University of Texas at Austin

PEN (Organization):

An Inventory of Its Records at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: PEN (Organization)
Title: PEN (Organization) Records
Dates: 1912-2008 (bulk 1926-1997)
Extent: 352 document boxes, 5 card boxes (cb), 5 oversize boxes (osb) (153.29 linear feet), 4 oversize folders (osf)
Abstract: The records of the London-based writers' organizations English PEN and PEN International, founded by Catharine Amy Dawson Scott in 1921, contain extensive correspondence with writer-members and other PEN centres around the world. Their records document campaigns, international congresses and other meetings, committees, finances, lectures and other programs, literary prizes awarded, membership, publications, and social events over several decades.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-03133
Language: The records are primarily written in English with sizeable amounts in French, German, and Spanish, and lesser amounts in numerous other languages. Non-English items are sometimes accompanied by translations.
Note: The Ransom Center gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which provided funds for the preservation, cataloging, and selective digitization of this collection. The PEN Digital Collection contains 3,500 images of newsletters, minutes, reports, scrapbooks, and ephemera selected from the PEN Records. An additional 900 images selected from the PEN Records and related Ransom Center collections now form five PEN Teaching Guides that highlight PEN's interactions with major political and historical trends across the twentieth century, exploring the organization's negotiation with questions surrounding free speech, political displacement, and human rights, and with global conflicts like World War II and the Cold War.
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. One photo scrapbook (in Box 358) was exposed to moisture and suffered mold damage. The item has been vacuum treated, but mold may still be present. For health reasons, patrons may consider wearing gloves and a dust/mist respirator while handling this item.
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 PEN (Organization) Records (Manuscript Collection MS-03133), Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
Acquisition: Purchases and gifts, 1968-2015 (R4104, R5841/5842, R8286, R12143, R15188, 2009-07-006-G, 2015-12-018-P)
Processed by: Anne Kofmehl and Joan Sibley, 2019 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

Organizational History

PEN (originally P.E.N., an acronym for Poets, Essayists, and Novelists) is an international writers' organization with member centres present in over 100 countries worldwide. Founded in London in 1921 by Catharine Amy Dawson Scott, it held its first dinner meeting on October 5th to bring together writers to socialize and share ideas. Forty-one writers attended the inaugural dinner including John Galsworthy, Sheila Kaye-Smith, Louis Golding, and Rebecca West. Within a few years, the organization established centres throughout Europe, and by the 1930s included centres in Asia and South America. The first two Presidents of PEN, John Galsworthy (1921-1933) and H. G. Wells (1933-1936), helped PEN evolve from a dinner club for like-minded literati to a writers' organization focused on free expression and human rights.
The first General Secretary of PEN was Catharine Amy Dawson Scott's daughter, Marjorie Watts. She was secretary from the club's founding until 1926; she later published a book about the early years of PEN. In 1926, Hermon Ould, a founding member and a longtime friend of Dawson Scott, became General Secretary, a position he held until his death in 1951. Ould played a pivotal role in shaping PEN's identity through the difficult years leading up to World War II, the war itself, and its aftermath.
PEN began holding annual congresses in 1923, inviting delegates from all centres to come together in an appointed city for several days of meetings, literary discussions, and social functions. The 1st Congress was held in London with 11 centres in attendance. In 1926, at the 4th Congress held in Berlin, the PEN Charter was first introduced by President John Galsworthy. In this document, PEN laid out its mission as a worldwide writers' organization dedicated to freedom of expression, recognizing the importance of literature as a unifying theme between nations and across cultures, and promoting peace and friendship among writers and intellectuals. The charter was officially ratified in 1948 at the 20th Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In the early years, PEN members and leaders made a concerted effort to remain apolitical and avoid political debate and strife. These efforts eventually weakened under the growing threat of National Socialism in Germany. As tensions emerged on the global stage, PEN could no longer ignore the political conflicts. A pivotal moment came at the 11th Congress in Dubrovnik in 1933. H. G. Wells, then the newly-elected President of PEN, led a campaign against the burning of books by Nazis in Germany. The German PEN centre refused to participate in the protest, and worse, tried to prevent Ernst Toller (who was Jewish) from speaking out about wider injustices taking place within German PEN. As a result, the German centre's membership was revoked and not reestablished until well after the end of World War II.
After the expulsion of the German centre, PEN began to take a more active role in protesting the treatment of writers and intellectuals in countries under authoritarian control. PEN members and leaders campaigned on behalf of writers such as Arthur Koestler, who benefitted from PEN's protestations and was released from prison in Spain in 1937. By 1938, PEN had formed a refugee writers' fund tasked with assisting those trying to flee Nazi-occupied nations. Hermon Ould and Storm Jameson (the new President of English PEN), played a pivotal role in advocating on behalf of these exiled writers, helping them in ways large (resettlement in England) and small (providing typing paper and other resources) to survive and continue their work.
Just as World War II took root, another type of war was sparked within PEN. Jules Romains was elected President of PEN International in 1936, the first international President not from England. In July of 1941, Romains fled France for America and attempted to form a new PEN organization, European PEN of America, declaring those centres left behind a lost cause. The abandonment caused a great schism between Romains and his few followers and the rest of the PEN leadership, led by Hermon Ould and Storm Jameson. The International President was replaced by a Wartime Presidential Committee comprised of members from several PEN centres who served from 1941 through 1947. The only congress held during the war years, the 17th Congress in London in 1941, served as a rallying cry for the organization. The theme of the event was "Writers in Freedom" and imagined the future they would build in a post-war world.
Hermon Ould continued to serve throughout the war years from a relocated office in Tring, England, the move from London precipitated by the risk of bombings during the Blitz. In 1947, PEN hosted a dinner in Ould's honor, celebrating his 20th anniversary as secretary of the organization. The immediate years after the war found PEN attempting to rebuild centres in nations heavily hurt by Nazi-rule. German PEN returned not as one unified centre, but as two, representing the newly-divided country: the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. Other writers formed exile centres in London and New York. Hermon Ould's death in 1951 marked the end of an era, and his successor as General Secretary, David Carver, took over admist the ever-evolving geopolitical landscape of the Cold War-era. During Carver's tenure, PEN further established itself as more than just a collegial club for writers by taking its place alongside such new post-war allies as UNESCO to continue spreading their influence internationally and strengthen their advocacy for freedom of expression around the globe.
David Carver, like Ould, held the position of General Secretary for a lengthy term from 1951 until his death in 1974. He helped expand PEN's influence beyond Europe and America, planning and holding congresses for the first time in Asia (Tokyo in 1957) and Africa (Ivory Coast in 1967). He also navigated the murky waters of the Cold War and its polarizing effect around the world. Writers continued to face persecution and imprisonment for their opinions across the globe, especially in those nations under Soviet or other authoritarian control (e.g., Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Chile). In response, PEN formed the Writers in Prison Committee in 1960 at the 31st Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of the first cases they became involved in was the imprisonment of Wole Soyinka by the Nigerian government, under Major General Yakubu Gowon, in 1967. During the 1960s, David Carver and Arthur Miller, who served as International President from 1965 to 1969, made efforts to form a centre within Russia. These negotiations were tense, and no Russian PEN centre was successfully established until 1988. Two of the congresses planned during David Carver's tenure were either cancelled or postponed due to political strife, those in Iran (1963) and Israel (1973).
From its inception until 1981, PEN International and English PEN largely shared the same administrative body (e.g., Hermon Ould was secretary of both PEN International and the English PEN centre) and operated out of the same London office. In 1981, the organizations were officially split and moved into different offices. Josephine Pullein-Thompson was the secretary of English PEN during this transition and continued to serve in that role until 1993. She also served as President of English PEN from 1994 until 1997.
During the 1980s and 1990s, PEN's reputation as an organization that campaigned on behalf of imprisoned writers and against censorship grew within the international community. In 1981, the Writers in Prison Committee established the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, an annual event to raise awareness of imprisoned writers and to commemorate those killed for their views. PEN played a pivotal role in two high-profile cases, those supporting Salman Rushdie (a fatwa was issued against him in 1989 by the Ayatollah of Iran in response to the publication of The Satanic Verses) and Ken Saro-Wiwa (a writer and environmental activist executed in Nigeria in 1995). The Writers in Prison Committee became an even stronger presence within PEN after these two advocacies and continues to be one of the more active and important groups in PEN today.
PEN remains one of the top international writers' organizations in the world. With more than 140 centres in over 100 countries worldwide, its presence and work remain strong. PEN members continue to champion the organization's ideals: celebrating literature, defending free expression, protecting writers at risk, supporting writers in exile, and promoting linguistic rights around the globe. London continues to be home to their central operations. In 2015, Jennifer Clement, the former President of the PEN Mexico centre, was the first woman to be elected President of PEN International. PEN continues to establish new centres and to hold annual congresses. PEN will celebrate its centenary in 2021.


