||The collection consists of original and carbon copy typescripts,
holograph manuscripts, clippings, printed sheets, advertising material, ink
sketches, photographs, page proofs, galleys, notebooks, scrapbooks, audio tape,
correspondence, and printed dust jackets, ranging in date from 1927 to 1985.
The collection is arranged in three series: Correspondence (1933-1985, undated,
boxes); Works (1927-1985, undated, 18 boxes, 61 scrapbooks); and Personal Papers
(1929-1985, undated, 3 boxes). Blakeston habitually economized by using both recto
and verso of sheets of paper, often using the two sides for different works.
Little attempt was made to identify fragments on the versos of sheets unless
identification was obvious, as in the case of correspondence. In such cases,
the versos were photocopied and filed in the appropriate series.
||Blakeston's career as writer and reviewer is well documented in the
collection. Among his published non-fiction, there are typescripts of
Cooking with Nuts (1979) and
Who Keeps Zoo? (published as
Zoo Keeps Who? in 1964) as well as galleys
Working Cats (1963) and
Working for the Films (1947).
Portuguese Panorama (1955) is represented
only by fragments and a review list. There is a notebook for
Sun at Midnight (1958). Blakeston's
published fiction is represented by galleys of
Danger in Provence (1946); a typescript,
page proofs, publicity, and correspondence for
Fingers (1964); galleys for
Priests, Peters and Pussens (1947); and a
typescript and page proofs for
The Queen's Mate (1962). There are also
typescripts of many of Blakeston's published stories, including several
"Sod Hit." Blakeston's film work is
represented by photographic stills from his film
I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside (1929)
and a poster advertising
Light Rhythms (1930) as well as its printed
musical accompaniment by Jack Ellit. Blakeston's published poetry is
represented by a layout, page proofs and incomplete galleys of
Appointment with Seven (1947), a typescript
Jeremy & Others (1971), and page proofs
What the Dino-Saur (1960).
||Blakeston's unpublished work predominates in the collection.
"Appointment with X" and
"First Steps in Quicksand" are memoirs present
in typescript drafts. There are also typescript drafts of radio scripts (
"Charlie radio scripts") as well as
contributions to planned publications which apparently were never issued. A
number of drafts of novels are present, including:
"At the Third Stroke,"
"The Horrid Life of Mary Castle,"
"How Soon Doth Man Decay,"
"Moonlight at the Cross-Roads,"
"The Mystery of the Missing Treasure," and
"Naked in the Air." There are also film
treatments, a projected short story collection, adaptations of two Balzac
stories, and a transcription of a play by Djuna Barnes,
To the Dogs. In addition, there are numerous
typescripts of essays, lectures, poems, reviews, and short stories by Blakeston
as well as files of material (primarily poetry) submitted for publication along
with related correspondence. Blakeston's research is represented in notebooks
which contain general observations, ideas for stories, lists of words,
occasional clippings, and some poetry. Blakeston also kept scrapbooks
throughout his career in which are collected many of his art and book reviews
as well as his early writings on films, articles about Blakeston himself,
reviews of his own work, and correspondence.
||The Correspondence series consists primarily of incoming correspondence
concerning both Blakeston's professional and private life. Letters from
publishers, editors, collaborators, illustrators, and other colleagues document
Blakeston's professional transactions. Other letters offer a more personal
glimpse of Blakeston. Subjects include observations on Finland and St. Helena,
personalities of various editors, the London art scene, and inquiries
concerning writers Blakeston had known (including Dylan Thomas). Of primary
interest is a large group of letters from the novelist Bryher in which she
discusses her creative struggles, her unrequited love for H. D., and her
enthusiasm for Blakeston's own work. In addition to Bryher, the significant
correspondents are Nancy Cunard, H. D., John Lennon, Kenneth Macpherson, Yoko
Ono, Lotte Reininger, Perdita Schaffner, and Eric Walter White.
||Among Blakeston's personal items are his application for conscientious
objector status in World War II along with related documents, photographs of
his childhood and family life, experimental photographs, travel photographs,
"Delineation of Horoscope," done in 1935.