Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Sandy Wilson:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator Wilson, Sandy, 1924-
Title Sandy Wilson Papers
Dates: 1936-1996
Extent 17 boxes, 1 oversize box (8.48 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers include produced and unproduced plays, mostly musicals but also plays for stage and TV, as well as drafts of Wilson's published and unpublished works including an autobiography, illustrated book, novels, articles, and short stories, along with correspondence.
Language English.
Access

Open for research




Acquisition

Gift, 1999 (G11358)

Processed by

Liz Murray, 1999

Repository:

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin


"The creation of a musical is the most satisfying thing in the world..." Sandy Wilson, talk given at Oxford, May 5, 1955

The papers of British author, composer, and lyricist Sandy Wilson include his produced and unproduced plays, mostly musicals but also plays for stage and TV, as well as drafts of his published and unpublished works including an autobiography, illustrated book, novels, articles, and short stories, along with correspondence spanning a 60 year period from the 1930s to 1990s. His musicals, produced worldwide, especially his long-running play The Boy Friend (1952-1994), are well-represented. Material related to productions of his plays includes scripts, scores, lyrics, programs, reviews, production photographs, correspondence, and scrapbooks. Wilson organized his papers prior to donating the collection to the Ransom Center. His descriptions are used throughout the following inventory. Wilson wrote drafts of his works in lined notebooks, often followed later by typescripts. To avoid repetition of the entry "holograph notebook" in the folder list, assume that his writings appear in these notebooks, unless otherwise noted.

The collection is arranged in three Series: Series I. Works, 1936-1994, Series II. Career-Related Material, and Series III. Correspondence, 1953-1996.

Series I is subdivided into Subseries A. Major Works, 1943-1994 and Subseries B. Notebooks and Drafts, 1936-1981. The produced and unproduced, published and unpublished works in Subseries A are arranged alphabetically by title, regardless of literary form. Within titles, the order follows the creative process from notes and drafts to the completed work. For example, for the musical Clapham Wonder, the script sequence begins with a holograph manuscript, proceeds through two typescript versions, and ends with the rehearsal script. If production materials are present, the sequence may include lyrics, scripts, correspondence, photographs, programs, and reviews. Some of Wilson's plays are based on the works of other writers such as Cecil Beaton( My Royal Past ), Barbara Comyns( Clapham Wonder ), Ronald Firbank( Caprice ), Christopher Isherwood( Goodbye to Berlin ), John Collier( His Monkey Wife ), Compton Mackenzie( Siren Song ), and R. B. Sheridan( The Rivals ), as well as his own original material.

The largely unpublished writings in Subseries B, arranged chronologically from 1936-1981, are also predominantly in the form of holograph notebooks, often with multiple works contained in a single notebook. Included are plays, novel fragments, short stories, lyrics, sketches, talks, scripts, notes for musicals, memoirs, articles, and reviews, some of which represent drafts of works present in Subseries A.

The career-related material in Series II includes articles by and about Wilson, newspaper clippings, photographs, programs, scrapbooks, sheet music, sketches, and songs, for the most part not directly related to materials in Series I.

Personal and professional correspondence from 1953-1996 forms the bulk of Series III. Also included are fan mail and correspondence related to Wilson's long-time friend and agent, Joan Rees.