In addition to materials within the collection, the following sources were used:
Doherty, Megan. PEN International and its Republic of Letters, 1921-1970. New York: Columbia University, Ph.D dissertation, 2011.
Jameson, Storm. Journey from the North: Autobiography of Storm Jameson. London: Collins & Harvill Press, 1969-1970.
Ould, Hermon. Shuttle: An Autobiographical Sequence. London: A. Dakers, 1947.
PEN International. The PEN Story (2013):
PEN International. Who We Are: Our History:
Watts, Marjorie. P.E.N.: The Early Years, 1921-1926. London: Archive Press, 1971.
Watts, Marjorie. Mrs. Sappho: The Life of C. A. Dawson Scott, Mother of International P.E.N. London: Duckworth, 1987.


Series I. English PEN and PEN International Records, 1915-1986 (bulk 1926-1951): boxes 1-122
  • Subseries A. Correspondence, 1915-1969: boxes 1-76
  • Subseries B. PEN Centres, 1922-1964: boxes 77-79
  • Subseries C. PEN Congresses, 1923-1965: boxes 79-90
  • Subseries D. Administrative Files, 1921-1986: boxes 91-122
    • Campaigns, 1928-1951: boxes 91-98
    • Circulars to members, 1923-1939; 1946: box 99
    • Committees, 1923-1951: box 99
    • Conferences, 1936-1950: boxes 100-101
    • Events, 1923-1946: boxes 101-103
    • Financial and legal files, 1921-1970: boxes 103-106
    • Membership, 1922-1964: boxes 106-109
    • Officers, 1922-1952: boxes 109-110
    • Publications, 1923-1944: boxes 110-112
    • Scrapbooks and clippings, 1921-1986: boxes 112-115
    • Vertical File (unintegrated), 1926-1951: box 115
    • Empty original PEN file folders, undated: boxes 116-122
Series II. PEN International Records, 1921-1981 (bulk 1951-1973): boxes 123-204
  • Subseries A. PEN Centres, 1921-1978: boxes 123-157
  • Subseries B. PEN Congresses and Other Meetings, 1938-1973: boxes 157-196
  • Subseries C. Administrative Files, 1941-1981: boxes 196-204
    • Campaigns, 1951-1981: boxes 196-199
    • Officers, 1952-1977: boxes 200-203
Series III. English PEN Records, 1912-2008 (bulk 1976-1997): boxes 205-362
  • Subseries A. General Correspondence, 1952-1995: boxes 205-210
  • Subseries B. PEN Congresses and Other Meetings, 1926-1998: boxes 211-233
  • Subseries C. PEN Committees, 1931-2008: boxes 233-255
  • Subseries D. Administrative Files, 1920-2006: boxes 255-348; card boxes 353-357
    • General information, 1942-2001: boxes 255-256
    • Archives and early records, 1921-1998: boxes 257-258
    • Awards, 1965-1997: boxes 258-261
    • Campaigns, 1938-1993: boxes 262-263
    • Events, 1953-2000: boxes 263-271
    • Financial and legal files, 1939-2000: boxes 271-283
    • Mailings, 1930-1998: boxes 284-288
    • Membership, approximately 1939-2006: boxes 288-332; card boxes 353-357
    • Officers, 1917-2002: boxes 332-340
    • Publications, 1941-2003: boxes 340-348
  • Subseries E. Photographs and Other Visual Materials, 1912-1990: boxes 348-352, oversize boxes 358-362

