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Finding Aid to the John Clifford Mortimer Papers
BANC MSS 89/62 z  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: John Clifford Mortimer papers,
    Date (inclusive): circa 1969-2005
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 89/62 z
    Creator: Mortimer, John Clifford, 1923-
    Extent: Number of containers: 46 boxes

    Linear feet: 18.4
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The John Clifford Mortimer papers contain the literary manuscripts (holographs, revised typescripts, and revised typescripts with holograph additions) of his novels, stage and radio plays, scripts for television and screen, short stories, autobiographies, anthologies, articles, reviews, lectures and other writings. Please see the container list in the finding aid for a complete listing of manuscripts in collection. The collection contains only a small amount of correspondence, usually from Sir John Mortimer's commission agent, with the piece commissioned.
    Languages Represented: English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or reproduce must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
    Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Clifford Mortimer papers, BANC MSS 89/62 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    John Clifford Mortimer Papers, 1957-1967, located at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Mortimer, John Clifford, 1923--Manuscripts
    Authors, English--20th century
    Dramatists, English--20th century
    Television plays, English
    Detective and mystery stories, English
    Crime--Fiction
    Legal stories
    English drama--20th century
    Theater--Great Britain--20th century
    Rumpole, Horace (Fictitious character)
    Novelists, English--20th century
    Lawyers as authors
    Film scripts
    Autobiographies
    Scripts (documents)
    Manuscripts for publication
    Television plays
    Radio plays
    Autobiographies

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The John Clifford Mortimer Papers were purchased by The Bancroft Library from John Mortimer beginning in 1971, with regular additions on-going. The latest additions were made on December 21, 2005 and July 21, 2006.

    Accruals

    Future additions are expected annually.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Bancroft Library staff. Revised and completed by Kristina Kite and Mary Morganti in October 2001. Additions processed and further revisions by Alison E. Bridger in February 2004, October 2004, January 2006 and August 2006.

    Biographical Information

    John Clifford Mortimer was born on April 21, 1923 in London, England, the only child of Clifford and Kathleen May (Smith) Mortimer. He attended Brasenose College, Oxford from 1940 to 1942, earning a BA in 1947. During World War II, Mortimer served as a script writer and assistant director for the Crown Film Units. The son of a barrister, Mortimer was called to the bar in London in 1948, coinciding with the publication of his first novel, Charade.
    Perhaps best known in America for his stories featuring barrister Horace Rumpole, Mortimer is renowned in his native England as both a barrister and a playwright/author. One of his most celebrated cases came in 1971 when he successfully defended the publisher's of the underground magazine Oz, on a charge of obscenity. Mortimer has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a knighthood in 1998.
    Mortimer's works, fiction and non-fiction, reflect on current issues of the day including racial tension found in Rumpole and the Fascist Beast (1979), terrorism and civil rights in Rumpole and the Reign of Terror (2006) and numerous journalistic essays on the current state of politics in Britain, crime and the royal family. He does not limit his writings though to fictional barristers or current day concerns, but has written several autobiographical works including the play A Voyage Round My Father (1970) about his parents and his childhood, and books Murders and Other Friends (1994), Summer of a Door Mouse (2000), and most recently Where There's a Will (2003).
    John Mortimer was married to writer Penelope Fletcher Dimont in 1949, divorcing in 1971 and marrying Penelope (Penny) Gollop in 1972.
    More information about Sir John Mortimer can be found in his autobiographical works, his unauthorized biography John Mortimer: The Devil's Advocate, by Graham Lord and an authorized biography written by Valerie Grove to be published by Viking in 2007.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The John Clifford Mortimer papers contain the literary manuscripts (holographs, revised typescripts, and revised typescripts with holograph additions) of his novels, stage and radio plays, scripts for television and screen, short stories, autobiographies, anthologies, articles, reviews, lectures and other writings. Please see the container list in the finding aid for a complete listing of manuscripts in collection. The collection contains only a small amount of correspondence, usually from Sir John Mortimer's commission agent, with the piece commissioned.
    The literary manuscripts of this key figure of the contemporary British literary scene, The Bancroft Library first began to acquire in the early 1970s. The collection contains manuscripts of Mortimer's television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, adaptations of his own novels, Paradise Postponed, its sequel Titmuss Regained and Summer's Lease, manuscripts of his Rumpole stories and their television or radio scripts, the screenplay for Tea with Mussolini, and the manuscripts of his autobiographies. Many of Mortimer's works have appeared in a variety of formats, usually as television, stage or radio plays, and also published as books or anthologies. The collection also includes the manuscript drafts for many of Mortimer's articles, essays, lectures, introductions, and reviews.
    Mortimer's manuscripts are usually written in black ink (corrected in red and blue ink) or blue ink (corrected in red and black ink), and incorporating, as is John Mortimer's habit, passages from the printed text of the novel, apparently cut from proofs, revised in manuscript. Many of the manuscript pages show water damage, usually along the edges, probably from spilt beverages while being worked on.
    While the collection contains most of Sir John Mortimer's works since 1971 it is by no means exhaustive.