Request Checked Items
University of Texas at Austin

John Lehmann:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Lehmann, John, 1907-1987
Title: John Lehmann Collection
Dates: 1916-1985, undated
Extent: 117 document boxes, 2 oversize boxes (osb), 3 pamphlet boxes (49.98 linear feet), 2 oversize folders (osf), 15 galley folders (gf)
Abstract: John Lehmann, the English author, poet, editor, and publisher, was partner and general manager of The Hogarth Press (1938 to 1946); director of the publishing firm John Lehmann, Ltd. (1945-1952); and editor of the publications New Writing (1936-1939), Penguin New Writing (1940-1950), New Writing and Daylight (1942-1946), New Soundings (1952-1953), and The London Magazine (1954-1961). The Lehmann collection includes manuscripts of his own writings, voluminous correspondence files, manuscripts submitted by contemporary writers whose work appeared in Lehmann-edited publications, plus agreements with authors, financial records, record books for journals edited, and some personal papers.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-02436
Language: English, Czech, French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian, and Spanish
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Center's Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation John Lehmann Collection (Manuscript Collection MS-02436). Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
Acquisition: Purchases and gifts, 1961-2018 (R482; R483; R661; R777; R483; R881; R847; R1248; R1611; R2039; R2148; R2088; unnumbered gift, 1966; R2995; R3097; R3113; R3539; R3540; R4187; R4498; unnumbered purchase, 1969; R5154; internal transfer, 1970; R4815; R5161; unnumbered gift, 1972; R5854; unnumbered gift, 1973; R6133; R6491; unnumbered gift, 1975; R6832; R6900; R4634; R7673; R7678; R8285; R8480; R8790; R9181; R12241; R12531; R13380; 16-02-015-G; 17-03-002-G; 18-09-011-P).
Processed by: Joan Sibley and Richard Workman, 2022 Note: This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

The John Lehmann Collection documents the personal and professional life of the English author, editor, poet and publisher through business records, clippings, correspondence, financial records, manuscripts, notebooks, photographs, reports, and scrapbooks. He was partner and general manager of The Hogarth Press (1938 to 1946); director of the publishing firm John Lehmann, Ltd. (1945-1952); and editor of the publications New Writing (1936-1939), Penguin New Writing (1940-1950), New Writing and Daylight (1942-1946), New Soundings (1952-1953), and The London Magazine (1954-1961).
The bulk of the collection reflects his professional life, but the most recent additions include some material of a more personal nature, such as domestic records and personal correspondence. Lehmann’s manuscript for In The Purely Pagan Sense (1976) is also personal, an autobiographical record of his homosexual life in England and pre-war Germany written in the form of a novel.
The collection was originally described in a card catalog and arranged into four series: I. Works (21 boxes); II. Letters (Outgoing Correspondence, 21 boxes); III. Recipient (Incoming Correspondence, 47 boxes); and IV. Miscellaneous (17 boxes). Descriptions in the following Container List were derived from the card catalog; titles of Lehmann works and names of his correspondents are listed in the following Index of Works, Index of Letters, and Index of Recipients. The Index of Miscellaneous chiefly lists third-party letters and works by others.
Subsequent acquisitions are itemized at the end of the Container List under the heading "Additional Acquisitions; Not Described in Card Catalog" (12 document boxes, 3 pamphlet boxes, and 2 oversize boxes). This material has not been fully cataloged and is not indexed. Folder titles in single quotation marks (e.g., 'Letters – papers – pamphlets, Autumn 1933–Winter 1934, Vienna, Austria') are taken verbatim from Lehmann’s own folder descriptions.
The Works series contains manuscripts for most of Lehmann’s writings, both published and unpublished, including autobiographies, biographies, essays, novels, poetry, radio scripts, reminiscences, reviews, stories, and talks. Later acquisitions of Lehmann’s writings are arranged as they arrived, in four groups labeled Works 1 through Works 4; titles of individual works are listed in these sections of the Container List and in the Index of Works.
The Letters series contains copies of Lehmann’s outgoing correspondence, mostly responses to submissions for publication by the various presses and journals he worked for. Also included are somewhat more personal letters to family and to literary friends (usually involving matters regarding publication as well) such as Christopher Isherwood; Allen Lane; his mother, Alice Lehmann; his sister, the novelist Rosamond Lehmann; Louis MacNeice; Norman Nicholson; Stephen Spender; Leonard Woolf; and Virginia Woolf.
The largest series is Recipient (incoming correspondence). It consists primarily of letters inquiring about or enclosing submissions for publication to the various journals and publishing houses that Lehmann worked for. All letters are filed in one alphabetical series by the name of the letter’s author; letters are not sorted by the name of Lehmann’s publishing entities—that information must be deduced from the address to which the letter was sent or by other internal evidence. Significant amounts of correspondence in this series come from well-known authors such as Jocelyn Brooke, E. M. Forster, Henry Green, Graham Greene, Christopher Isherwood, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Louis MacNeice, Norman Nicholson, William Plomer, V. S. Pritchett, John Rodker, Dame Edith Sitwell, Sir Osbert Sitwell, Stephen Spender, Dylan Thomas, and Rex Warner.
Frequently a copy of Lehmann's reply is filed with incoming correspondence in the Recipient series; these replies are not indexed.
Included in the correspondence from Henry Green are letters to Green from writers who were invited to a testimonial lunch that Green organized in honor of Lehmann. After the lunch Green sent the letters to Lehmann. They can be found in box 59 folder 5 and are included in the Recipient index.
Another file in the Recipient series documents Lehmann’s attempts on behalf of John Lehmann Ltd. to find paper in 1946-1947, when wartime shortages were still a major problem for publishers. It can be found in box 74 folder 5 under Purnell & Sons Limited, but it also contains correspondence with other papermakers and publishers about the issue.
All items in the preceding Works, Letters, and Recipients series were either created by or received by John Lehmann. The Miscellaneous series contains works created by others and letters written by or received by others. There is, however a segment of Lehmann materials containing business and other correspondence filed by subject, student notebooks, publishing records, and some financial information (boxes 95 through 99). Because of the variety of creators and types of materials present in this series, the Index of Miscellaneous contains much more detailed information than the other indexes
Correspondence addressed to assistants who worked under Lehmann's direction at various enterprises is filed in the Miscellaneous series. Those assistants include John Bissett (New Writing), Elizabeth Bone (New Writing), Barbara Cooper (John Lehmann Ltd., London Magazine, New Writing, New Writing and Daylight, Penguin New Writing), Maurice Cranston (London Magazine), J. C. Hall (Penguin New Writing), Barbara Hepworth (Hogarth Press, John Lehmann, Ltd.), David Hughes (London Magazine), James Michie (London Magazine), Mrs. Nicholls (Hogarth Press), Charles Osborne (London Magazine), Alan Ross (London Magazine), and James Wright (London Magazine).
More recently acquired material (between 1990 and 2018) that was not cataloged in the card catalog is listed at the end of the Container List under the heading, "Additional Acquisitions; Not Described in Card Catalog." It is roughly organized into four groups: Personal and Career-Related, Correspondence, Works, and Works by Others. Prominent among the Personal and Career-Related material are records of the Royal Literary Fund for 1959-1976, during which period Lehmann served as the organization’s president.
Note: Due to a filing error, not all catalog records were previously available to users of the John Lehmann Collection. This error has been corrected in the present finding aid. Researchers who have used the collection in the past are advised to search this finding aid for material that might not have appeared in the card catalog.

