Papers of Elinor Glyn

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection chiefly covers the period 1920-1939, with some earlier material. It contains typescript and manuscript copies of novels (whole and in part), short stories, film scenarios and articles. There are accounts, legal documents, memoranda, correspondence and other papers from Elinor Glyn's various enterprises including Elinor Glyn Ltd, Talkicolor Ltd, Talking & Sound Films Ltd, Morgana Syndicate Ltd and the Elinor Glyn Trustees. There are also papers relating to individual films, including The Price of Things, Knowing Men, Six Days, Love's Blindness and His Hour. In addition there is correspondence with publishers; legal correspondence; personal correspondence; press cuttings; genealogical notes; photographs; contracts and copyright agreements; material relating to the dramatisation of Three Weeks, and copies of Elinor Glyn books. There is also some correspondence relating to the publication of Anthony Glyn's biography in 1955.

Administrative / Biographical History

Elinor Glyn was born Elinor Sutherland on October 17th 1864. Her mother, also called Elinor, came from an Anglo-French family who had settled in Canada. Her father, Douglas Sutherland, was distantly related to the Scottish Lords Duffus. After the early death of her father, Elinor was raised in Jersey at the home of her mother's second husband. She entered English high society and in 1892 married Clayton Glyn, a wealthy landowner. She began her career as a writer in 1898, with a series of fashion articles, but first gained recognition the following year with the publication of her first book, The Visits of Elizabeth, a light-hearted view of the social world in which she moved. Subsequent novels were romances with the same setting. In 1907 she achieved notoriety with the publication of Three Weeks, the story of a passionate adulterous affair between an English gentleman and a mysterious foreign noblewoman. From 1908 she supported her husband and two daughters on the income from her books, as Clayton Glyn had gradually spent his fortune.

Elinor Glyn published twenty-two novels and three volumes of short stories, as well as fourteen other books, consisting chiefly of thoughts on life, love and marriage, and numerous articles. Her autobiography, Romantic Adventure was published in 1936. Throughout her life she travelled widely in Europe and America, the latter being the setting for many episodes in her later stories. In 1920, after the death of her husband, she went to Hollywood, where she worked with Famous Players-Lasky (later Paramount) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on a number of films as author, adviser and producer. In an effort to limit her enthusiasm for investing in all manner of projects, her family established Elinor Glyn Ltd, with themselves as directors. She returned to England in 1929 and entered into more film projects, with less success, continuing also to write. She remained a glamorous figure, both authoress and society hostess, until her death on September 23rd 1943.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check www.reading.ac.uk/library/special-collections/using/lib-special-using.asp for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Given to the Library by Mrs Chowdhary-Best, 1993.

Note

Description prepared by Bridget Andrews with reference to Glyn, Anthony, Elinor Glyn: a biography (London: Hutchinson, 1955).

Other Finding Aids

Item level list available in the reading room.