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

The records of the London-based writers' organizations English PEN and PEN International, founded by Catharine Amy Dawson Scott in 1921, contain extensive correspondence with writer-members and other PEN centres around the world. Their records document campaigns, international congresses and other meetings, committees, finances, lectures and other programs, literary prizes awarded, membership, publications, and social events over several decades. Spanning 1912 to 2008 (bulk 1926-1997), the PEN Records reflect the major historical events in the aftermath of World War I, the interwar period, World War II, and the Cold War in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Topics of central importance include PEN's work to promote the power of literature to bring people together across cultures, languages, and countries around the globe; fight for freedom of expression; defend writers imprisoned and/or persecuted for their ideas and work; support writers in exile; and encourage broader transmission of literature through translation. The collection also highlights PEN's relationships with allied international organizations sharing similar concerns, UNESCO and Amnesty International among them.
The records are arranged into three series: I. English PEN and PEN International Records, 1915-1986 (bulk 1926-1951; boxes 1-122); II. PEN International Records, 1921-1981 (bulk 1951-1973; boxes 123-204); and III. English PEN Records, 1912-2008 (bulk 1976-1997; boxes 205-362). The records are primarily written in English with sizeable amounts in French, German, and Spanish, and lesser amounts in numerous other languages. Non-English items are sometimes accompanied by translations. The records in Series I. arrived in three accessions between 1968 and 1978 and were previously accessible via an onsite card catalog. Materials in Series II. (acquired 1990) and Series III. (three accessions, 2003-2015) were listed, but not organized or cataloged. This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available in the card catalog and now incorporates descriptions for the previously uncataloged materials.
The bulk of the PEN Records revolve around the work of three long-serving PEN officers based in London: Hermon Ould (International General Secretary, 1926-1951), David Carver (International General Secretary, 1951-1974), and Josephine Pullein-Thompson (English PEN General Secretary, 1976-1993, and English PEN President, 1994-1997). Storm Jameson, who was English PEN President during the difficult war years from 1939 through 1944 is also well represented. Their correspondence joins that of many other prominent English PEN centre officers and members, including Lettice Cooper, E. M. Forster, Antonia Fraser, John Galsworthy, William Golding, Graham Greene, Ronald Harwood, Michael Holroyd, Francis King, John Lehmann, Rosamond Lehmann, Iris Murdoch, Kathleen Nott, Harold Pinter, J. B. Priestley, V. S. Pritchett, George Bernard Shaw, Stephen Spender, Tom Stoppard, Noel Streatfeild, C. V. Wedgwood, H. G. Wells, and Rebecca West. Because PEN's membership diversified greatly from its initial poets, playwrights, essayists, and novelists, their correspondence represents numerous biographers, critics, editors, historians, journalists, literary agents, radio producers, publishers, and translators, as well as genre writers who produced children's, detective, fantasy, mystery, romance, and science fiction works. PEN also frequently corresponded outside its membership with heads of state, cultural ambassadors, politicians, state officials, lawyers, activists, businesses and organizations, publishers, editors, and the general public.
Other PEN centres around the world also corresponded with General Secretaries Hermon Ould and David Carter as they carried out PEN International's activities, and their correspondence is often rich and informative. Many distinguished authors were correspondents, including Heinrich Böll, Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, Yasunari Kawabata, Thomas Mann, Arthur Miller, Elmer Rice, Salman Rushdie, and Wole Soyinka to name only a few. Among the correspondents are 43 Nobel laurates in Literature as well as six winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.The most extensive PEN centre files represent America, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Scotland, and the Writers in Exile centre in London. Among the most frequent centre correspondents were Jean de Beer, Heinrich Böll, Richard Friedenthal, Yves Gandon, Robert Goffin, László Kéry, Robert Neumann, Jan Parandowski, Carlos de Radzitzky, Paul Tabori, Victor E. van Vriesland, and Sophia Wadia.
The annual PEN Congress files are also of great substance, especially for the 1st through 41st Congresses held between 1923 and 1976. Files for the 28th (1956) and 46th (1976) Congresses are particularly extensive because those congresses took place in London. Other notable congresses are the historic 11th Congress held in Dubrovnik in 1933 shortly after the Nazi book burnings and the 17th Congress which met in London in 1941, the only congress held during World War II. In addition to correspondence related to planning, arrangements, and themes for these international meetings, the records include key information such as texts of proceedings and resolutions, reports of the International General Secretary, and PEN International Executive Committee meeting agendas and minutes.
PEN's frequent campaigns to financially assist refugee writers are evidenced through correspondence, financial documents, and files for funds administered such as the Refugee Writers' Fund, the Fund for Exiled Writers and its successor, the Fund for Intellectual Freedom. The records also reflect the pivotal advocacy role PEN played in many high-profile cases of literary and political significance: helping free journalist Arthur Koestler from a death sentence in 1937; supporting Salman Rushdie in exile during the fatwa affair; and campaigning on behalf of Ken Saro-Wiwa and Wole Soyinka, two writers imprisoned for their work in Nigeria.
The International Executive Committee minutes located in the PEN Congress files are complemented by 12 English PEN Executive Committee minute books spanning 1931 through 1970. Additional administrative files also document a number of other PEN committees, among them the Books for Prisoners Committee, the Censorship Committee, the Women Writers Committee, and most extensively, the Writers in Prison Committee formed in 1960.
Throughout the PEN Records are draft writings by both well-known and more obscure authors. These include speeches given at congresses, conferences, lecture series, and dinners, as well as original fiction, poetry, and essays submitted to various literary contests or anthologies compiled or co-published by PEN. Files for two such anthologies contain full drafts of unpublished manuscripts: Fundamental Values (1943-1944) and London Calling (1942), the latter edited by Storm Jameson. Some production materials for the English PEN monthly newsletter, PEN News (1927-1964) are present, although most published centre newsletters have been transferred to the Ransom Center Library and are now cataloged in the online University of Texas Library Catalog.
The Series Descriptions provide much more detailed descriptions of the contents of each of the three series of the PEN Records. This finding aid also includes an Index of Correspondents (11,825 names); an Index of Writings; and supplemental information compiled in Appendix I: PEN Officers; Appendix II: PEN Congresses; and Appendix III: PEN Centres.
Special Note on PEN Names
To simplify searching, the name "PEN" has generally been used rather than the earlier form "P.E.N." The only uses of "P.E.N." in this finding aid are found in the Index of Correspondents when names from letterheads were cited.
Because most PEN centre names have changed over the years, files for the PEN centres have been alphabetized according to this form: "PEN Centre: country (city)" in order to keep centre materials together logically and easier to navigate by users.
For example:
  • PEN Centre: Canada (Montreal), rather than PEN Québec (per current centre website).
  • PEN Centre: Canada (Toronto), rather than PEN Canada (per current centre website).
Appendix III. in this finding aid provides a listing of all PEN centres arranged by geographic region, gives their founding year (if available), the current centre name (from centre website), and the current standard name form used by libraries (if available).
Physical Processing Note
All of the PEN Records have been rehoused into archival-quality boxes, folders, and sleeves. While most of the materials in Series I. had already been placed in protective mylar sleeves during earlier processing, none of the materials in Series II. and Series III. had been rehoused. During physical rehousing of the latter two series, potentially damaging metal fasteners were removed and papers that had been clipped together were placed in white paper sleeves to maintain their previous groupings. Many brittle papers, such as newspaper clippings, were also been placed into protective paper or mylar sleeves.
Some original PEN file folders for materials in Series I. were previously retained and are now located in boxes 116-122. For Series II. and III., original folder titles and any additional notes written on the original folders were removed and kept with the contents of that folder during physical processing. Member files in Series III. were originally filed in nearly 2,000 individual folders. These were replaced with individual white paper sleeves and placed in alphabetical groups in archival-quality file folders unless the individual member file was extensive enough to warrant its own archival folder or folders. For each member, the segments of their original member folder with labeling and other handwritten notes, usually regarding membership status, were also retained.

