The Leslie Charteris collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, and other items.
Manuscripts by Charteris in the collection are extensive. They are primarily shorter pieces, including numerous short stories, teleplays, screenplays, radio plays, articles, comic strip scripts, columns, and some poems. The majority of Charteris’s manuscripts concern his character Simon Templar, “The Saint.” The material dates from the mid-1940s to the latest television-series adaptation, The Saint, in 1989. Book-length manuscripts in the collection (all published by Doubleday) include Leslie Charteris’s The Saint Abroad (by Michael Pertwee, adapted by Fleming Lee and supervised by Charteris, 1969); The Saint in Pursuit (novelization of a comic strip, 1970); The Saint and the People Importers (with Fleming Lee, 1971); Leslie Charteris’s The Saint and the Hapsburg Necklace (with Christopher Short, 1975); Catch the Saint (with Fleming Lee, 1975); Leslie’s Charteris’s Send for the Saint (with Peter Bloxsom, 1978); Leslie Charteris’s The Saint in Trouble (with Graham Weaver, 1978); Leslie Charteris’s The Saint and the Templar Treasure (with Graham Weaver, 1978); Leslie Charteris’s Count on the Saint (1980); and Salvage for the Saint (1983). Also present are Charteris’s drafts of the books Spanish for Fun (Hodder and Stoughton, 1964) and Paleneo: A Universal Sign Language (Hodder and Stoughton, 1972). Manuscripts for screenplays by Charteris in the collection include Lady on a Train (with Edmund Beloin and Robert O’Brien; Universal, 1945) and Two Smart People (with Ethel Hill; Loew’s, 1946).
Manuscripts by others in the collection include The House on Felicity Street, by Fleming Lee under Charteris’s supervision (Signet, 1973) and several radio plays and teleplays by various authors.
Correspondence in the collection is extensive, and primarily consists of professional letters to and from various editors, publishers, collaborators, adaptors, and illustrators. Some personal letters are also included, as well as several pieces of fan mail. The letters date from the 1940s to the 1990s. Notable correspondents include Abraham S. Burack, Frederic Dannay, W. Somerset Maugham, Jonquil Trevor, Roger Moore, Harry Harrison, Tom Stern (writer of the “Francis the Talkative Mule” stories). One group of letters pertain to a trial on charges of obscenity in Sioux City, Iowa in 1965 (Charteris was not directly involved in the trial).
Printed material makes up a large part of the collection. The majority of Charteris’s published output is represented, including short stories, articles, columns, comic books and comic strips, and other items. The Saint Magazine, The Saint Mystery Magazine, and their French counterpart Le Saint Détective Magazine are present in numerous copies. Also extensive are the issues of Gourmet magazine, for which Charteris wrote a column. Other periodicals present include Mai-Kai Happy Talk, Life, John Bull, and others. Also present in the collection are numerous clippings of articles and reviews regarding Charteris, as well as fanzines, newsletters, publicity material, book covers, and other items.
Other material in the collection includes photographs of Charteris; memorabilia, mostly regarding “The Saint”; contracts, royalty statements, and other financial and legal items; two diaries (1971 and 1972); two film reels of Charteris appearing in television commercials; an audio recording of Charteris on the BBC (1965); and other miscellaneous items.