Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Shawe-Taylor mss., 1929-1995, consist of the papers of Desmond Christopher Shawe-Taylor, 1907-1995, English music critic. Shawe-Taylor was born in Dublin, Ireland and educated at Oxford. Upon graduation he was employed by The Royal Geographical Society as assistant editor of "Geographical Journal." After a short stint there he began writing mostly literary criticism and occasional music-related articles for The Times, The Spectator and other periodicals. In 1939 he joined the Royal Artillery of the British Territorial Army and served his final two years, 1944-1945, as Captain in GIII Intelligence. He resumed his writing career after the war, this time with an emphasis on music. In 1945 he was retained as the music critic for the New Statesman and Nation, and then gramophone critic for The Observer , as well as writing occasional articles for other journals. From 1958 until his retirement in 1983 he was chief music critic of the Sunday Times. In addition, he made frequent broadcasts on BBC Home and Third Programmes about music, particularly opera, singing and gramophone records. Shawe-Taylor also has several books to his credit. He wrote Covent Garden (London: Max Parrish, 1948) and collaborated on The Record Guide (London: Collins, 1951) and The Record Year (London: Collins, [1953])with Edward Sackville-West.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Financial/legal; IV. Photographs; V. Miscellaneous; and, VI. Clippings. Correspondence is mainly with colleagues and friends. There is a large group of letters from John Francis Warre Rathbone which spans from their school years together to Rathbone's appointment as Secretary of the National Trust. Also present is an extensive series of letters, particularly through the war years, from Shawe-Taylor to Edward Sackville-West with whom he and Raymond Mortimer purchased a house, Long Crichel in Dorset, in 1944. Other correspondents include: H.M. Barnes, Ian Cosens, David Stacy Colman, Edward Dent, Emma Eames, Elena Gerhardt, William Rodes Moran, Raymond Mortimer, Ernest Newman, Frances Partridge, Andrew Porter, and Sir Michael Tippett.

Writings include typescripts, carbon copies, etc. of his articles, scripts and lectures. There are also his revised entries for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians that he was editing.

The Financial/legal materials consist primarily of bank statements from Lloyds Bank, and correspondence and statements from his investors.

The Photographs include many snapshots of friends, though they are principally unidentified. Also present are portraits of opera singers in costume.

An inventory of the collection is available. A finding aid is also available.

Purchase. Colin & Charlotte Franklin. Oxford, England. 1999

Collection size: 6,500 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.