Drawbell, James Wedgwood (1899-1976)

The James Wedgwood Drawbell collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, printed materials, legal material, photographs, and other materials.

The collection includes manuscripts for novels, non-fiction books, book reviews, plays and dramatizations, film scripts, articles, and notes. Manuscripts for novels include The Bright Lights (1962, Mills and Boon), Lady in the Dark (1963, Mills and Boon), and Remember Me to Mike (unpublished).

Non-fiction manuscripts consist of A Gallery of Women (1933, Collins), The Garden (1970, Macdonald), and Scotland Bitter-Sweet (1972, Macdonald). Also included is Drawbell’s autobiography, Time on My Hands (1968, Macdonald).

Book reviews composed for Book Choice and The Scotsman between 1966 and 1979 are also well-documented.

Collected short stories include “Champagne Cocktail,” “A Girl to Play With,” “Man and Wife,” “Night in Algiers,” “The Ship Sailed at Six,” and “Two Women,” as well as a few untitled items.

The collection includes notes and drafts of three untitled plays and a radio dramatization of Lady in the Dark.

Manuscripts for articles include “No. 10 Downing Street,” “Press and Class,” “The Tragedy of Leslie Howard,” Saturday Afternoon Garden.” Also included are autobiographical articles, various untitled articles, and a series of articles for Mother and Home magazine (under pseudonym ‘David Friend’). Scotland-specific articles include “Angry Young Men,” “Little Boy Lost,” “Return to Scotland,” “Second Sight,” and “The Unspeakable Scot.”

Additional items pertain to Drawbell’s publication ideas and notes, as well as manuscripts and proofs by Marion Crawford and Willie Hamilton.

Correspondence is widely varied and consists of both professional and personal content. Many of Drawbell’s letters with lawyers, agents, and publishers document efforts to secure rights and permissions for his novels. In some cases, Drawbell even established direct contact with the subject of his books, as evidenced in the collection of exchanges with women he used for A Gallery of Women. A prolific letter writer, Drawbell corresponded with numerous noteworthy figures. Present in the collection are letters to and from Winston Churchill, Marion Crawford, Sir Author Conan Doyle, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sir William McTaggart, and George Bernard Shaw, among many more. Newspapers and reprints, WW II information bulletins, general correspondence (1923-1977), and a letter from the Imperial War Museum constitute supplementary material.

Printed materials primarily include magazines in which Drawbell’s reviews, articles, and stories appeared, such as Scots Magazine, Woman’s Own, Modern Woman, Romance, and The 20 Story Magazine. Clippings of reviews and publicity for Drawbell’s books are also documented at length. Miscellaneous material consists of brochures (“J.W.D System of photo-play writing”), bulletins (“If the Invader Comes – What to Do – And How to Do It”), booklets, a large advertising poster, and more.

The collection’s legal materials include contracts for Drawbell’s plays, books and movies between 1930 and 1970. Also collected are legal papers regarding a libel suit instituted by Drawbell.

Photographs are primarily black and white and capture various moments in Drawbell’s life, ranging 1907 to the 1960s. Collected photographs capture Drawbell with Adolf Hitler, Noel Coward, Hildegarde, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, Christian Dior, and others. Photographs of staff and writers for Woman’s Own and various publicity portraits are included, as well. Most photographs contain Drawbell’s personal notes.

Miscellaneous materials consist of a 1941 diary, hand-sketched work planners and annotated calendars, a metal gramophone recording, and items regarding the placement of The Sunday Chronicle on the Gestapo Black List.  

Notable Figures
1. Drawbell, James, 1899-1979
2. Crawford, Marion, 1909-
3. Margaret, Princess, Countess of Snowdon, 1930-
4. Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926-
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. Journalism Subject Guide
3. Plays
4. Short stories
5. Journalism
6. Authors
7. Editors
8. Reviews
9. Journalism – Editing
10. Scripts
11. Photographers
12. Journalists