Series Descriptions

Series I. English PEN and PEN International Records, 1915-1986 (bulk 1921-1951)
This series occupies 122 boxes and includes correspondence and other documentation dating from the founding of PEN in 1921. Although the records do represent founder Catharine Amy Dawson Scott, General Secretary Marjorie Watts (1921-1926), and Presidents John Galsworthy and H. G. Wells, the bulk of the records in this series were created and maintained by General Secretary Hermon Ould (1926-1951) and his assistants. This series is arranged into four subseries: A. Correspondence, 1915-1969; B. PEN Centres, 1922-1964; C. PEN Congresses, 1923-1965; and D. Administrative Files, 1921-1986. Most of the records are written in English, but substantial French-, German-, and Spanish-language items are present.
Materials in this series of the PEN Records arrived in three acquisitions (R4104 in 1968; R5841/5842 in 1973; and R8286 in 1978) and were then described in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the original arrangement of this segment as well as the abbreviations commonly used in the descriptions. This finding aid revises and replaces cataloging previously available only in the card catalog. Printed ephemera (mimeos and photoduplicated information, brochures, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, etc.) in Series I. was removed during original cataloging and separately housed in the Vertical File (12 boxes). These printed materials have now been reintegrated into Series I., with the exception of PEN centre newsletters, which were transferred to the Ransom Center Library and cataloged as serial publications.
Subseries A. Correspondence, 1915-1969 (boxes 1-76)
This subseries combines the card catalog segments previously denoted as Letters (PEN's outgoing letters, filed alphabetically by recipient name) and Recipient (PEN's incoming letters, filed alphabetically by author name). The correspondence is now arranged in a single alphabetical order combining each PEN correspondent's Letters and Recipient items, enabling users to view outgoing and incoming correspondence together. An Index of Correspondents in this finding aid lists the names and folder locations for these correspondents.
The correspondence documents the early history of "the PEN" to establish the founding London, or English PEN centre, and International PEN, the original umbrella organization for all individual PEN centres. Most of the correspondence in this series was written and maintained by Hermon Ould (International and English PEN General Secretary, 1926-1951), or his assistant secretaries Gladys Burke and Hubert Foster. The PEN correspondence concerns general inquiries from authors and the public; solicitation of members for the London centre; applications submitted for membership and the collection of "subscriptions" or annual dues from members; arrangements for and invitations to London centre events, such as monthly dinners; and circulars sent to members concerning meetings, news, and initiatives.
The correspondence also reflects the English PEN centre's work to encourage the formation of additional PEN centres in other countries and their participation in a growing network of organizations dealing with the aftermath of World War I and geo-political events before, during, and after World War II, as well as humanitarian fund-raising campaigns, annual international congresses and other meetings, and publications such as PEN News. A major backdrop to Ould's years were the events triggering World War II and PEN's role as an advocate for refugees fleeing Nazi-controlled countries, as well as internal debates over the tone an organization such as theirs should strike against anti-democratic / anti-free speech ideologies, as expressed in letters by Storm Jameson (President of English PEN, 1939-1944) and German PEN Centre members Karl Federn and Ruldolf Olden.
Besides Ould, the most frequent correspondents in this subseries include Arthur's Press, Ltd., British Council, Norman Croom-Johnson (treasurer), Beatrice Erskine, E. M. Forster, John Galsworthy (President, 1921-1933), George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., Ada M. M. Hales, W. G. Hole, Béatrice de Holthoir, Violet Hunt (a founding member), International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation, International Peace Campaign, Storm Jameson (President of English PEN, 1939-1944), League of Nations, Henry Woodd Nevinson (English PEN President, 1938), Rudolf Olden (German PEN), Pagani's Restaurant (site of many PEN dinners), Ernest Raymond, Richard Ellis Roberts, Betty Ross, Denis Saurat (member of Wartime Presidential Committee, 1941-1947), Gladys Henrietta Raphael Schütze (bequeathed house to PEN), Catharine Amy Dawson Scott, (founder of PEN), William Kean Seymour (treasurer), Evelyn Sharp, Society for the Cultural Relations between the Peoples of the British Commonwealth and the U.S.S.R, William Olaf Stapledon, Wilhelm Sternfeld, Alan Ernest Wentworth Thomas, Basil Tozer, H. G. Wells (President, 1932-1936), Amabel Williams-Ellis, and Alma S. Wittlin among many others. See the Index of Correspondents for a complete listing of correspondent names.
The alphabetical correspondence files of Subseries A. includes a large and important group of files comprising PEN's correspondence with the various emerging PEN centres (boxes 42-55). The correspondence often dates back to each centre's founding and contains letters from individual centre secretaries, presidents, and members, chiefly to General Secretary Hermon Ould. Because of evolving names of individual PEN centres over the years, the files in this and subsequent subseries are arranged alphabetically by either country name, language (e.g., Hebrew, Yiddish), or other designation (e.g., Writers in Exile, Young PEN). The individual names of the PEN centre correspondents were not previously included in the card catalog description, but have now been added to the Index of Correspondents in this finding aid.
Subseries B. PEN Centres, 1922-1964 (boxes 77-79)
This subseries contains materials that were previously filed in the Miscellaneous category and described in the card catalog. This subseries forms an important adjunct to the individual PEN centre correspondence files in Subseries A. because it contains third-party correspondence and items other than correspondence that were separated from Letters or Recipient correspondence during the original cataloging process. Now present in this subseries are form letters to members, third-party correspondence, membership lists, programs, proposals, publications, reports, resolutions, speeches, statements, and other Congress, meeting, or event-related items. Selected manuscripts, reports, speeches, and other texts are detailed in the Index of Writings in this finding aid.
Subseries C. PEN Congresses, 1923-1965 (boxes 79-90)
This subseries also contains materials that were previously filed in the Miscellaneous category. Similarly this subseries contains form letters to centres and members and some onsite correspondence, along with a wide range of items documenting the annual PEN Congresses: agendas, credentials, host city information, instructions, itineraries, lists, messages from the president, motions and resolutions, notes, printed ephemera (invitations, programs, menus, visiting cards, and press clippings, most reintegrated from the Vertical File), proceedings, programs, reports, speeches, statements, travel and accommodation information. Some items from this subseries are also indexed in the Index of Writings.
Subseries D. Administrative Files, 1921-1986 (boxes 91-122)
This subseries also contains materials that were previously filed in the Miscellaneous category and generally filed alphabetically by creator. In order to group related materials together, the following general categories were established and are arranged alphabetically: Annual reports; Awards and prizes; Campaigns; Circulars to members; Committees; Conferences; Events; Financial and legal files; Membership; Officers; Publications; and Scrapbooks and clippings. Among the highlights are:
Campaigns, including the Refugee Writers' Fund, 1938-1951 (boxes 91-98). The files are chiefly correspondence with or about Austrian, German, and Czechoslovakian refugees, but sometimes also include applications and/or biographical information from the refugee and references or testimonial letters from others. PEN staff and officers (Janet Chance, Stella Downie, Margaret Johnson, Storm Jameson, Doreen Marston, Hermon Ould) and others corresponded with the refugees and other agencies to help with visas, internment camp release, housing, weekly stipends, employment, and access to English language classes and libraries. The names of the individual refugees in these files were not listed in the card catalog, but are now included in the Index of Correspondents in this finding aid.
Committees, including documents for the PEN International and London Executive Committees.
Conferences, including writings from the Freedom of Expression Symposium and the Tercentenary of Milton's Areopagitica, both held in London in 1944.
Events, including extensive documentation of the monthly dinners held by the London centre (boxes 101-103), bulk from 1923 to 1939, with lists of attendees and seating charts, plus some menus and speeches. The files for H. G. Wells' seventieth birthday dinner in 1936 are particularly complete.
Membership, including a file of original member applications (boxes 106-109) dated 1929 to 1939. Some applications are complete while others include only scant information. For some members, an application is not even present, merely a sheet of paper recording their name and the date elected to membership. A list of all member names in these files is located in folder 106.6.
Officers (boxes 109-110), including materials for John Galsworthy, Hermon Ould, Jules Romains (including a dossier of letters and reports on his actions in America while International President), Catharine Amy Dawson Scott, and H. G. Wells.
