Letter from Daphne du Maurier concerning 'The Loving Spirit' and the Slade family of Polruan

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The letter was written in response to a request by Helen Doe for information on the Slades of Polruan. Doe later went on to research the history of the family and publish her book 'Jane Slade of Polruan'. The letter shows the inspiration for both characters and the structure of du Maurier's first published novel.

Administrative / Biographical History

Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989), novelist, was the daughter of the actor Sir Gerald du Maurier (1873-1934), and his wife Muriel, and the granddaughter of the artist and novelist George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (1834-1896), artist and novelist. Daphne du Maurier grew up in Cumberland Terrace, London, and Cannon Hall, Hampstead, but her family developed strong links with Cornwall after buying a riverside house near Fowey, and it was in Cornwall that Daphne settled. Du Maurier is best remembered for her most famous novels, 'Jamaica Inn' (1936) and 'Rebecca' (1938) but she began publishing stories and articles in 1928. This letter relates to her first novel, 'The Loving Spirit', which was published in 1931 by Heineman. She conducted research into the Slade family for the novel to which she added her imaginative input to construct the fiction. Du Maurier used this technique again in some of her later stories and biographical portraits.

In 1932 she married Frederick A. M. Browning, later Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick (d 1965); they had one son and two daughters.

Helen Doe is an author and maritime historian who has published widely. She is a direct descendent of the Slade family of Polruan.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Acquisition Information

Acquired from Helen Doe.

Other Finding Aids

None. 2 items only.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Christine Faunch, Archivist, 2 July 2008.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Accruals

None expected

Related Material

The library holds the following papers relating to Daphne du Maurier and her family, EUL MSS 144, 206, 207, 276, 301, 307, 341, 342, 346, 351, 354, 359, 363, 400. Other papers of Daphne du Maurier, particularly her letters, are held at many other repositories including the following: Bath Reference Library; Bodleian Library; BBC Written Archives Centre; British Library Department of Manuscripts; Cambridge University Library; Eton College Library; Manchester University (John Rylands Library); National Library of Scotland; Princeton University Library Manuscripts Division, USA; Rhodes House Library; University of Durham Library; University of Bradford Library; University of Bristol Library; University of Warwick (Modern Records Centre); West Yorkshire Archive Service. Sound recordings of interviews with du Maurier are held at the British Library National Sound Archive.

Bibliography

The book 'Jane Slade of Polruan' was published in 2002.