantasy fiction, with correlative influence on other genres, especially science fiction and horror.
Sources for this biography include:
  • Knepper, B. G. "Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Lord Dunsany (24 July-25 October 1957)." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 10 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1982): 152-162.
  • Wessells, Henry, "Lord Dunsany: Pioneer of Modern Fantasy." AB Bookman's Weekly 102, no. 16 (1988): 703-706.

Chronology of Life of Lord Dunsany

1878 Edward John Moreton Drax Plunket, Lord of Dunsany, born in London to Anglo-Irish family of Plunkett, owners of Dunsany Castle, in the County Meath, northwest of Dublin, Ireland.
1896 Edward Plunkett (Lord Dunsany) enters Sandhurst.
1899 Edward Plunkett inherits title "Lord Dunsany" on death of his father, John Edward, Lord of Dunsany.
1899 Lord Dunsany serves in Boer War with the Coldstream Guards as an officer.
1904 Marries Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers.
1905 His first collection of fantasy fiction, The Gods of Pegana, published.
1909 The Glittering Gate, his first play, performed in the Abbey Theatre of Dublin.
1912 His Book of Wonder, a collection of fantasy short stories, published.
circa 1916-1918 Serves in the trenches of World War I as captain in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
1922 His novel Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley published.
1924 His novel The King of Elfland's Daughter published.
1931 His Travel Tales of Jorken published.
1957 Lord Dunsany dies.

Collection Description

The collection consists of signed and unsigned manuscripts, letters, photographs, clippings, and numerous published works of Lord Dunsany.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into the following series:
  • 1. Short Stories, Plays, Essays
  • 2. Poems
  • 3. Book Materials: "Another Year"
  • 4. Correspondence
  • 5. Photographs of Lord Dunsany
  • 6. Clippings

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
English Literature
Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Baron, 1878-1957
Authors, Irish -- 20th century
Fantasy fiction, English -- Irish authors -- 20th century
Mythologists -- 20th century

Related Collections


 

Series 1:   Short Stories, Plays, Essays. undated

Physical Description: 3 archival document boxes (Materials in Box 3 overlap with materials in Series 2).

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of short stories, plays, and essays that Lord Dunsany authored. At least some of the plays were known to have been produced, eg, The Strange Lover, staged in Dublin in 1938. Many of the short stories concern "Joseph Jorkens," the lead character in some of Lord Dunsany's best short stories. The format is typescripts or carbons of typescripts unless otherwise noted. Some items are signed. All are undated.
Box 1, Folder 1

At the Scene of the Crime (signed).

Box 1, Folder 2

At the Stavlokratz Chess Club.

Box 1, Folder 3

A Bit of Counter-Espionage (4 copies, 1 signed).

Box 1, Folder 4

The Black Mamba (3 copies).

Box 1, Folder 5

The Chambermaid of the Splendide.

Box 1, Folder 6

A Channel Rescue (3 copies).

Box 1, Folder 7

The Charm Against Thirst.

Box 1, Folder 8

A Conscience in Trouble (signed).

Box 1, Folder 9

The Cook of Santamaria.

Box 1, Folder 10

The Dark Horse (signed).

Box 1, Folder 11

A Deal with a Witch (4 copies).

Box 1, Folder 12

The Earth's Secret (3 copies).

Box 1, Folder 13

The Electric King.

Box 1, Folder 14

The Escape from the Valley (3 copies).

Box 1, Folder 15

A Fatal Mistake.

Box 1, Folder 16

The Glittering Gate (A play--3 copies).

Box 1, Folder 17

Greek meets Greek (3 copies).

Box 2, Folder 18

Hard Horses (signed).

Box 2, Folder 19

The Homecoming (A play--3 copies).

Box 2, Folder 20

In a Hotel Lounge.

Box 2, Folder 21

The Irish Immigrant.

Box 2, Folder 22

Jorkens' Regret (4 copies).

Box 2, Folder 23

A Large Diamond.

Box 2, Folder 24

Lost Lyrics (signed).

Box 2, Folder 25

The Mistake (signed).

Box 2, Folder 26

Mrs. Jorkens.

Box 2, Folder 27

Murder in a Flat (A play).

Box 2, Folder 28

A Queer Island.

Box 2, Folder 29

The Quiet Laugh (2 copies).

Box 2, Folder 30

The Romance of his Life.

Box 2, Folder 31

A Romance of the Suburbs (signed).

Box 2, Folder 32

The Slugly Beast (3 copies).

Box 2, Folder 33

A Snake Story (3 copies).