Publications (boxes 110-112), including manuscripts for an unpublished Fundamental Values volume (1943-1944) and for London Calling (1942), edited by Storm Jameson. A large array of material represents the publication of PEN News, which also includes reports sent from PEN Centres and reports on PEN Congresses that are useful adjuncts to the files in Subseries B. and C.
Scrapbooks and clippings (boxes 112-115), including PEN's invaluable chronologically arranged scrapbooks spanning 1921 to 1938 with examples of letterheads, invitations, reports, and other printed materials circulated to members and centres, as well as contemporaneously-collected press clippings.
These categories are followed by a small group of unintegrated Vertical File materials (box 115) that could not be matched to their original sources, and a group of original PEN file folders (boxes 116-122). It is not known if the original PEN file folders represent one or more of the three accessions making up Series I., but the file folder names do give some idea of their original filing system.
Series II. PEN International Records, 1921-1981 (bulk 1951-1973)
This series contains 82 boxes of files created by David Carver, who served as PEN International Secretary from 1952 until his death in 1974. The papers were acquired as Purchase R12143 in 1990 and have been arranged in three subseries: A. PEN Centres, 1921-1978; B. PEN Congresses and Other Meetings, 1938-1973; and C. Administrative Files, 1941-1981. The contents of the files have been retained in the order kept by PEN, often reverse chronological order with the most recent items on top, moving backwards to earlier items. Correspondent names in this series have been added to the Index of Correspondents and selected writings appear in the Index of Writings.
Subseries A. PEN Centres, 1921-1978 (boxes 123-157)
This subseries contains chiefly correspondence between David Carver and PEN centre secretaries from 88 centres worldwide. Membership lists, annual reports, conference information, manuscripts and publications, press and publicity clippings, statements, and other centre documents are also frequently present. Published newsletters from individual centres were transferred to the Ransom Center Library and are cataloged in the online University of Texas Library Catalog.
The PEN Centre files are arranged alphabetically by country name, language, or other centre designation. Correspondence files are most extensive for centres in America (New York), France (Paris), Germany (DDR / Democratic Republic; FGR / Federal Republic), Ireland (Belfast; Dublin), USSR (while files detail attempts to form a centre as early as 1923, a Russian centre was not established until 1988), and Writers in Exile (London). The majority of the correspondence spans the years 1951 to 1973 and is dominated by matters relating to the aftermath of World War II: the Cold War, centres within the Iron Curtain, and relations between PEN and the Soviet Union.
Subseries B. PEN Congresses and Other Meetings, 1938-1973 (boxes 157-196)
This subseries contains correspondence between David Carver, PEN centres, committees, and members concerning the planning and administration of annual congresses, conferences, and other meetings. A chronological list of PEN Congresses and themes is available in this finding aid as Appendix II.
In addition to the annual congress held nearly every year during the summer, PEN members met twice more during the calendar year for smaller meetings. In the spring, London typically hosted a two-day meeting of the International Executive Committee, including a reception for delegates and their guests. In the fall or spring, various PEN centres hosted conferences that included a meeting of the International Executive Committee and a Round Table Discussion with literary sessions on a chosen theme. These Round Table Conferences more closely resembled the annual congresses, but on a much smaller scale.
Beyond the regular PEN meetings held during David Carver's tenure, other meetings documented in this subseries include a UNESCO International Conference of Artists held in Venice, Italy in 1952; the First Pakistan PEN Conference hosted by Pakistan PEN in 1955; the Three-Day Conference, held twice in London in 1958 and 1961; the Asian Writers' Conference, held in Manila, Philippines in 1962; and the Commemorative Conference in Dubrovnik in September, 1963, held to memorialize the 11th PEN Congress in 1933.
Also present are materials for congresses that were not held or were delayed, including the cancelled 32nd Congress in Tehran, Iran in 1963, and the postponed 39th Congress in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in Israel in 1973, delayed to 1974 due to the Yom Kippur War fought in October 1973.
The files are arranged chronogically according to the meeting date. Meeting materials were generally gathered into these groupings: correspondence; International Executive Committee meeting (agendas, minutes, and resolutions); participants (guests of honor, delegates, and members of centres); mailings to centres; press cuttings and releases; program; sessions (literary, business, and inaugural); social; and travel. The files are made up of the following types of materials:
Circulars and mailings to centre secretaries and members; correspondence with centres, officers, committees, members, and participants;
Planning documents: meeting site arrangements; travel and accommodations arrangements and information; financial documents; program development including theme; schedules for Congress inaugural, literary, and business sessions; social activity planning for dinners, receptions, entertainments, and excursions; attendee registrations;
Host centre / meeting site information: centre and member lists, profiles and bibliographies of members; local embassy information and visa applications;
Meeting documentation: Congress programs and packets of printed information; lists of attendees, members, delegates, guests of honor, translators, interpreters, and observers; election of officers and other business such as amendments to charter and rules; reports by International Presidents, International Secretary, centres, and committees, including PEN International Executive Committee agendas, minutes, meeting transcripts, and reports; session schedules and transcripts; texts of resolutions, propositions, speeches, and statements; press clippings, publicity releases, photographs.
Subseries C. Administrative Files, 1941-1981 (boxes 196-204)
This subseries contains records for fund-raising and other campaigns (Fund for Exiled Writers, Fund for Intellectual Freedom, Hungarian Refugees, and International Writers' Fund); correspondence with other organizations (COM.E.S. and Congress for Cultural Freedom); and correspondence and papers relating to PEN International Presidents and their elections.
The Fund for Exiled Writers (F.E.W.) and Fund for Intellectual Freedom (F.I.F.) are connected in many ways. F.I.F. was started in the late 1950s by Arthur Koestler and later became F.E.W. after PEN took over the administration of the fund. Included is correspondence between the funders and the writers they aided plus supporting documentation of individual cases. While F.I.F. groups were organized in Germany, England (London), America (New York) and France (Paris), the majority of the material represents the London branch.
Other campaigns documented relate to PEN's work for Hungarian refugees in the 1950s and The International Writers' Fund, founded as a result of a resolution from the 31st Congress in Rio in 1960. The fund was administered by PEN, with David Carver serving as director and a small group of international writers serving as honorary chairs. The goal of the group was to support the professional development of writers worldwide via financial support for publishing, attendance at congresses, and at other professional meetings. The files include general correspondence about the efforts of the group, as well as correspondence and submissions for an annual short story contest they sponsored, organized primarily by Paul Tabori.
Materials related to PEN International Presidents and their elections complete the subseries. Present are correspondence, press cuttings, and other material related to the elections in 1965, 1969, 1971, and 1974, and other correspondence related to seven International Presidents and one Vice President of this era. Two of the presidents, Victor Van Vriesland (1962-1965) and Heinrich Böll (1971-1974), are represented by extensive correspondence.
Series III. English PEN Records, 1912-2008 (bulk 1976-1997)
This series occupies 158 boxes of material related to the work of the English PEN centre. The records were acquired in three accessions: Purchase R15188 (2003); Gift 2009-07-006-G (2009); and Purchase 2015-12-018-P (2015). A majority of the files originated during Josephine Pullein-Thompson's tenure as English PEN Secretary (1976-1993) and President (1994-1997), and also reflect the work of her assistant officers. Also present are files of Lucy Popescu, chair of the Writers in Prison Committee from 1991 to 2006. While the records in this series primarily concern the business of English PEN from 1976 forward, this series does include some earlier records that were not retired until 2003 along with Pullein-Thompson's files.
English PEN files with materials dating from 1976 to 1981 in this series may also be relevant to PEN International business. Pullein-Thompson was the first secretary of English PEN who was not also simultaneously the secretary of PEN International. Prior to 1976, the duties of General Secretary for both English PEN and PEN International were fulfilled by a single individual (i.e., Watts, Ould, Carver, and Peter Elstob), thus the records of the two entities were mixed until this point. PEN International and English PEN did not formally split into two separate administrative bodies and move into different offices until 1981.
