The Coward Gift

Scope and Content

Autograph manuscript of Quadrille, a romantic comedy written by Noel Coward in 1951 and 1952, and first performed at the Phoenix Theatre, London, on 12 September 1952. The production was popular with the public, but disparaged by the critics.

Sixteen published volumes of Coward's work, and Theatrical companion to Coward , by Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson (1957), each volume carrying an autograph dedication and signature.

Ad. 1: carbon typescript of 'Actors aren't people', an unpublished autobiography by John C. Wilson, with minor autograph corrections, c.1955. Covers the author's relationship with Noel Coward who 'shaped my theatrical career for many years'.

Ad. 2: videocassette of the South Bank show: Noel Coward, 1 March 1992

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Noel Peirce Coward (1899-1973) was a playwright, actor, composer, and director of film and theatre.

According to the autobiography in Ad. 1John C. Wilson was born in Trenton, New Jersey, attended Amherst Academy from which he proceeded in 1917 to Yale; he became an actor and theatre director, working in both the USA and London.

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Sir Noel Coward on the occasion of being awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Sussex, 11 July 1972.

Ad. 1, purchased 1997.


Prepared by John Farrant, August 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.