Bates, Herbert Ernest

Scope and Content

A manuscript draft, 1926, of the novel, The Two Sisters , by Herbert Ernest Bates.

Administrative / Biographical History

Herbert Ernest Bates (later known to his friends and wife as 'H.E') was born in Rushton, Northamptonshire on 16 May 1905. He received his education at Kettering Grammar School and when he left at the age of sixteen he became, first, a clerk and then a provincial journalist. His first novel, The Two Sisters , was published in 1926 by Jonathan Cape after being rejected by 9 other publishers. By 1931, Cape had published three further novels.

In 1941, the Royal Air Force recruited Bates as a short story writer under the pseudonym of 'Flying Officer X'. This work included, The Greatest People in the World (1942) and Fair Stood the Wind for France . The latter was published by Michael Joseph who was to be his publisher for the rest of his life.

The Darling Buds of May (1959) began a popular series of earthy novels set in a rural context and for this work, he may be best remembered. His acclaimed autobiography was published in three volumes: The Vanished World (1969), The Blossoming World (1971) and The World in Ripeness (1972). Bates died in Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury, Kent on 29 January 1974.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Other Finding Aids

University of London Library, The Sterling library: a catalogue of the printed books and literary manuscripts collected by Sir Louis Sterling and presented by him to the University of London , Cambridge, (1954).

Archivist's Note

Separated Material

The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library, University of Texas at Austin, USA, holds correspondence and papers; the Beinecke Library, Yale University, Connecticut, has papers; The King's School, Canterbury, contains a manuscript of 'The Poacher', 1933-1934; Northampton Central Library holds letters to Joe Braddock, 1935-1973; Aberdeen University Library has letters to John Bisset Chapman, 1927-1933; the John Rylands University Library of Manchester contains correspondence with Basil Dean; the Lauinger Library, Georgetown University, Washington, USA, holds correspondence with Bruce Marshall; Northamptonshire Record Office has letters to Reginald Underwood, 1926-1965; the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Bradford, contains letters to Malachi Whitaker, 1929-1965 (Ref: 25D77/E/8); the Huntington Library, California, USA, holds letters and literary manuscripts, 1926-1968; the British Library, London, has correspondence with the Society of Authors, 1941-[1974] (Ref: Add MSS 63211); Reading University Library holds correspondence, 1930-1960.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.