Literary papers, correspondence and publications of David and Betty Beaty, with some related material

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Comprises: (a) 2 boxes of correspondence between David and Betty Beaty and several publishers, friends, and others, mainly concerning their respective publications, dated between 1939 and 1998, including a few relating to the deposit of their archive in the Brotherton Collection; (b) 1 box containing miscellaneous reviews of their publications, mainly in English, but with some in German; (c) 1 box containing copies of articles and short lectures by David Beaty and several booksellers' blurbs concerning his books; (d) 1 box containing notebooks and miscellaneous papers of Betty Beaty; (e) 16 boxes containing full or partial autograph manuscript and typescript drafts of David Beaty's books, as follows: The take-off, Eagles, Cone of silence, The siren song, The white sea-bird, The naked pilot, The ghosts of the eighth attack, The temple tree, New moon, The blood brothers, Electric train, The proving flight, Who shot MT?, The human factor in aircraft accidents, The stick, The gun garden, Village of stars, Call me captain, The water jump, Excellency, Sword of honour, The heart of the storm, The wind off the sea, R101, The magic carpet, The captain's return, and miscellaneous minor playscripts and essays; (f) 6 boxes containing full or partial autograph manuscript and typescript drafts of Betty Beaty's books, as follows: The colours of the night, The trysting tower, Fatal union, Love and the Kentish maid, Wheel fortune, The path of the moonfish, The shadow of the peak, and Flight into love; (g) 2 boxes of personalia, including David Beaty's RAF log books for the period 1940-1946, a short curriculum vitae, partial lists of both David and Betty Beaty's publications, a few of their notebooks, and issues of The Cherwell for 1939-40, Platitude for 1940, and John Bull for 1952-56; (h) copies of 7 of David Beaty's books, namely, The proving flight, Cone of silence, The siren song, The wind off the sea, Eagles, The human factor in aircraft accidents, and The naked pilot, 3 of Betty Beaty's books, namely, Suddenly in the air (an uncorrected advance proof), The trysting tower, and Fatal union, and 2 of Roberta J. Forsberg's biographies of David Beaty, namely, The world of David Beaty and Antoine Saint-Exupry and David Beaty.

Administrative / Biographical History

(Arthur) David Beaty, the novelist and aviation writer, was born in Ceylon on 28 March 1919 and educated at Kingswood School, Bath, and Merton College, Oxford, where he took an M.A. in history in 1940. During the Second World War he served with distinction in the Royal Air Force, then afterwards became a Senior Captain with BOAC and later a Foreign Office principal. He had earlier resigned his post with BOAC in order to concentrate on his writing career, which began in 1948 with his novel The take-off and continued with many other novels on aviation themes and a number of non-fiction works on aviation, such as The water jump: the story of transatlantic flight, and others which analyse the human factor in aircraft accidents, the classic work on the subject being his The naked pilot, first published in 1991. His wife Betty Smith, a Leeds University graduate, whom he married in 1948, and who is a novelist in her own right, assisted her husband in the writing of his autobiographical work Wings of the morning, 1982. Betty Beaty has often written under the pseudonyms 'Catherine Ross' and 'Karen Campbell', her husband sometimes under the pseudonym 'Paul Stanton'. In 1992 David Beaty was awarded the MBE for services to aviation, and he was a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He died on 4 December 1999.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

Largely the gift of the authors between 1991 and 1998, but a few titles were purchased from Tindley booksellers on 4 February and 3 April 1991.


In English.