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University College London

Rees Papers


Reference code(s): GB 0103 REES

Held at: University College London

Title: Rees Papers

Date(s): c1920-1970

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 26 boxes, 2 files

Name of creator(s): Rees | Sir | Richard (Lodowick Edward Montagu) | 1900-1970 | 2nd Baronet | author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, 1900; educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge; BA, Historical Tripos, 1921; Honorary Attaché, Berlin Embassy, 1922; succeeded to his father's title as 2nd Baronet, 1922; Assistant Secretary, Cambridge University Press, 1923; Honorary Treasurer and Lecturer, London District, Workers' Educational Association, 1925-1927; editor of The Adelphi (which had been founded by John Middleton Murry), 1930-1936; left for hospital work in the Spanish Civil War, 1937; his friends during the 1930s included John Middleton Murry, Frieda Lawrence, and George Orwell; served in the British and French navies (including the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve), 1940-1945; French Croix de Guerre, 1944; became friends with Simone Weil in the 1940s; exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy and elsewhere; literary executor of George Orwell (d 1950) and R H Tawney (d 1962); died, 1970. Publications: Brave Men: a study of D H Lawrence and Simone Weil (Victor Gollancz, London, 1958); For Love or Money (Secker & Warburg, London, 1960); George Orwell: fugitive from the camp of victory (Secker & Warburg, London, 1961); A Theory of my Time (Secker & Warburg, London, 1963); Simone Weil: a Sketch for a Portrait (Oxford University Press, London, 1966). Edited: J Middleton Murry's Selected criticism (Oxford University Press, London, 1960); J Middleton Murry's Poets, Critics, Mystics (Carbondale & Edwardsville, Southern Illinois University Press; Feffer & Simons, London & Amsterdam, 1970). Translated: with Jane Degras, Jules Monnerot's Sociology of Communism (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1953); Alfred Grosser's Western Germany: from defeat to rearmament (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1955); Simone Weil's Selected Essays (Oxford University Press, London, 1962); Simone Weil's Seventy Letters (Oxford University Press, London, 1965); Simone Weil's On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God (Oxford University Press, London, 1968); Simone Weil's First and Last Notebooks (Oxford University Press, London, 1970).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the writer Sir Richard Rees, c1920-1970 and undated.

Manuscripts and typescripts for Rees' published and unpublished work include material for an unpublished book of essays; a typescript of his unpublished novel; unpublished shorter pieces, including lectures on literary and cultural subjects, among them George Orwell and Simone Weil.

Miscellaneous personal papers and writings, 1926-1960s, include notes on dreams; travel notes on the USA, 1929; a Russian diary, 1935; papers relating to the Spanish Civil War; typescript papers of the International Commission for War Refugees, 1941-1944, and other correspondence and papers on its work; papers relating to Rees' service in World War Two; correspondence concerning Rees' membership of the committee of the Pilgrim Trust; papers relating to sales of Rees' books; printed papers, comprising various articles and book reviews relating to Rees' interests.

Correspondence, c1920-1970, comprises items to Rees and carbon copies or drafts of his letters, the correspondents including prominent literary and other public figures, for example David Astor, Vanessa Bell, Joseph Conrad, Victor Gollancz, Frieda Lawrence, Iris Murdoch, Sonia Orwell, Sir Herbert Read, Hugh Trevor-Roper, A L Rowse, John Sparrow, Stephen Spender, R H Tawney, and many others, and including letters relating to George Orwell, J Middleton Murry, R H Tawney, and Simone Weil; correspondence with his literary agents A D Peters and with publishers, on his publications and broadcasts; letters to the press; personal papers, including c100 letters from Rees to his mother, c1938-c1942, other family letters, and snapshots; correspondence with J Middleton Murry and his wife, 1936-1937, relating to personal matters leading to Rees' resignation from the Adelphi, and other papers relating to the Adelphi, 1935-1936.

Other material includes a notebook including typescript reviews and letters to editors; memoranda of agreements with publishers for books, articles, etc, 1954-1969; press cuttings on various political, literary, artistic, and other subjects, including reviews of some works by Rees; typescript diary of a visit to Italy, 1959.

Rees' papers on George Orwell, 1949-1963, relating to his role as literary executor include correspondence and papers, some relating to Orwell's death, adopted son Richard, and proposed posthumous publications, and including material relating to his wife Sonia; papers on the George Orwell Archive Trust; typescript transcripts of poems Orwell contributed to the Adelphi, 1933-1936; two book reviews by Orwell, 1943-1944.

Rees' papers on Simone Weil largely comprise translations, typescripts and proofs for Rees' publications on Weil. There are also some writings by Weil; a photograph of her, 1942; letters to Rees from Weil's mother and brother, André, and other correspondence on Weil, 1958-1970; press cuttings on Rees' publications on Weil.

