Frederic Whyte Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

During his periods of work at the publishing houses of Cassells and Methuen, Whyte met and edited the works of many writers and authors, some of whom became close friends. Whyte continued a correspondence with many of his contacts and this is reflected in the large preponderance of correspondence found in the collection. There are letters from J.M. Barrie, E.W. Hornung, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Philip Gibbs, Havelock Ellis, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Conal O'Riordan and correspondence between E.T. Cook and W.T. Stead.

The letters also reflect his work as a translator particularly of the works of Margherita Sarfatti, Sten Bergman, Carl Schillings and Augustin Filon and his interests such as the English stage and the literary figures of W.T. Stead and William Heinemann.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frederic Whyte was born in 1867 in Surat, India and spent his early years living near to Dublin with his maternal grandmother, two aunts and siblings. His father, Henry F. Whyte, was a civil engineer in the Bombay & Baroda Railway Company. Whyte was educated at Stonyhurst College and various other educational establishments including Gosport Royal Academy and he spent six months in Brussels and Bruges in 1886.

In 1887 he commenced work in Constantinople as a correspondent for Reuter's Bureau, but this post lasted less than a year. From 1889-1904 he was a member of the editorial staff of Cassell & Company, publishers and from 1907-1909 a literary advisor to Methuen & Company, publishers. He was also a contributor to various periodicals including Encyclopaedia Britannica, Fortnightly review, Contemporary review, Cornhill and Bookman. He translated books from various languages including German, Swedish, French and Italian throughout his life and corresponded with many literary figures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

He married Karin Lilja of Jonkoping, Sweden in 1916 and after several years of illness, died in Djursholm, Sweden in 1941.

Published works as an author : Actors of the century ... (1898), Life of W. T. Stead (1925), A wayfarer in Sweden (1926), William Heinemann : a memoir (1928), A bachelor's London (1931).

Published works as a translator : The English stage by A. Filon (1897), Napoleon : a biographical study by Max Lenz (1907), A simple heart and other stories by Gustave Flaubert (1910), The life of Benito Mussolini by Margherita Sarfatti (1925).


As the majority of the collection consists of the correspondence of Frederic Whyte, the letters in the collection have been arranged alphabetically by author. The papers are arranged as follows:

  • FW 1-13 Letters to Karin Lilja (later Whyte), 1911-1938
  • FW 14-82 Correspondence - general, miscellaneous, etc., 1888-1950
  • FW 83-84 Papers concerning Sweden, 1920-1940
  • FW 85-93 Articles, drafts and translations, [1918-1937]
  • FW 94-98 Material concerning the Life of Stead, 1885-1925
  • FW 99-105 Miscellaneous photographs, press cuttings, 1895-1958
  • FW 106-107 Albums of letters, 1892-1938
  • FW 108-118 Scrapbooks of press cuttings, 1893-1931
  • FW 119-120 Notebooks and diaries, 1891-1938
  • FW 121-125 Publications, 1898-1931
  • FW 126-127 Biographical notes, 1941
  • FW 128-141 Additional correspondence and miscellaneous material, 1885-1941

Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to bona fide researchers; appointment in advance and proof of identity required.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the Friends of the University Library from Henry C. Whyte, the son of Frederic Whyte, in 1972.


Description complied by Helen Arkwright, Manuscripts and Archives Librarian, September 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue to the papers available in the Enright Reading Room ref. : FW;

National Register of Archives ref. : NRA 16802 Whyte

Conditions Governing Use


The library can provide photocopies (to a limit of 30 at any one time) for educational and private research purposes, provided the condition of the document does not prevent copying. Alternatively, photographic or digital images can be produced for educational and private research purposes. Please contact the Special Collections Librarian for further advice (email:


Permission to make published use of any material from Special Collections must be sought in writing from the Special Collections Librarian (email: and from the copyright owner if appropriate. The library will assist where possible with the identification of copyright owners, but the responsibility to obtain copyright clearance rests with the user.

Related Material

Reading University Library:

Letters to Bodley Head Ltd, 1919-1931 ref. : MS 2606

Letters to George Bell and Sons, 1926-1938 ref. : MS 1640

See also : Location register of 20th century English literary MSS


"Glimpses into a literary workshop : Frederic Whyte" by Henry C. Whyte in English literature into transition : 1880-1920, 61, 1990.