Special Collections Department
Richard Cobden Sanderson
Manuscript Collection Number: 333
Accessioned: Purchase, December 1995.
Extent: ca. 375 items (.6 ft.).
Content: Letters, prospectus, documents.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1996 by Anita A. Wellner.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Early publications by Cobden Sanderson and company featured T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land and his magazine, Criterion, as well as several works on Shelley, including Poems of Shelley. Between 1919 and 1939, when Cobden Sanderson retired from publishing, the firm published much of the work of Edmund Blunden, Adrian Bell, and H. J. Massingham. Cobden Sanderson also published titles by Maria Edgeworth, David Gascoyne, Dorothy Wellesley, and John Beresford, as well as several books illustrated by Rex Whistler, including The New Keepsake and an edition of Andersen's Fairy Tales.
Following his retirement from publishing as World War II was beginning, Cobden Sanderson served as a spotter of enemy aircraft near his home and in other volunteer capacities, as did his wife Gwladys (Sally). Although his retirement was spent in country life, Cobden Sanderson maintained close relationships with many of the authors whose work he issued. Many of them sought out his cottage in Crendon for conversation and relaxation.
Richard Cobden Sanderson died on October 1, 1964.
Source:Obituary. The Times. October 3, 1964.
Scope and Contents Note
The bulk of the letters are from William Force Stead, Philip Tomlinson, Adrian Bell, and Kenneth Rae. Also present in the collection are nine letters from Frank Swinnerton, an acceptance of an invitation from Louis Golding, two letters from H. J. Massingham, a card from Mary Blunden, a letter from Sylvia Blunden with a postscript by Edmund Blunden, as well as letters from several other friends and associates.
Although most of the letters are addressed to Richard Cobden Sanderson, some are written to his wife Gwladys (Sally), and certainly most refer to her. The letters reflect the deep friendships formed between the Cobden Sandersons and their acquaintances and publishing associates. Although a few letters written prior to his retirement from the publishing business, particularly from Adrian Bell and Philip Tomlinson, refer to books being published by Cobden Sanderson or to some aspect of his publications, most of the letters are filled with more personal matters and tend to chronicle the daily lives of the writers.
Letters written during World War II offer vivid and detailed accounts of life in Great Britain during the war. The bombing of London, the displacement of families, rationing, the necessity for vegetable gardening and livestock management by anyone with land, the loss of friends and family, work at the Ministry of Information, and the volunteer work done by Cobden Sanderson and his friends, are all detailed in letters written by Adrian Bell, Kenneth Rae, and William Force Stead. Together these letters provide an extraordinary portrait of life in London and in the countryside of England during the war.
Other highlights among this collection of letters are the references to Edmund Blunden by several correspondents, a letter from Kenneth Rae devoted entirely to Rex Whistler after news of his death in battle, and William Force Stead's long verse self caricature titled "The Lover Casts Off His Old Clothes, a Sartorial Ode for His Nymph."
1 Series I. Letters to Richard Cobden Sanderson, 1928-1964 Letters are written to Richard Cobden Sanderson unless otherwise indicated. F1 Bell, Adrian, 1901-1980. -6 1930-1964 Letters 273p F1 1930-1932 F2 1933-1939 F3 1940-1947 F4 1952-1964 F5 [n.d.] F6 Family letters, 1946-1961 Note: Includes letters from other Bell family members, including his wife, Marjorie, and his daughter, Anthea. F7 Blunden, Edmund 1933 Nov 18 ANS 1p Note: Written on the bottom of a letter from Sylvia Blunden to Cobden Sanderson. Blunden, Mary 1921 Mar 20 ACS 1p Blunden, Sylvia 1933 Nov 18 ALS 2p Note: Includes an ANS from Edmund Blunden on the bottom of the second page. F8 Bright, Philip 1935 Mar 27 ANS 1p F9 Browne, Wynyard 1959 Jul 20 TLS 1p [n.d.] ALS 1p Note: Also includes a letter dated March 1964 from Joan which informs Cobden Sanderson of Browne's death. F10 Golding, Louis, 1895-1958. 1933 Nov 14 ANS 1p F11 Gosse, Edmund, 1849-1928. To William [1928 May 9] TL (c) 1p Note: Copy of a letter written by Gosse one week before his death. 1 Series I. Letters to Cobden Sanderson (cont'd) F12 Johnson, John 1935 Apr 8 TLS 1p F13 Massingham, H. J. (Harold John), 1888-1952. 1933 Feb 3 ALS 2p [n.d.] ALS 1p F14 Paish, George, Sir, 1867- 1935 Apr 5 ALS 1p F15 Rae, Kenneth -18 1939-1963 Letters 146p F15 1939-1940 F16 1941-1942 F17 1943-1947 F18 1955-1963 Note: Includes a prospectus for Cobden Sanderson's publication, The Annual. 2 F19 Saunders, Silvia [n.d.] ALS 1p F20 Spring, Howard, 1889-1965. [n.y.] Apr 2 ALS 1p F21 Stead, William Force -26 1925-1963 Letters 262p F21 1925-1926 F22 1927-1929 F23 1930-1931 F24 1933-1946 F25 1947-1963 F26 [n.d.] F27 Swinnerton, Frank, 1884- 1935 Mar 24 ALS 1p Mar 30 ALS 1p 1936 Sep 9 ALS 1p 1937 May 28 ALS 1p Jun 3 ALS 2p Jun 24 ALS 1p Jul 10 ALS 1p Jul 31 ALS 1p Aug 6 ALS 1p 1963 Nov 1 ALS 2p 1964 Jan 17 ALS 2p F28 Thorp, Joseph  ACS 1p F29 Tomlinson, Philip -31 1928-1947 Letters 88p F29 1928-1934 F30 1936-1944 F31 1945-1947 Note: Includes a letter from Em Tomlinson. F32 Unwin, T. Fisher 1934 Jul 21 ACS 2p F33 Unidentified, 1912-1935 Consists of sixteen documents, including letters, one congratulatory card for Richard and Sally Cobden Sanderson in 1912 (signed by 41 friends), and two documents in Italian which refer to Anne Cobden Sanderson and Ellen Melicent Cobden.
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