This series is arranged into five subseries: A. General Correspondence, 1952-1995; B. PEN Congresses and Other Meetings, 1926-1998; C. PEN Committees, 1931-2008; D. Administrative Files, 1920-2006; and E. Photographs and Other Visual Materials, 1912-1990. Most of the records are written in English. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of the files have been retained in the order kept by PEN, often reverse chronological order with the most recent items on top, moving backwards to earlier items. Correspondent names in this series have been added to the Index of Correspondents and selected writings appear in the Index of Writings.
Subseries A. General Correspondence, 1952-1995 (boxes 205-210)
This subseries contains chiefly general files of correspondence between Josephine Pullein-Thompson and her assistants with individuals, members, organizations, and others documenting the day-to-day work of English PEN. Dominant is correspondence with the British Copyright Council and other organizations including the Arts Council, the Royal Literary Fund, Society of Authors, and UNESCO. There are also communications with the British Home Office and the Prime Minister's Office, advocacy work for human rights in Czechoslovakia, correspondence with other PEN centres, as well as responses to general inquiries.
Most of the correspondence is from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. However, some of the files are obviously continuations of files carried over from previous secretaries (Ould, Carver, and Elstob) as their correspondence is also present.
Subseries B. PEN Congresses and Other Meetings, 1926-1998 (boxes 211-233)
This subseries contains materials documenting the planning, administration, and attendance of annual congresses and other meetings, arranged in three groups: PEN International, English PEN, and non-PEN meetings.
The first group for PEN International contains materials for annual congresses, meetings of the Assembly of Delegates (previously known as the International Executive Committee meeting), and other conferences. The first two congresses are the most extensive, as they both took place in London: 28th Congress in 1956 and 41st Congress in 1976. Materials present include planning documents such as: meeting site arrangements; travel and accommodation arrangements and information; financial documents; program development including plans for the theme, schedules for congress inaugural, literary, and business sessions; social activity planning for dinners, receptions, entertainments, and excursions; and attendee registrations.
Congresses 44 through 61 (1979-1994) primarily document the experience of Josephine Pullein-Thompson as an attendee of these meetings. Materials include congress programs and packets of printed information; meeting agendas, minutes, and reports (many heavily annotated by Josephine); session schedules; texts of resolutions, propositions, and statements; travel arrangements and correspondence.
The second group for English PEN contains materials for meetings planned by and for members of English PEN. The Annual General Meetings are similar to PEN International Congresses, but focus specifically on members and the business of English PEN. Material for the Annual General Meetings spans 1926 to 1993 and consists of two bound books of minutes; agendas; minutes; notes; candidate biographies (submitted for membership); account reports; and correspondence. The most extensive portion of this group is made up of materials for English PEN social events and meetings, including dinners, club nights, lectures, and parties, 1940-1996. Materials are arranged chronologically and include planning documents such as: correspondence with guests of honor; catering arrangements; program development; financial documents; and programs.
A small amount of material comprises the final group, non-PEN conferences and meetings. One folder relates to the World Cultural Congress for Peace in Poland in 1948, another contains correspondence for a variety of other conferences from 1981 to 1985.
Subseries C. PEN Committees, 1931-2008 (boxes 233-255)
This subseries includes materials reflecting the work of numerous subcommittees within English PEN, including committees for: archives and programming, books for prisoners, censorship, development, executive, finance, house and hospitality, poetry, projects, publicity, vigilance, women writers, and writers in prison. Documenting the work of these committees are meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, press cuttings, and other materials.
Of great significance regarding the history of English PEN are the 12 bound volumes that contain their Executive Committee minutes from 1931 through 1970.
However, the majority of the material in this subseries represents the work of the Writers in Prison Committee under the leadership of Josephine Pullein-Thompson (1981-1990) and Lucy Popescu (1991-2006). This committee was established in 1960 at the 31st Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in response to a growing concern about the silencing of writers voices worldwide through persecution and detention.
English PEN's advocacy on behalf of imprisoned writers is evidenced in correspondence with government officials, PEN members, detained writers and their families; demonstration placards; fundraising documentation; holiday greeting cards sent to prisoners; planning documentation for events in support of the committee, such as the Day of the Imprisoned Writer; meeting agendas, minutes, and notes; newsletters; press cuttings and releases; reports and case lists; conference and congress material for several PEN International Congresses and Writers in Prison conferences. Some of the files concern Aung San Suu Kyi, Faraj Sarkohi, and Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Subseries D. Administrative Files, 1920-2006 (boxes 255-348 and card boxes 353-357)
This subseries forms the largest subseries of Series III. The materials in this subseries are arranged into the following groups: General information; Archives and early records; Awards; Campaigns; Events; Financial and legal files; Mailings; Membership; Officers; and Publications; each is further described below:
General information. Materials in this group provide a general history of PEN as an organization with copies of charters; rules and regulations; correspondence; examples of letterhead and programs; pamphlets and newsletters spanning multiple decades from 1942 to 2001.
Archives and early records. Includes papers having to do with English PEN's own archives, such as queries from researchers, correspondence concerning the sale of books and some segments of their records, charity sales of donated manuscripts, and early records kept for research purposes. Among the latter, at least some of which was gathered together by first General Secretary Marjorie Watts, are items by her mother, Mrs. Dawson Scott, John Galsworthy, Storm Jameson, Hermon Ould, Jules Romains, and Watts herself, as well as menus from the first PEN Club meeting in 1921, leases for premises, etc. Of particular note are materials that formed the so-called Jules Romains dossier.
Awards. This group includes correspondence and submissions for various English PEN awards, including Silver PEN, J. R. Ackerley Prize, and a poetry prize, awarded during the 1960s to 1990s. Also present is similar material for the Katherine Mansfield Menton and UNESCO / PEN short story prizes.
Campaigns. The majority of material present in this group is related to Salman Rushdie and the fatwa issued against him by the Iranian government following the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988. PEN defended Rushdie by lobbying government officials (including members of Parliament), organizing support among members of PEN, working alongside other partners (International Committee for the Defense of Salman Rushdie and his publishers), and publicizing information in the local and international press, most notably the World Statement, an ad that ran in multiple news sources in 1989. Other campaigns are represented by a bound ledger book related to the Austrian Writers' Fund from 1938, and correspondence lobbying against a proposed value-added tax (V.A.T.) on books in the United Kingdom.
Events. These materials document planning for a variety of programs and parties hosted by English PEN. Two lecture series make up the bulk of the material: the Hermon Ould Memorial Lectures given in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Writers' Day lectures, established in 1979 (later known as International Writers' Day). The Ould lectures were given by important literary figures of the time such as J. B. Priestley, Edith Sitwell, and Bertrand Russell. Present alongside planning documentation and correspondence are several copies of posters advertising the annual event. The Writers' Day lectures have featured Tom Stoppard, Iris Murdoch, Saul Bellow, and Nadine Gordimer, among others. The material for theses lectures includes correspondence with writers invited to the series; meeting agendas and minutes; planning arrangements for location, catering, and events schedule; programs; registrations for attendees; and photographs. Additional photographs for Writers' Day can be found in Subseries E.
Financial and legal files. Comprising one of the larger groups in this subseries, these files document the various financial activities of the English PEN Centre and its charitable wing, the PEN Literary Foundation, formerly known as the Glebe House Foundation when formed in 1962. There are financial records related to the Arts Council (a major financial supporter of PEN), John Galsworthy's estate, the J. R. Ackerley Memorial Prize Trust, and the Writers in Prison Committee. Materials include correspondence between accountant Antony Horner and other officers of English PEN; charity correspondence; bank statements; receipts; financial statements; annual reports; meeting agendas and minutes; fundraising plans; and other documentation of financial activities. Further, there are also documents related to the premises of English PEN at Glebe House and their eventual move to Dilke Street in 1981, including correspondence and copies of leases.
