Francis Brett Young Manuscript Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises manuscripts or typescripts of many of the author's works, and a large number of letters, many of which are from writers and other prominent figures of the first half of the twentieth century. Papers relate to income tax; correspondence regarding housing including Craycombe House, Fraita, Anacapri, Talland House, Cornwall, House at Montagu, South Africa; general correspondence, including letters from Mary Anderson [Mme de Navarro], Lady Cynthia Asquith, Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin, John Davys Beresford, F.V. Branford, Robert Bridges, Dudley Ridge d'Ewes, of the Cape Times , Walter Carey, bishop of Bloemfontein, Frank Davey, of the News Chronicle , Walter de la Mare, Ernest de Selincourt, John Drinkwater, St. John Greer Ervine, Edward Garnett, Louis Golding, Owen Grazebrook, G.C. Greenfield, J.L. Hammond, H.C. Harwood, C.S. Evans, Arnold Gyde, David Higham, Gordon Bottomley, Gustav Holst, J. Clement Jones, Lady Frances Lloyd George, Sir Compton Mackenzie, A.A. Milne, Alan Monkhouse, John Moore, Charles Morgan, Hilda Morgan, Axel Munthe, Karl Nirschl, Eden Phillpotts, Adelaide Phillpotts, Arthur Ransome, Richard Reynolds, Royal Society of Literature, Martin Secker, Edward Shanks, Jan Christian Smuts, Sir John C. Squire, General Frank Theron, E.G. Twitchett, Rickwood, H.A. Vachell, Countess Wemyss, Dick Wyndham, Millah Tcholakova, Edwin Cerio, Sir Edward Marsh, Hugh Walpole, C.S.L. Alford, rector of Rowberrow, Princess Alice Mary, Countess of Athlone, Michael Anderson, Dr. Anning, William Armstrong, Windham Baldwin, Barclay's Bank, Sir Ernest Barker, Sir James M. Barrie, Vernon Bartlett, Arundel Begbie, Lionel E. Blackburn, Dean of Ely, Vernon Brink, British Broadcasting Corporation, Brian Brooke, W. St. Pierre Bunbury, A. Essex Capell, Walter Carey, Bishop of Bloemfontein, F. Carey Slater, Edwin Cerio, Michael Clark, Penelope Cooke, Donald Cowie, Marquess of Salisbury, S.A. Cull, Lionel Curtis, Dr. John Dale, M. Davey, Walter de la Mare, Duke of Devonshire, Robert Dolbey, Norman Douglas, J. Hubert Dunn, I.D. du Plessis, Leonora Mary Ervine, St. John Greer Ervine, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Doris Finlay, Horace Flather, of the Cape Argus, Julie Follansbee, W. & G. Foyle, H.W.F. Franklin, of Epsom College, Ada Galsworthy, Louis Golding, Dick Goodwin, Hamish Hamilton, J.L. Hammond, L. Barbara Hammond, Florence Hardy, Rupert Hart-Davis, L.P. Hartley, Joan Hassall, N.C. Havenga, Alfred Hayes, Violet Henson, Sir Alan P. Herbert, Rowland Hill, of the Cape Times, John Hingeley, Henry Vincent Hodson, Jan H. Hofmeyr, Eleanor Holland-Martin, Robert Holland-Martin, W.H.G. Holmes, Humphrey F. Humphreys, Christopher Hussey, of Country Life, Margaret Storm Hameson, of A.A. Knopf, Mary Jones, Wayland Young, Baron Kennet of the Dene, Uys Krige, Kruger National Park, Florence Lamont, Tom Lamont, Pat Lawlor, D.H. Lawrence, Cecil Day Lewis, Sinclair Lewis, David Lloyd George, Lady Frances Lloyd George, Beth Long, Percy Lubbock, Charles Lyttelton, Viscount Cobham, John Cavendish Lyttelton, Viscount Cobham, Colin Reed Macdonald, Sir Compton Mackenzie, Faith Mackenzie, Sir Edward Marsh, Archibald Marshall, John Masefield, Sarah Gertrude Millin, Neville Minchin, John Moore, Hilda Morgan, Moriarty, Chief Constable of Birmingham, W.S. Morrison, H.V. Morton, Gilbert Murray, National Botanic Gardens, Kirstenbosch, National Trust, C. Pat Newton, Norah Nichols, Robert Nichols, Joy Packer, Leonard G. Parsons, Leonard G. Parsons, William J. Pickerill, J.B. Priestley, A.C. Rayner-Wood, Denys Reitz, Eugene Reynal, Eric Rosenthal, Countess of St. German's, Martin Secker, Ernest de Selincourt, Giovanni Serena, C.P. Snow, Pamela Hansford Snow, Stephen H. Spender, Sir Oliver Stanley, Stewarts and Lloyds, Austin Strong, Charles Struben, Frank Swinnerton, Sir Charles Tennyson, Mrs. Newton Thompson, G.H. Trevelyan, E.G. Twitchett, Hugh Walpole, R. Lanyon Watling, Lady Mary Wemyss, Rebecca West, Humbert Wolfe, Edward Sydney Woods, Bishop of Lichfield, Gordon Wordsworth, Noel Brett Young, R.K. Young, Elizabeth Zimmermann, Miscellaneous letters from Francis Brett Young, Jessica Brett Young.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frances Brett Young, novelist, short-story writer and poet, born in Halesowen. His father was a doctor and his mother also came from a medical family so it was natural that Francis trained at Birmingham University to become a physician. He started practice at Brixham, Devon, in 1907 and married the following year. His wife was a singer and he accompanied her as well as setting poems to music for her. During the First World War he saw service in Africa in the Medical Corps but was invalided out in 1918, no longer able to practice medicine. The couple went to live in Capri until 1929 but travelled widely, including trips to South Africa, the United States and summers in the Lake District of England. They returned to live in England from 1932 and settled at Craycombe House, Fladbury, Worcestershire. At the end of Second World War he moved to South Africa, dying in Cape Town in 1954. His ashes were returned to England and are in Worcester Cathedral.

