Carrington Papers

Scope and Content

The collection comprises papers accumulated by C. E. Carrington while writing the biography of Rudyard Kipling, and a small amount of later correspondence. The main components are: copies of writings by Kipling; extracts from the diaries of Kipling's wife, 1892-1936 (the diaries since destroyed); drafts of the biography, working notes, reviews of it, and copies of other works on Kipling.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Edmund Carrington (1897-1990), writer, lecturer and biographer of Rudyard Kipling, was born in West Bromwich on 21 April 1897. His father, the Revd C. W. Carrington, had a living there, but in 1903 moved to be the Headmaster of Christ's College, Christchurch, New Zealand, where Charles was educated. During World War I, he enlisted in 1914, was commissioned in 1915, saw service in France and Italy, and was awarded the Military Cross. He entered Christ Church, Oxford, and graduated BA in 1921 (MA 1929). From 1921 to 1924 and 1926 to 1929 he taught at Haileybury College, and in 1924-25 lectured at Pembroke College, Oxford. He was Educational Secretary to the Cambridge University Press between 1929 and 1954. During World War II he served in France in 1940, and between 1941 and 1945 was a lieutenant-colonel on the General Staff. From 1954 to 1962 he was Abe Bailey Professor of Commonwealth Relations at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. In 1964-65 he was a visiting professor in North America.

Carrington's public service included membership of the London County Council's Education Committee, the Council of the Classical Association, the Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and the Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas.

From the early 1930s he was publishing books (mainly schoolbooks) on British and particularly its imperial history, some under the name of Charles Edmonds: A History of England (with J. H. Jackson) (Cambridge University Press, 1932, and later editions until at least 1949), T. E. Lawrence (London: Peter Davies, 1935), The Life and Reign of King George V. A book for boys and girls (CUP, 1936), A Pageant of Kings and Queens (with C. M. Matthews) (CUP, 1937), An Exposition of Empire (CUP, 1947), The British overseas. Exploits of a nation of shopkeepers (CUP, 1950).

As Carrington explained in a note of January 1971 (SxMs 41/4/11), when Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) died in January 1936, he and Archie Lyall (Archibald Laurence Lyall, 1904-64) started to write a book about him and engaged Maysie Robertson as research assistant. She made a large collection of press-cuttings, and Lyall produced a quick preliminary draft (also SxMs 41/4/11). There the matter ended. Kipling's agent, A. P. Watt, flatly vetoed everything, and we abandoned our plan. Fifteen years later, when I had some other business with A. P. Watt, they encouraged me to write the official life of Kipling, which I did. By this time Archie was abroad [in a diplomatic posting in Trieste] and inaccessible; Maysie was busy with her own professional work.

Meanwhile, Rudyard Kipling's only surviving child, Elsie Bambridge, had in 1943 agreed to Frederick Smith, 2nd Earl of Birkenhead, writing the biography of her father. She did not like the result and prevented its publication during her lifetime. Carrington's publications must have commended him to her as an alternative biographer, and he was allowed (as had Birkenhead) full access to the Kipling papers at Wimpole Hall. Rudyard Kipling, his life and work appeared in 1955 (London: Macmillan). He also published The complete barrack-room ballads of Rudyard Kipling (1973), and Kipling's Horace (1978).

Carrington's later publications included chapters in The Cambridge History of the British Empire: The Empire-Commonwealth, 1870-1919 (1959), The Liquidation of the British Empire. The Reid Lectures of Acadia University, 1959 (London: Harrap, 1961), Soldier from the Wars returning (London: Hutchinson, 1965), and Soldier at Bomber Command (1987), as well as papers and reports for the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He died on 21 June 1990.

The working papers which he retained from writing Rudyard Kipling, he bequeathed to the University of Sussex.

Sources: Who was Who 1961-1964; 1981-1990, Crockford's Clerical Directory 1913 .

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

C. E. Carrington, by deposit in 1979.


Prepared by John Farrant, July 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.

Related Material

This collection supplements the main collection of the papers of Rudyard Kipling, his parents, his wife and his daughter, which accumulated at Wimpole Hall, near Cambridge and which are deposited at the University of Sussex as SxMs 38, Kipling Papers - Wimpole Archive. The record for that collection includes a list of all the supplementary collections.