Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Ervine mss., 1914-1957, consist of correspondence and writings of St. John Greer Ervine, 1883-1971, playwright and critic. Included also are letters and papers of his wife, Leonora Mary (Davis) Ervine. The papers are arranged in three sequences:

[1] A chronological file, 1914-1957, of 120 letters addressed to Leonora Mary (Davis) Ervine including a few to Ervine himself. They relate principally to the production of Leonora Mary (Davis) Ervine's play, The dutiful son at the Playhouse, Liverpool; to the experiences of civilians in various parts of Britain during World War II; and to Leonora Mary (Davis) Ervine's election to the Devon Education Committee. Many of the letters are merely short notes of thanks from visitors to the Ervines' home in Devon.

Among the correspondents represented in the collection are William Armstrong, Sir Ernest John Pickstone Benn, Lowell Brentano, Cass Canfield, Caroline Clement, Winifred Clara Cullis, Mazo de La Roche, Dame Edith Mary Evans, Sir Henry Slesser, Sir Robert Stanton Woods.

Papers other than correspondence in the chronological file include 4 photographs of St. John Ervine at his home in Devon, receipted bills, and agreement with Samuel French Ltd. for the publication of The dutiful son, royalty statement for The dutiful son, and a holograph journal kept in Devon and London by St. John Greer Ervine for the period January 1- February 2, 1939, containing personal descriptions and reminiscences of W.H. Auden, Charles Morgan, H.V. Morton, Sir Stanley Spencer, and W.B. Yeats.

[2] Literary papers, undated, of St. John Greer Ervine consisting of corrected typescripts of his Bernard Shaw (incomplete); The bow window (fragment), Charles and Mary, The literary plight, Martha (Act III only); The man who made himself, Oscar Wilde (fragment), Our dreaming done, Seven Jews (incomplete), William John Mawhinney, together with typescripts of a broadcast on the death of Bernard Shaw and of various contributions to The Observer etc.

[3] Writings of Leonora Mary (Davis) Ervine, consisting of typescripts of The dutiful son and of an address on designing a house. Included are also a translation by Robert Frey of Ervine's The ship for the German theater; a screen play adaption by Emmet Dalton Ltd. of Ervine's The Boyd's shop; and a play in three acts adapted by John Boyd from Ervine's novel, Martin's man.

See the Manuscripts Catalog for further information on the writings, sections [2] and [3].

Included in the collection are a printed leaflet advertising the 1934-35 season of the Playhouse, Liverpool; 2 copies of the printed program for Leonora Mary (Davis) Ervine's The dutiful son performed at the Playhouse during the same season, and a printed list of the members of the Devon County Education Committee for 1949-1950.

Collection size: 153 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.