Box 2, Folder 34

The Speech.

Box 2, Folder 35

The Strange Lover (a three-act play).

Box 3, Folder 36

The Strange Lover (a three-act play).

Box 3, Folder 37

The Strange Lover (a three-act play).

Box 3, Folder 38

The Tale of Abu Laheeb (3 copies).

Box 3, Folder 39

Too Long Ago.

Box 3, Folder 40

The Two Bottles of Relish.

Box 3, Folder 41

The Two Jenets.

Box 3, Folder 42

The Two Scientists (3 signed copies).

Box 3, Folder 43

Two Young Officers (signed).

Box 3, Folder 44

The Visitor (3 copies).

Box 3, Folder 45

Where Two Ages Meet (signed).

Box 3, Folder 46

A Wonderful Day (signed).

Box 3, Folder 46a

Bibliography of Dunsany's Writings.

 

Series 2:   Poems. 1950

Physical Description: 1 archival document box (in Box 3, which also contains materials from Series 1).

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of poems by Lord Dunsany, either on manuscript or on typescript or in some cases both (unless otherwise noted). Lord Dunsany signed some of the pieces. The poems noted as "manuscript" are in the hand of Lord Dunsany
all except for "Fossils" were unpublished. That, not conincidentally, is the only one dated; all others are undated.
Box 3, Folder 46b

A Day in California--2 copies (manuscript and typescript, both signed)

Box 3, Folder 47

A Dialogue--2 copies (one is a carbon of manuscript, signed)

Box 3, Folder 48

A Farewell to California--3 copies (one is a manuscript, signed)

Box 3, Folder 49

Fossils (published in Tomorrow, August 1950)

Box 3, Folder 50

In a Kentish Church (carbon of manuscript?)

Box 3, Folder 50a

In a Time of Scorn for the Muses

Box 3, Folder 51

The Listener (manuscript, signed)

Box 3, Folder 52

Man and Moth (manuscript)

Box 3, Folder 53

No? (manuscript)

Box 3, Folder 54

The Ruler (carbon of manuscript)

Box 3, Folder 55

Slow Cobbler

Box 3, Folder 56

War-Planes at Evening

Box 3, Folder 57

[untitled] (manuscript, signed)

 

Series 3:   Book Materials: "Another Year". 1947-1948

Physical Description: 1 archival document box.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains photocopies of the typescript of Lord Dunsany's unpublished book "Another Year." Each month of the year stands as a chapter. A few chapters have dates written in pencil on them.
Box 4, Folder 58

Original file folder for 2 copies of typescript for "Another Year" with note: "Please return to Miss Willow Wray…" undated

Box 4, Folder 59

Preface March 1, 1948

Box 4, Folder 60

March-May 1947

Box 4, Folder 61

June-July undated

Box 4, Folder 62

August undated

Box 4, Folder 63

September undated

Box 4, Folder 64

October undated

Box 4, Folder 65

November undated

Box 4, Folder 66

December undated

Box 4, Folder 67

January 1948

Box 4, Folder 68

February undated

Box 4, Folder 69

Another March undated

Box 4, Folder 70

Preface March 1, 1948

Box 4, Folder 71

March 1947

Box 4, Folder 72

April undated

Box 4, Folder 73

May undated

Box 4, Folder 74

June undated

Box 4, Folder 75

July undated

Box 4, Folder 76

August undated

Box 4, Folder 77

September undated

Box 4, Folder 78

October undated

Box 4, Folder 79

November undated

Box 4, Folder 80

December undated

Box 4, Folder 81

January 1948

Box 4, Folder 82

February undated

Box 4, Folder 83

Another March undated

 

Series 4:   Correspondence. 1953-1956

Physical Description: 1 archival document box.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of the correspondence of Lord Dunsany with his agent in California, Willow Wray.
Box 5, Folder 84

May-June. 1953

Box 5, Folder 85

July. 1953

Box 5, Folder 86

August. 1953

Box 5, Folder 87

September. 1953

Box 5, Folder 88

October. 1953

Box 5, Folder 89

November. 1953

Box 5, Folder 90

December. 1953

Box 5, Folder 91

January-February. 1954

Box 5, Folder 92

March-July. 1954

Box 5, Folder 93

August-November. 1954

Box 5, Folder 94

January-March. 1955

Box 5, Folder 95

May-June. 1955

Box 5, Folder 96

July. 1955

Box 5, Folder 97

September-November. 1955

Box 5, Folder 98

January-June. 1956

Box 5, Folder 99

Undated correspondence. undated

Box 5, Folder 100

Envelopes: Lord Dunsany to Willow Wray. 1953-1958 (dates broken)