Published works include: The black diamond (1921); Black roses (1929); Christmas box ; The city of gold (1939); Cold harbour (1924); Dark tower (1914); Deep sea (1914); Dr. Bradley remembers (1938); Far forest (1936); The house under the water (1932); The island (1944); Jim Redlake (1930); The man about the house (1942); Marching on Tanga (1918); Mr. and Mrs. Pennington (1931); Mr Lucton's freedom ; My brother Jonathan (1928); Pilgrim's rest Poems 1916-1918 (1919); Portrait of a village (1937); Portrait of Clare (1927); The red knight (1921); Sea horses (1925); They seek a country (1937); This little world The tragic bride (1920); White ladies (1935); Wistanslow Woodsmoke (1924); The young physician (1919) .

Reference: Literary Heritage, West Midlands, Francis Brett Young ( ). Accessed May 2002.


The collection is arranged in the following series: Major works; short stories and articles; speeches; poems; notebooks; musical items; diaries; miscellaneous; Jessica Brett Young; letters from Francis Brett Young to Jessica Brett Young; letters from Jessica Brett Young to Francis Brett Young; letters with J. B. Pinker on publishing; letters from South Africa; letters to E. S. Pinker on publishing; letters to Ralph Pinker on publishing; letters to F. C. Wicken of Pinker's on publishing; letters from Jessica Brett Young to J. B. Pinker on publishing; letters from Jessica Brett Young to E. S. Pinker on publishing; miscellaneous Pinker correspondence; publishing, miscellaneous; correspondence with Pearn, Pollinger and Higham; correspondence with Margery Vosper about play-productions; correspondence with Heinemann's on publishing; correspondence with Martin Secker, mainly on publishing; income tax; correspondence regarding housing; general correspondence.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

The Francis Brett Young Manuscript Collection has been presented to Birmingham University Library over a period of several years by Mrs. Jessica Brett Young.

Other Finding Aids

Please see full catalogue for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the papers of where they accompany the papers of Francis' wife Jessica Brett Young (GB 150 JBY). Other letters of Francis Brett Young can be found in the Letters Additional Collection (GB 150 LAdd).