SHAW, George Bernard, 1856-1950: Diaries

Scope and Content

Diaries of George Bernard Shaw, 1885-1897, containing entries relating to his daily life in London during this period, mostly written in Pitman shorthand, with details of names, places, finances and petty expenses. The diaries provide and interesting insight into his personal life, various radical intellectual organisations in London, his professional journalistic work, and his attempts to create a successful writing career. Also included in the collection are five volumes of transcripts made by Shaw's secretary, Blanche Patch, [1946-1950].

Administrative / Biographical History

For a full biography, see the description for the Shaw business papers (Ref: Shaw).


Each volume contains a year's diary entries.

Access Information

This collection has been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from public use for preservation purposes. The microfilm must be used. Apply to Archivist for originals.

Other Finding Aids

Printed handlist available.

Alternative Form Available

Microfilm made available by Follet Preservation Microfilming Project, 1998. Films are held on open access in the Library (Archives MF 20-21).

Archivist's Note

Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science Archives catalogue; Stanley Weintraub (ed) Bernard Shaw: the Diaries 1885-1897 (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1986). Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by the Society of Authors. Microfilm copies only.

Custodial History

The diaries were in the possession of Shaw's sister Lucy until her death in 1920, when they were inherited by Shaw's aunt Arabella Gilmore. Her daughter, Georgina Musters, later removed them from a storage warehouse [1946] and sent them to Shaw's secretary, Blanche Patch, who made an incomplete transcript of them. They were eventually deposited for safekeeping with Otto Kyllmann, a director of Shaw's publisher, Constable and Company. The 1892 diary was given by Shaw's mother to a bookseller, who returned it to Shaw in 1907. On Shaw's death in 1950, all of his papers were bequeathed to between the British Museum and the LSE. The diaries were transferred from the British Museum to the Library in 1960, along with other materials bequeathed to the Library by Shaw. The typescript transcripts of the diaries made by Blanche Patch were bought by the Library in 1960. Also known as R 0293.

Related Material

The British Library of Political and Economic Science also holds Shaw's business papers, which contain engagement diaries (1877-1950) (Ref: Shaw), and a collection of photographs, mainly taken by Shaw (Ref: Shaw Photographs). For a full list of material relating to Shaw held at the Library and elsewhere, see the description for the Shaw business papers.


Stanley Weintraub (ed) Bernard Shaw: the Diaries 1885-1897 (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1986).