Related Material

Letters to or from John Lehmann are also contained in numerous Ransom Center Manuscript collections, among them are: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., W. H. Auden, George Barker, Sybille Bedford, John Betjeman, Edmund Blunden, Ronald Bottrall, Paul Bowles, Jocelyn Brooke, Christine Brooke-Rose, Richard Church, Commonwealth Arts Festival, Cyril Connolly, Nancy Cunard, Rupert Croft-Cooke, Cecil Day Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Penelope Fitzgerald, Constantine Fitzgibbon, E. M. Forster, Charles Wrey Gardiner, John Gawsworth, Gotham Book Mart, Gerald Hamilton, Allanah Harper, John Heath-Stubbs, Mary Hutchinson, Dan Jacobson, Hugh Kenner, Francis Henry King, Rosamond Lehmann, Philip Lindsay, London Magazine, Carson McCullers, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Ottoline Morrell, Nimbus Magazine, H. E. Palmer, Derek Parker, Derek Patmore, PEN (Organization), Peter Owen (Firm), Ezra Pound, Joseph Prescott, John Pudney, George Reavey, Warren Roberts, John Rodker, Samuel Selvon, Jon Silkin, Edith Sitwell, Georgia Doble Sitwell, Sacheverell Sitwell, Sitwell Family, Stephen Spender, L. A. G. Strong, Dylan Thomas, Fred Urquhart, John Wain, Hugh Walpole, Rex Warner, Vernon Watkins, Evelyn Waugh, Denton Welch, G. H. Wells, Eric Walter White, William A. Bradley Literary Agency, Audrey Wood, and Virginia Woolf. There is also a small collection of A. T. (Arnold Trevor) Tolley’s papers related to his book John Lehmann: A Tribute (1987).

Separated Material

Over 300 drawings and photographs of artwork for John Lehmann publications are located in the Ransom Center’s Art collections.
Twenty-three books formerly owned by John Lehmann are located in the Ransom Center’s Book collection.
Seventy-one photographs of or relating to Lehmann are held in the Ransom Center’s Photography collections.
Fifteen folders of Lehmann printed materials, such as clippings, biographical information, criticism, etc., are held in the Ransom Center’s Vertical Files collection.
Lehmann’s briefcase, containing candles, a large Russian pencil, a picture frame, blank stationery from his publishing firm and several theater programs, was transferred to the Personal Effects collection.


HRC Guide Headings

Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, and Queer Studies
Literature: British and Irish
Literature: French
Literature: International

Container List