Ashton-Warner, Sylvia (1908-1984)

The Sylvia Ashton-Warner collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, notebooks, diaries, professional material, and other items.

Manuscripts by Ashton-Warner in the collection include Tenth Heaven (ca. 1950); Spinster (novel, Simon and Schuster, 1959); Knoxy (1959); Incense to Idols (novel, Simon and Schuster, 1960); Mr. Johns (also titled Red Sky ; novel and screenplay, 1962-1967); Teacher (nonfiction, Simon and Schuster, 1963); The Queen’s Eyes (1963); Bell Call (novel, Simon ans Schuster, 1964); Skylark (1965); Greenstone (novel, Simon and Schuster, 1967); Myself (autobiography, Simon and Schuster, 1967); Miss Fitzgerald (novel and play, ca. 1967); Monday Afternoons (1967); Five Women (also titled Artist; 1967-1968); Angelique (1969); Eight (1969); Love-in-Law (1969); Mothers and Sons (1969); Tiger Boy (1969-1971); Toby (1970); Spearpoint: Teacher in America (autobiography, Knopf, 1972); Pipiriki; Thee and Me ; L’Amour (unfinished); and Miyajima (musical). Several of these titles exist in various forms, including notebooks, short story versions, and numerous early variant drafts.

In addition to these longer works, the collection includes numerous short stories, poems, essays, and speeches by Ashton-Warner. Particularly notable are her earliest writings, from Horoera and Wellington, dated June 1936 - Feb. 1939.

Manuscripts by others in the collection include Ten Short Novels, by Ben Madden; Awatea, play by Bruce Mason; The Spiral Tattoo, play by Adele Schafer; and poems by Pearl West (1962). The collection also includes manuscripts by Ashton-Warner’s mother, Margaret Ashton-Warner.

Correspondence in the collection includes numerous letters to and from family members, publishers, agents, educators, fans, and Maori children. Notable correspondents include Julian Blaustein, Robert Gottlieb, Julian Huxley, Ngaio Marsh, Monica McCall, Herbert Mitgang, Alan Paton, Sir Herbert and Lady Read, and Darryl Zanuck.

Printed material in the collection includes proofs and galleys for Spinster and Spearpoint Also included are various periodicals with published versions of Ashton-Warner’s stories, including Comment (a New Zealand quarterly review; 1962-1963); Harper’s Bazaar (1960); Here and Now (1953-1956); Junior League Magazine (1964); National Education (containing first publications of teaching scheme by Ashton-Warner; 1955-1956); New Zealand Freelance (1960); New Zealand Monthly Review (1961-1962); New Zealand Parent and Child (1958-1960); New Zealand Women’s Weekly (1962, 1964); Numbers Ten (1959); and Te Ao Hou – The New World (1960). Also included are items by Margaret Ashton-Warner published in New Zealand Women’s Weekly (1950s).

A notable item is the VOKS Bulletin (1955), with the article “The Awakened Steppe,” by K. Unokinov. Ashton-Warner used this piece to create the background of her character Anna Vorotosov in Spinster . Also notable is Ashton-Warner’s first published work, the poem “Dancing Song,” printed in Manuka: Auckland Teacher’s Training College Magazine, Dec. 1929, with sketches by Ashton-Warner.

Other printed material in the collection includes theater programs, catalogs, pamphlets, and reviews of Ashton-Warner’s books.

Notebooks in the collection include three reference notebooks, including one for Pipiriki, dated 1939 and 1942-1943; notebooks regarding Spinster ; and “Jasmine’s Storybook,” an exercise book with a child’s writings and drawings (1963).

Diaries in the collection include Ashton-Warner’s “Fernhill Diary” (1957), three work diaries (1962-1964), and her “Gold Dust” travel diary about a sea voyage from Auckland to Singapore.

Professional material in the collection pertains to Ashton-Warner’s career as an educator, and includes notes, newspaper clippings, writings by and about school-children, and other items. Some of the notes were used by Ashton-Warner as raw material for Spinster .

Much of the material concerns the Community School in Aspen, Colorado. This material includes a contract, school minutes, dockets, schedules, information sheets, memos, and personal material (Ashton-Warner’s international driver’s license, Colorado teaching certificate, insurance policy, airline ticket, and immigration information).

Other items include illustrations, bills and receipts, audio recordings, photographs, and memorabilia.

Notable Figures
1. Ashton-Warner, Sylvia
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Education Subject Guide
2. Literary Collections Subject Guide
3. New Zealand poetry – 20th century.
4. New Zealand poetry – Women authors
5. Women authors, New Zealand
6. Schools – Colorado – Woody Park
7. Women authors, New Zealand – Diaries
8. New Zealand literature – 20th century
9. Women poets, New Zealand
10. New Zealand literature – Women authors
11. Photographs
12. Diaries