Mailings. This group consists of a variety of informational materials sent to members of English PEN and PEN International. The larger of the two groupings, mailings to English PEN centre members, dates back to the 1930s. Present are multiple copies of announcements; circulars; flyers; programs; meeting minutes; membership lists; newsletters; samples of letterhead; schedules for dinners, meetings, and other monthly and annual events; and subscription forms. The second group, mailings to PEN International members, dates back to 1946, though the bulk of the material is from the 1960s to 1970s. Materials include announcements; annual reports; condensed minutes from International Executive Committee meetings; General Secretary circulars addressed to PEN centre secretaries; and other memorandum, most from the office of David Carver as General Secretary. In addition to English, some materials are written in French.
Membership. Contains English PEN member cards maintained by staff; English PEN member files; a smaller group of files re applicants; and a collection of intermittent lists of members (English PEN, 1952-1992 and various other PEN centres, 1956-1978), the latter resembling an earlier compilation of centre lists in David Carver's files in Series II. A final group of files documents various recruiting drives as well as a 1992 survey of English PEN members and some nonmembers about the organization and its programming. The 1992 survey folders include returned questionnaires, talleys, and a final report.
The member cards (card boxes 353-357) contain the following information: member name and address/addresses; proposer and seconder for membership; date elected to membership; membership class (full or associate); payment mode; and a record of annual dues payments. There are also notes by staff denoting status, i.e., lapsed, resigned, or deceased. The cards are arranged alphabetically in two groups (one retired in 2003, the other retired in 2009). The latter group has a small second alphabetical group of cards for Writers in Prison honorary members. Member cards were probably instituted sometime after 1939 following the earlier application files in Series I. that span 1929 to 1939 (see boxes 106-109).
The member files (boxes 288-328) have been retained as two groups of alphabetical files. The first group (retired in 2003) spans 1941 to 2001 and represents 845 members. The second group (retired in 2015) spans 1941 to 2006 and represents 1,105 members.
Member files contain a member's original application for membership, sometimes with attached lists of publications, résumés, and infrequently, examples of their work. Occasionally there are files that contain only a member's application (for example, P. L. Travers). However, most files contain both outgoing and incoming correspondence, ranging from administrative dealings such as notification of election to membership, payment of subscriptions, attendance at meetings and events, changes of address, etc. to very active members involved in various campaigns, committees, or congresses over a number of years. The files often contain news clippings, including obituaries for the deceased, and condolence letters. Occasionally original member cards or photocopies were also filed in these membership files.
Member files for individuals who were English PEN Presidents or PEN International General Secretaries (and whose member files overlapped their terms of office) were moved to a separate group in this subseries under the heading of Officers.
Because the member files were created and compiled over approximately sixty years, correspondents include the many PEN administrators, officers, and staff members who served between 1941 and 2006. Individual member files spanning forty or even fifty years of membership in PEN are not uncommon. Another group of PEN records spanning about 1940 to 1980 is held by the University of Tulsa Special Collections Library in Oklahoma and may contain some member correspondence not in the Ransom Center's PEN Records.
Officers. Mainly correspondence of English PEN Presidents and PEN International Secretaries, along with some writings, clippings, and a few photographs. Some files concern special occasions for these officers, such as dinners and parties to mark birthdays, anniversaries, end of office term, memorials, etc. Because several of these files were apparently begun as English PEN member files, some also include the officer's original membership application. There are also files on recruiting a new General Secretary in 1992-1993 and Presidential nominees in 1993. Officers represented here include: Alexandre Blokh; David Carver; Lettice Cooper; Peter Elstob; Antonia Fraser; Ronald Harwood; Michael Holroyd; Margaret Storm Jameson; Francis King; Rosamond Lehmann; Kathleen Nott; Hermon Ould; V. S. Pritchett; Josephine Pullein-Thompson; Stephen Spender; Marjorie Watts; and C. V. (Cicely Veronica) Wedgwood. The most extensive files represent:
David Carver (PEN International Secretary, 1951-1974): four folders of mainly personal correspondence, including correspondence with close PEN associates such as Hermon Ould, Storm Jameson, E. M. Forster, John Lehmann, Rosamond Lehmann, C. V. (Cicely Veronica) Wedgwood, Rebecca West, and others. The files also include medical, legal, and financial papers (some which concern his wife Blanche), as well as letters concerning his musical performances from such notable figures as Elizabeth Poston and Gerald Moore. There are also a few letters from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; Carver worked as an assistant to the Duke when he served as Governor of the Bahamas during World War II. There are also some writings by Carver, plus a file concerning his memorial service and estate.
Storm Jameson (English PEN President, 1939-1944): fourteen folders with extensive correspondence spanning 1937 to 1987 written to and received from: Hermon Ould (1937-1951); David Carver (1951-1974), Peter Elstob (1974-1981), and Josephine Pullein-Thompson, (1980-1987). There are also a few letters from E. M. Forster (1939-1942), as well as some writings by Jameson and a number of clippings.
Hermon Ould (PEN International Secretary, 1926-1951): seven folders containing clippings of early articles written by Ould (1920-1927), reviews of his book on John Galsworthy (1934-1936), correspondence files of Henrietta Leslie with numerous PEN figures arranging a dinner to honor Ould's lengthy service and making contributions toward a monetary gift (1945-1946), as well as the gift album Ould received at the dinner, plus a tribute pamphlet published after his death (1951).
Marjorie Watts (PEN International Secretary, 1921-1926): five folders dating 1940-1994, well after her years of service. Watts wrote two books about her mother, Mrs. Dawson Scott, and over the years championed her mother's founding of PEN through books and articles, an exhibition at the 1956 London Congress, and a founder's centenary event in 1965. Watts' file also includes photocopies of a series of about sixty letters from John Galsworthy to her mother and herself from 1917 to 1932.
Publications. This final group consists of material related to several PEN-produced publications. The largest group are the anthologies of poetry and short fiction published in various iterations by PEN and partners. The first, New Poems, was published annually starting in 1952. The idea originated with Hermon Ould, though he didn't live to see it realized. In 1978, New Poems became New Poetry and PEN partnered with the Arts Council in publishing the volumes. (Note: volumes of New Poetry present start with number 4, as numbers 1-3 were published by the Arts Council alone.). Also in 1978, PEN published their first anthology of short fiction, New Stories 3. Joint publication continued until 1983 when the Arts Council withdrew all involvement. In 1984, PEN published anthologies in association with Quartet Books beginning with New Fiction I; the last volume represented by materials in this collection is New Fiction III, published in 1989. The publication files are arranged chronologically according to the preceding timeline and include correspondence with writers and editors and original submissions. There are no page proofs or manuscript materials that show the editing process of the anthologies. The Ransom Center Library does have printed copies of some of the anthologies that can be located in the online University of Texas Library Catalog.
Other publications present are smaller amounts of materials related to The Book of PEN, PEN Books, PEN Broadsheet (the newsletter of English PEN in the 1970s to 1990s), and PEN News. The materials for PEN Broadsheet include correspondence and production materials such as mockups of layout and photographs. The material for PEN News is primarily correspondence from 2002-2003 for editor Simon Burt.
Subseries E. Photographs and Other Visual Materials, 1912-1990, undated (boxes 348-352, oversize boxes 358-362)
This subseries is the final subseries and contains mostly photographic prints and a few other visual materials (sketches, drawings, clippings) depicting PEN members and events from the early days of PEN to the 1990s. Arranged alphabetically by subject, most folders contain a small number of photos on each subject. Where possible, original folder titles were kept. When found in large miscellaneous groupings, the photographs were separated into smaller, identifiable groups. There were still several groups of photos that could not be identified and are now grouped into a few "unidentified" folders. Images of David Carver, Hermon Ould, and John Galsworthy are present along with visuals for other prominent PEN members such as H. G. Wells, Marjorie Watts, Ronald Harwood, and Henrietta Leslie. There are photos for PEN events such as congresses, dinners, and the Writers' Day lecture series. A small group of negatives were removed to cold storage to optimize preservation.

