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University of Texas at Austin

Graham Greene:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Greene, Graham1904-1991
Title: Graham Greene Collection
Dates: 1924-1998
Extent: 96 boxes (40 linear feet), 7 galley folders, and 3 oversize folders
Abstract: The collection consists primarily of holograph and typescript manuscripts for many of Greene's major works, personal diaries and datebooks, and correspondence. Also present are files kept by Greene's publisher Laurence Pollinger, including correspondence and records of contract negotiations.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-01723
Language: English
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gifts and purchases, 1964-1997
Processed by: Chelsea Dinsmore, 2002
Provenance The majority of the Graham Greene manuscript materials were acquired in the early 1970s while various individual items and small groups were purchased between 1964 and 1997. The Laurence Pollinger correspondence files were obtained as part of a separate purchase in 1994.

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Born in Berkhamstead, England, in 1904, Henry Graham Green was the fourth of six children born to Charles Henry and Marion Raymond Greene. Greene led a fairly typical childhood for the time, raised largely by nurses and nannies in the nursery and spending relatively little time with his parents. His father held a position as a headmaster at the Berkhamstead School giving Graham an early taste of divided loyalties when he entered the school in 1915. At the age of sixteen Graham had a mental crisis during which he ran away from home and school. Coming on top of several questionable suicide attempts and exaggerated illnesses, his parents sent him for six months of psychoanalysis.
In 1925 Greene took a second class degree at Oxford and published a book of poetry, Babbling April. Between 1925 and 1927 he courted Vivienne Dayrell-Browning, pursuing her with almost obsessive eagerness. Many critics credit Greene's conversion to Catholicism as a tactic to gain Vivien's favor. Regardless of his motives, Greene joined the Catholic church in 1926 and married Vivien in 1927.
Before his marriage Greene took a position as a literary journalist with The Times where he worked his way up to an editorship. However, when his first novel, The Man Within, was published in 1929 he took the almost unheard of step of resigning his position to become a full-time author. His next two books were not well received but Stamboul Train (1935; published as Orient Express in the United States, 1936), his first spy thriller, gained him a popular audience. His next two novels, It's a Battlefield (1934) and England Made Me (1935) illustrated Greene's ongoing fixation with betrayal, man's inner conflict between good and evil, and innocence as accessory to corruption.
Greene's marriage was ultimately unsuccessful. After the birth of two children, Greene found the house too noisy to write in. He carried on several less-than-discreet long-term affairs as well as regular assignations with prostitutes. He and Vivien finally separated in 1948 but never divorced.
Over the course of his life Greene traveled extensively, often to political hotspots such as Vietnam, Kenya, Liberia, and Cuba. He served in the British Intelligence Service during World War II, operating in Sierra Leone. His travels satisfied his taste for adventure while providing background for his works.
Greene's prolific and popular writing allowed him to live comfortably in London, Antibes, and Capri. Towards the end of his life he lived in Vevey, Switzerland where he died in 1991.


Dictionary of Literary Biography -- Volume 15: British Novelists, 1930-1959, part 1, A-L. Bernard Oldsey, Ed. (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1983).
Shelden, Michael. Graham Greene: The Man Within. (London: Heinemann, 1994).
Sherry, Norman. The Life of Graham Greene: Volume 1 1904-1939. (London: Jonathon Cape, Ltd, 1989).
--. The Life of Graham Greene: Volume II 1939-1955. (New York: Viking Penguin, 1995).

