Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Creator:
Mortimer, Raymond, 1895-1980
Collector:
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Title:
Princeton University Library Collection of Raymond Mortimer Materials
Repository:
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/7p88cg562
Dates:
1905-1990 (mostly 1925-1970)
Size:
13 boxes and 5.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-9; B-000826; B-000827; B-000828; B-000829
Language:
English French

Abstract

Consists of correspondence, notebooks, drafts and proofs of articles and reviews, photographs, documents, printed ephemera, and other papers of the English literary critic and editor Raymond Mortimer (1895-1980).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Description:

The collection consists primarily of letters to Raymond Mortimer, but also includes notebooks, drafts of reviews, photographs and albums, and miscellaneous printed ephemera. The Bloomsbury group is well represented with letters by Vanessa and Clive Bell, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, Desmond and Molly MacCarthy, Roger Fry, and Duncan Grant. There are long series of letters from Harold Nicolson, Vincent "Jimmy" Sheean, and Nancy Mitford. The correspondence concerns literary allusions and criticism, but also social commentary and gossip. Many of the letters, such as those from Rebecca West, also contain references to family matters.

Also included in this collection are photographs of Mortimer, from his youth to old age. Several of the photographs are with friends, such as Clive Bell, Harold Nicolson, and Edward Sackville-West. Photograph albums date from 1905-1919; many of the pictures show the French hospital where Mortimer worked during the war. In addition, there are notebooks and diaries containing early verse, Oxford essays, a manuscript fragment of a novel, stories, and an extensive account of a visit to Italy (circa 1920).

The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identify materials in this collection: ALS = autograph letter signed, TLS = typed letter signed, ACS = autograph card signed, TCS = typed card signed, ANS = autograph note signed, TNS = typed note signed, AMsS = autograph manuscript signed, and TMsS = typed manuscript signed.

Arrangement

Arranged into the following five series:

Collection Creator Biography:

Mortimer

(Charles) Raymond Mortimer (Bell), 1895-1980, writer, literary art critic, and editor, was born at 62 Albert Gate Mansions, Knightsbridge, London on April 25, 1895. His mother dying young, Mortimer was raised by his aunt and uncle in Redhill, Surrey. At age nine he was sent to Eastbourne Preparatory School, but quickly moved on, in 1909, to Malvern College. He studied history at Balliol College at Oxford in 1913. In 1915, medically rejected from active service, he worked at a hospital for French soldiers in the South of France. In 1918, again medically rejected, he returned to England as a cipher clerk in the Foreign Office. After the war, he did not return to his education at Oxford, but rather chose to engage in a brief and fruitless exploration of religion, briefly joining the Catholic Church. Mortimer soon decided the religious life was not for him and became a self-proclaimed hedonist. With the help of a private income, he enjoyed a life of leisure. He indulged in travel, and in Paris he almost established a second home, quickly becoming friendly with such art and literary figures as Jean Cocteau, Tristan Tzara, and Louis Aragon.

In 1922, in collaboration with Hamish Miles (J. E. Miles, a Balliol friend), he published a novel, The Oxford Circus. His short story "The Lion's Den," which was originally published in the London Mercury, was later included in the 1924 edition of The Best British Short Stories. His works were also published in Vogue, the Nation, and New Statesman. However, Mortimer was primarily known for his work as a critic and reviewer of both literature and the visual arts, and for his close association with a circle of artists and literary figures known as the "Bloomsbury Group."

Mortimer became literary editor for the New Statesman in 1935, retaining the post until 1947, with an interlude in 1940-1941, during which period he was at the Ministry of Information, playing a large part in the liaison with the BBC and the establishment of the Free French Service. In 1948 he went to the Sunday Times, and in 1952 obtained the title of Chief Reviewer, a title he would hold until his death. Unmarried, he shared a Bloomsbury flat, and after 1952 a house in Canonbury, Islington, with the architect Geddes Hyslop. In Dorset he shared a country house with his fellow critics Edward Sackville-West and Desmond Shawe-Taylor. Mortimer died at his home in Canonbury, Islington, on January 9, 1980.


Mortimer

(Charles) Raymond Mortimer (Bell), 1895-1980, writer, literary art critic, and editor, was born at 62 Albert Gate Mansions, Knightsbridge, London on April 25, 1895. His mother dying young, Mortimer was raised by his aunt and uncle in Redhill, Surrey. At age nine he was sent to Eastbourne Preparatory School, but quickly moved on, in 1909, to Malvern College. He studied history at Balliol College at Oxford in 1913. In 1915, medically rejected from active service, he worked at a hospital for French soldiers in the South of France. In 1918, again medically rejected, he returned to England as a cipher clerk in the Foreign Office. After the war, he did not return to his education at Oxford, but rather chose to engage in a brief and fruitless exploration of religion, briefly joining the Catholic Church. Mortimer soon decided the religious life was not for him and became a self-proclaimed hedonist. With the help of a private income, he enjoyed a life of leisure. He indulged in travel, and in Paris he almost established a second home, quickly becoming friendly with such art and literary figures as Jean Cocteau, Tristan Tzara, and Louis Aragon.

In 1922, in collaboration with Hamish Miles (J. E. Miles, a Balliol friend), he published a novel, The Oxford Circus. His short story "The Lion's Den," which was originally published in the London Mercury, was later included in the 1924 edition of The Best British Short Stories. His works were also published in Vogue, the Nation, and New Statesman. However, Mortimer was primarily known for his work as a critic and reviewer of both literature and the visual arts, and for his close association with a circle of artists and literary figures known as the "Bloomsbury Group."

Mortimer became literary editor for the New Statesman in 1935, retaining the post until 1947, with an interlude in 1940-1941, during which period he was at the Ministry of Information, playing a large part in the liaison with the BBC and the establishment of the Free French Service. In 1948 he went to the Sunday Times, and in 1952 obtained the title of Chief Reviewer, a title he would hold until his death. Unmarried, he shared a Bloomsbury flat, and after 1952 a house in Canonbury, Islington, with the architect Geddes Hyslop. In Dorset he shared a country house with his fellow critics Edward Sackville-West and Desmond Shawe-Taylor. Mortimer died at his home in Canonbury, Islington, on January 9, 1980.

Collection History

Acquisition:

The collection consists of papers of Raymond Mortimer reassembled from several sources. An original group of papers was collected by Geddes (Paul) Hyslop, and given to the Library by Lady Eccles in honor of Richard Ludwig in 1985 (AM 1986-88), with additions in 1986 (AM 86-113) and 1991 (AM 1992-64). Supplemental correspondence and other materials were purchased from John Wilson in 2004 (AM 2004-193). Additional correspondence, writings, photographs, and printed materials that came from the Long Crichel House in Dorset, England, were purchased in 2016 (AM 2017-66).

Appraisal

No materials were separated during 2016 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Teresa T. Basler in 2004. Finding aid written by Teresa T. Basler in 2004. The 2016 addition was processed by Kelly Bolding in December 2016, with assistance from Sophia Alvarez '18 and Fiona Bell '18. Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding in December 2016.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Princeton University Library Collection of Raymond Mortimer Materials; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/7p88cg562
Location:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-9; B-000826; B-000827; B-000828; B-000829