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Rees Papers

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0103 REES
Held at: University College London
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Full 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
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


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.

Access & Use

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:

Closed for review of finding aids. Please contact the UCL Special Collections Team for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

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.

Archival 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.

Allied Materials

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).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

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

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