Rees' papers on R H Tawney, relating to his role as literary executor, include correspondence and papers of Tawney; Rees' correspondence on Tawney, largely dating from 1960-1970; correspondence and papers relating to the sale of Tawney's belongings and his will, with other personal documents relating to Tawney and his wife; correspondence relating to the disposal of Tawney's collection of books on economic history, 1952. The correspondents include a number of prominent literary and other public figures.

The later deposit comprises a typescript on Orwell and a typescript and corrected proofs on Murry.


Language/scripts of material: Mainly English, some French

System of arrangement:

The papers are divided into four parts, relating respectively to Rees himself; Orwell; Weil; and Tawney. Part One, on Rees, is divided into the following sections: autograph manuscripts and typescripts of books published; lectures and essays; miscellanea; printed matter; correspondence; collections of press cuttings; addenda. The correspondence is divided into several series. Letters from a particular correspondent or concerning a particular subject may be divided, and particular types of material (correspondence, manuscripts, press cuttings, etc) may be distributed between different sections.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Uncatalogued. Inventory compiled by Bertram Rota Ltd, booksellers, before the papers came to University College London available in the Special Collections reading room.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The bulk of the papers was purchased from the executors of Sir Richard Rees, via Bertram Rota Ltd, booksellers, in 1971. Two typescripts by Rees, on Orwell and Murry, were presented by Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois, USA, via R A B Frost in 1979.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

University College London Special Collections also holds Rees' correspondence (21 items) with George Orwell, 1936-1949, and 21 letters to Sonia Orwell, 1950-1960 (Ref: ORWELL).

Newcastle upon Tyne University, Robinson Library, holds 62 letters to Jack Common, 1930-1968 (Ref: no 76). Oxford University, Rhodes House Library, holds Rees' correspondence with Arthur Creech Jones relating to R H Tawney, 1960-1962 (Ref: MSS Brit Emp s 332/6). See also Location register of twentieth-century English literary manuscripts (1988).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: Who's Who; National Register of Archives; British Library OPAC. Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Jun 2001

Art theory | Arts
Book reviews | Literary criticism | Literature
Books | Publications | Communications media | Information sciences
Bookselling | Book industry | Publishing industry
Diaries | Nonfiction | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Economic history | Economics
Essays | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Literary agents | Communication personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Literary executors | Communication personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Novels | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Photographs | Visual materials
Poetry | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Politics | Political science
Press cuttings | Newspaper press | Press
Publishers | Communication personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Publishing | Publishing industry
Refugees | Migrants
Sleep | Unconscious | Behaviour
Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) | Civil war | Political movements
Translations | Documents | Information sources
Travel abroad | Travel
War | International conflicts
World War Two (1939-1945) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)
Writers | Authors
Primary documents

Personal names
Astor | Francis David Langhorne | 1912-2001 | newspaper editor and philanthropist x Astor | David
Bell | Vanessa | 1879-1961 | painter
Blair | Eric Arthur | 1903-1950 | novelist and journalist known as George Orwell x Orwell | George
Blair | Richard Horatio | b 1944 | adopted son of George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
Blair | Sonia Mary | 1918-1980 | née Brownell | second wife of George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) x Brownell | Sonia Mary x Orwell | Sonia Mary
Conrad | Joseph | 1857-1924 | novelist
Gollancz | Sir | Victor | 1893-1967 | Knight | publisher
Lawrence | Frieda | 1879-1956 | wife of D H Lawrence
Murdoch | Dame | Jean Iris | 1919-1999 | author x Murdoch | Iris
Murry | Elizabeth Ada | fl 1936 | née Cockbayne x Cockbayne | Elizabeth Ada
Murry | John Middleton | 1889-1957 | author
Read | Sir | Herbert Edward | 1893-1968 | Knight | critic and poet
Rees | family
Rees | Lady | Mary | fl 1900 | mother of Sir Richard Rees
Rees | Sir | Richard Lodowick Edward Montagu | 1900-1970 | 2nd Baronet | author
Roper | Hugh Redwald | Trevor- | 1914-2003 | 1st Baron Dacre of Glanton | historian and controversialist x Trevor-Roper | Hugh Redwald x Dacre of Glanton | 1st Baron
Rowse | Alfred Leslie | 1903-1997 | historian
Sparrow | John Hanbury Angus | 1906-1992 | Warden of All Souls College Oxford
Spender | Sir | Stephen Harold | 1909-1995 | Knight | poet and critic
Tawney | Annette Jeanie | d 1958 | née Beveridge | known as Jeannette x Beveridge | Annette Jeanie
Tawney | Richard Henry | 1880-1962 | historian
Weil | André | fl 1958-1969 | Professor | brother of Simone Weil
Weil | fl 1958-1965 | Madame | mother of Simone Weil
Weil | Simone | 1909-1943 | French writer

Corporate names
A D Peters | literary agents
Adelphi | periodical
George Orwell Archive Trust
International Commission for War Refugees
Pilgrim Trust

Italy | Western Europe | Europe
Russia | Eastern Europe
Spain | Western Europe | Europe
USA | North America
USSR | Eastern Europe
Crimea x Krym
Soviet Union x USSR