Papers of Edith Maud Hull

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7EMH
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      3 A boxes and 2 OS objects

Scope and Content

The archive consists of birth and marriage certificates (1876-1880); film, theatre and publishers' contracts for EM Hull's works (1919-1956); one photograph thought to be EM Hull in her wedding dress (one of the only known photographs of the author) (c.1900); one copy of Sir Walter Scott's Poetical Works (1865) that belonged to EM Hull's father James Henderson; an article by Cecil Hull 'Six Weeks in Southern Algeria' (1930); Edith Maud Hull's suitcase; the following eight books by Edith Maud Hull inscribed to her daughter Cecil Winstanley Hull:

*E M Hull, The Sheik, 1921, Small Maynard & Co

*E M Hull, The Shadow of the East, 1921, Eveleigh Nash and Grayson

*E M Hull, The Desert Healer, 1923, Eveleigh Nash and Grayson

*E M Hull, Camping in the Sahara, 1926, Eveleigh Nash and Grayson

*E M Hull, The Sons of the Sheik, 1926, Eveleigh Nash and Grayson

*E M Hull, The Lion Tamer, 1928, Eveleigh Nash and Grayson

*E M Hull, The Captive of the Saharah, 1931, Dodd, Mead and Co

*E M Hull, The Forest of Terrible Things, 1939, Hutchinson and Company

These were popularly known as 'Desert Romances' and in 2005 were still classed by many booksellers as 'Erotic Fiction'. The archive provides an insight into the contractual and financial affairs of a popular female novelist of the early 20th century.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edith Maud Hull (1880-1947) (née Henderson) was an author who wrote using the pseudonym EM Hull. She was also known as Edith Maud Winstanley. She was born in London to James Henderson, a Liverpool shipowner, and Katie Thorne, of New Brunswick, Canada. In her youth she travelled in Algeria, which may have provided the inspiration for her later novels. She married Percy Winstanley Hull (b. 1869), a gentleman pig farmer of Derbyshire, in the early 1900s. They lived at The Knowle, the Hull family estate in Hazelwood, Derbyshire, and had one daughter, Cecil Winstanley Hull. EM Hull began to write romantic fiction during the First World War while her husband was serving in the military. Her first and most famous novel, The Sheik (1919), was a bestseller, and was made into a phenomenally successful film starring Rudolph Valentino. It was considered exotic and shocking at the time, contributing to the fashion for the 'desert romance' genre of fiction and turning EM Hull into a bestselling novelist. She went on to write seven more books, including Sons of the Sheik (1925), which was also made into a film with Valentino. EM Hull died at home in Hazelwood, Derbyshire on 14 Feb 1947.

Access Information

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit. Two items (a suitcase and a photograph) are currently unavailable, awaiting conservation.

Acquisition Information

It would appear that this material once belonged to Cecil Winstanley Hull, EM Hull's daughter, to whom rights in the books passed on her death, and has remained in the family since. The material was deposited with The Women's Library by a member of the family in 2001.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Alternative Form Available

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For a copy of the attached image please contact MEPL, quoting the MEPL image reference 10096313. [Note: this is an MEPL-owned image, please apply to MEPL for all reproduction queries]