 

Series 5:   Photographs of Lord Dunsany. 1931, 1954

Physical Description: 1 archival document box.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains photographs (and negatives) of Lord Dunsay. These include portraits, group scenes, and Lord Dunsany reading from his works.
Below is a list of the photographers in this series, along with the folder numbers of their photographs.
  • S.M. Boland. Folders 101-104
  • Jack Case. Folders 105-106. Photographs are dated 3/28/54
  • Al Frederick. Folders 107-111
  • Bob Lynds. Folder 112
  • George F. Weld. Folders 113-130. Note: The photogrpahs in these folders (all portraits) are identified by his photographer's number.
  • Photographs by unidentified photographers. Folders 131-139.
  • Negatives are in folders 140-142.
Box 6, Folder 101

"Lord Dunsany speaks on lyric verse"

Box 6, Folder 102

"Lord Dunsany…Reading from his book of verse,"

Box 6, Box 103

"Lord Dunsany reading 'Lilith' "

Box 6, Folder 104

"Lord Dunsany observations on ultra modern poetry"

Box 6, Folder 105

Lord Dunsany with a man and woman

Box 6, Folder 106

Lord Dunsany with a man and woman. Note on verso: "Many thanks again for a great show. We have been receiving many compliments for you."

Box 6, Folder 107

Lord Dunsany seated in front of bookcase

Box 6, Folder 108

Same image as above

Box 6, Folder 109

Cropped view of above

Box 6, Folder 110

Lord Dunsany seated and looking down at a book

Box 6, Folder 111

Lord Dunsany standing next to a grotto

Box 6, Folder 112

Lord Dunsany seated, holding cup

Box 6, Folder 113

number 6

Box 6, Folder 114

number 7

Box 6, Folder 115

number 10

Box 6, Folder 116

number 19

Box 6, Folder 117

number 20 (2 copies)

Box 6, Folder 118

number 20A (3 copies; negative is in folder 140)

Box 6, Folder 119

number 22

Box 6, Folder 120

number 23

Box 6, Folder 121

number 23A

Box 6, Folder 122

number 2

Box 6, Folder 123

number 27

Box 6, Folder 124

number R-1-A

Box 6, Folder 125

number R-2-A

Box 6, Folder 126

number R-3-A

Box 6, Folder 127

number R-4-A

Box 6, Folder 128

number R-5-A

Box 6, Folder 129

number R-8-4

Box 6, Folder 130

Unnumbered (7 copies; negative is in folder 141)

Box 6, Folder 131

"Lord Dunsany, Red Skelton taken on the set of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's THE GREAT DIAMOND ROBBERY…"

Box 6, Folder 132

"Walter Plunkett, Lord Dunsany and Red Skelton taken on the set of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's THE GREAT DIAMOND ROBBERY…"

Box 6, Folder 133

"Lord Dunsany, Stewart Granger taken at lunch in the MGM commissary…"

Box 6, Folder 134

Stanly (?), Sol Baer Fielding, Dunsany, and Gene Kelly

Box 6, Folder 135

Johnny Greer (?), Sonya Levier (?), Chas. Fitzsimmons, Mitzi Fielding, Lord Dunsany, Jack Cummings, Sol Baer Fielding, Dorothy Kingsley, Wm. Ludwig, Saul Kaplan (?)

Box 6, Folder 136

Sol Baer Fielding, Dunsany, Edmund(?) Given, Charles Fitzsimmons

Box 6, Folder 137

Lord Dunsany writing, (2 copies; negative is in folder 142)

Box 6, Folder 138

Lord Dunsany standing with cane, color photo

Box 6, Folder 139

Photographs of political demonstrations in Berlin, circa 1931 (19 images)

Box 6, Folder 140

Negative of George Weld print number 10a (see folder 118 for print)

Box 6, Folder 141

Negative of unnumbered George Weld print (see folder number130)

Box 6, Folder 142

Negative of Lord Dunsany writing (see folder 137 for print)

 

Series 6:   Clippings. 1950-1959

Physical Description: 1 oversize document box.

Scope and Content Note

All clippings concern the work of Lord Dunsany or else are by him.
Box 1ov

Scrapbook of clippings. 1950-1959

Box 1ov, Folder 143

New Yorker clippings mentioning Lord Dunsany. undated

Box 1ov, Folder 144

Lord Dunsany. "The Romance of His Life." Harper's Bazaar. March 1952