Related Material

The research value of the PEN Records is enhanced by the presence of many related collections at the Ransom Center. Examples include a number of authors who were PEN officers or active members, among them A. L. Barker, Sybille Bedford, Christine Brooke-Rose, Joseph Conrad, Nancy Cunard, John Galsworthy, Nadine Gordimer, Storm Jameson, Francis King, D. H. Lawrence, Norman Mailer, W. Somerset Maugham, Arthur Miller, J. B. Priestley, Elmer Rice, George Bernard Shaw, C. P. Snow (no online finding aid), Tom Stoppard, Ernst Toller, Paul Valéry, and H. G. Wells.
Additional collections support research into human rights and censorship issues, including papers of Maurice Cranston, Morris Ernst, Erle Stanley Gardner (Court of Last Resort materials; no online finding aid), Fannie Hurst, Michael Josselson (Congress of Cultural Freedom materials), Jessica Mitford, Nicolas Nabokov, Oliver La Farge, and the Transcription Centre. These and related University of Texas at Austin holdings at the Benson Latin American Collection, the Briscoe Center for American History, and the Tarlton Law Library are referenced in the University of Austin's Human Rights Documentation Initiative.
Some current and historical records are still held by the headquarters of PEN International and English PEN in London. Sound recordings from both organizations have been digitized by the British Library. Yale University has a small collection of C. A. Dawson Scott – Marjorie Watts papers and the University of Tulsa Special Collections Library in Oklahoma holds a large group of English PEN correspondence files dated approximately 1940 to 1980. Extensive records for the PEN American Center reside at Princeton University and the online PEN American Digital Archive provides access to more than 1500 hours of audio and video recordings dating back to 1966. Holdings of other PEN centre records, such as for Ireland and Scotland, are located at their national libraries. French centre records are held by the Institut Mémoires de l'édition contemporaine (IMEC) near Caen, France. The German Exile Archive (Deutsches Exilarchiv) in Frankfurt am Main holds records from the German-speaking Writers Abroad centre. Records for the South African PEN Centre are held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Other archival collections of international organizations with similar human rights concerns include Amnesty International (1961- ) at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and Human Rights Watch (1978- ) at Columbia University.

Separated Material

Art: An oil portrait painting of Hermon Ould (1944) by the the German artist Kurt Schwitters is located in the Kurt Schwitters Art Collection.
Photographs: 25 items are located in the Photography Literary File Collection, chiefly images of or pertaining to the Rupert Brooke Memorial Statue on the island of Skyros, Greece, created by sculptor Michael Tombros.
Publications: The Ransom Center Library holds several important PEN serial publication runs, including English PEN's PEN News (1927-1964), PEN Newsletter of the English Centre (1962-1973), PEN Broadsheet (1977-1989), as well as newsletters from a number of additional PEN centres.
Vertical File: Printed ephemera (mimeos and photoduplicated information, brochures, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, etc.) in Series I. was removed during original cataloging and separately housed in the Vertical File (12 boxes). These printed materials have now been reintegrated into Series I., with the exception of published PEN centre newsletters, which were transferred to the Ransom Center Library and cataloged as serial publications.

Index Terms


Beer, Jean de, 1911-1995.
Böll, Heinrich, 1917-1985.
Carver, David.
Cooper, Lettice Ulpha, 1897- .
Dawson Scott, C. A. (Catharine Amy), 1865-1934.
Elstob, Peter, 1915-2002.
Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan), 1879-1970
Fraser, Antonia, 1932- .
Friedenthal, Richard, 1896-1979.
Galsworthy, John, 1867-1933.
Jameson, Storm, 1891-1986.
Kéry, László, 1920- .
King, Francis, 1923-2011.
Lehmann, John, 1907-1987.
Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005.
Neumann, Robert, 1897-1975.
Ould, Hermon, 1886-1951.
Parandowski, Jan, 1895-1978.
Pullein-Thompson, Josephine.
Radzitzky, Carlos de.
Spender, Stephen, 1909-1995.
Tabori, Paul, 1908-1974.
Vriesland, Victor E. van (Victor Emanuel), 1892-1974.
Wadia, Sophia, 1901- .
Watts, Marjorie.
Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946
West, Rebecca, 1892-1983.


Arts Council of Great Britain.
British Council.
English Centre of International PEN.
PEN (Organization).
PEN (Organization). Writers in Prison Committee.


Authors -- 20th century.
Authors -- Political and social views.
Authors, Exiled.
Censorship -- 20th century.
Cold War.
Freedom of expression.
Freedom of the press -- 20th century.
Human rights.
Literature and history -- Africa.
Literature and history -- East Asia.
Literature and history -- England -- London.
Literature and history -- Europe.
Literature and history -- Latin America.
Literature and history -- Middle East.
Literature and history -- United States.
Literature, Modern -- 20th century.
Literature -- Societies, etc. -- History -- 20th century.
London (England) -- History -- 20th century.
Politics and literature.
Prisoners -- 20th century.
Publishers and publishing -- 20th century.
Refugees -- 20th century.
Women authors -- 20th century.
World War, 1939-1945.

Document Types

Financial documents.
Meeting minutes.

Container List