Scope and Contents

Holograph and typescript manuscripts, diaries, and publisher's correspondence comprise the majority of the Graham Greene Collection, 1924-1998. The collection is organized into five series: Series I. Works, 1924-1977 (35 boxes); Series II. Personal Papers, Journals, and Date Books, 1926-1984 (5.5 boxes); Series III. Correspondence, 1925-1991 (3.5 boxes); Series IV. Laurence Pollinger General Correspondence Files, 1950-1991 (43.5 boxes); and Series V. Laurence Pollinger Copyright Files, 1928-1998 (6.5 boxes). A portion of this collection was previously accessible through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.
The Works series contains typescripts and page proofs for most of Greene's major works. Holograph manuscripts are also available for several works including A Burnt-Out Case, Cheap in August, The Comedians, The Honorary Consul, and Our Man in Havana. Many of the novels are also present in screenplay form or edited for different editions. England Made Me, Travels with My Aunt, The Human Factor, and Our Man in Havana are particularaly well represented. A complete list of Greene's works present in the collection is available in the Index of Works as the end of this guide.
The Personal Papers, Journals and Date Books series contains six notebooks Greene used over many years to record his dreams, as well as some 74 small spiral date books with appointments and notes jotted in them. Also present are works by other authors found among Greene's papers, an address book, and publicity schedules for two of his books.
The Correspondence series is largely composed of personal letters written by Greene as well as a few letters to Greene and a small amount of third-party correspondence. Most of Greene's letters to newspapers and magazines are "letters to the Editor" and include drafts as well as final typescripts. Perhaps most interesting are letters written by Greene to Vivianne Dayrell-Browning between 1925 and 1927 during their courtship. A complete list of correspondents can be found in the Index of Correspondents at the end of this guide.
The Laurence Pollinger General Correspondence Files series comprises files kept by Greene's long time publisher Laurence Pollinger. Generally the letters in this series are requests for publication, stage, or film use of various of Greene's works. Regular status lists of the rights for various materials are also included in the files. The files have been maintained in their orignal order, arranged chronologically, with an occasional folder labeled topically, such as "British Publishers." A small amount of duplication occurs where recipients returned copies of letters attached to their responses.
The Laurence Pollinger Copyright Files series holds records of contract negotiations for rights for use of Greene's works and is arranged by media type: audio (radio and books on tape); film (includes contracts for "film and TV" rights); publishing; stage; and television (contracts solely for TV broadcast rights). Within the subseries materials are organized alphabetically by contracting company. Names of individuals from contracting companies are not included in the Index of Correspondents. There are a few folders that contain general contract materials for a given title and those are listed by the work's title. Some of the correspondence in this series duplicates letters found in the previous General Correspondence Files series.
A fairly large quantity of thermo-faxes included in the Laurence Pollinger series were fading towards illegibility and the best photocopies possible have been made for preservation purposes and to facilitate use.
Other materials associated with Greene may be found in the following collections at the Ransom Center:
  • Barker, George
  • Blunden, Edmund Charles
  • Bowen, Elizabeth
  • Church, Richard
  • Connolly, Cyril
  • Conrad, Joseph
  • Cunard, Nancy
  • Fitzgibbon, Constantine
  • Ford, Ford Maddox
  • Grigson, Geoffrey
  • Hamilton, G.
  • Harpers
  • Hutchinson, Mary
  • Jameson, Storm
  • Lehmann, John
  • Lindsay, Philip
  • London Magazine
  • Lownders, Marie Adelaide Belloc
  • Mackenzie, Compton
  • Maclaren-Ross, Julian
  • Maugham, William Somerset
  • Morrell, Ottoline Violet Anne Cavendish Bentinck, Lady
  • Owen, Peter
  • Palmer, Herbert Edward
  • Patmore, Derek
  • PEN
  • Plomer, William Charles Franklyn
  • Pound, Ezra Loomis
  • Priestly, John Boynton
  • Pritchett, VS
  • Scott-James, Rolfe Arnold
  • Sitwell, Edith, Dame
  • Stanford, Derek
  • Strong, Leonard Alfred George
  • Warner, Rex
  • Waugh, Evelyn

Separated Material

Five books recieved with the collection were transferred to the Ransom Center library and are listed in the University of Texas Library Catalog.

Index Terms


Burns, Tom (Thomas F.).
Greene, Vivienne Dayrell-Browning.
Hayward, John, 1945-1965.


Africa--Travel and description.
Authors--England--20th century.
England--Social life and customs--20th century.

Document Types

Galley Proofs.

Graham Greene Collection--Folder List