Correspondence of Henry Williamson and Stuart Petre Brodie Mais

Scope and Content

One file containing letters and postcards to Mais from Williamson, 1929-1938

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Williamson (1895-1977), writer, was born in south London and educated at Colfe's Grammar School, Lewisham. He fought in the army in the First World War and gained a deep sense of the futility of conflict as a result. He worked as a journalist for a short while before writing his first novel, The Beautiful Years, in 1921. This became volume one of a quartet, named The Flax of Dreams. At the same time he moved to North Devon and, in 1927, wrote there Tarka the Otter, the book on which his fame most heavily rests, and A Patriot's Progress (1930), based on his trench experiences. After Salar the Salmon (1935) he became an outspoken supporter of German reform and British fascism, which led to his being briefly interned at the start of the war. His postwar work, which is arguably his most important, is a cycle of fifteen novels entitled, A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, which was completed in 1960.

Stuart Petre Brodie Mais (1885-1975), writer and broadcaster, was born on 4th July 1885, the son of the Revd John Brodie Stuart Mais, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Tansley, Matlock, Derbyshire, and his wife Hannah Horden Mais. He was educated at Dewstone and Christ Church, University of Oxford, where he graduated in English Literature in 1909. He received an MA in 1913. He taught in schools for many years (1909-1920, and 1941-1945), before turning to a career in journalism. He was literary critic on the Evening News in 1918 and at the Daily Express between 1921 and 1923. He then became literary editor at the Daily Graphic from 1923-1926, before becoming leader writer and book reviewer for the Daily Telegraph from 1926-1931. He published prolifically on a number of topics, his main interests being travel, books and the countryside. He was Professor of English at the RAF Cadet College, and was also examiner and lecturer to the University of London. He died on 21st April 1975.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 18 Feb 2004, and encoded into EAD 2 June 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Currently unlisted.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Purchased by the University Library at auction (Dominic Winter Books) via Quarritch in Dec 2003.

Related Material

See also EUL MS 43, 71, 74, 78, 91, 106 and 111 for other collections relating to Henry Williamson, held at the University of Exeter. Papers relating to Henry Williamson are also held at the following repositories: Dartmouth College, Library, Reading University Library, King's College London, Royal Society of Literature and Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies.

Papers relating to Mais are held at the following repositories: West Sussex Record Office, Reading University Library, National Library of Scotland and Warwick University Modern Records Centre.


Not known.