Kaye Webb Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1840 KW
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      55 archive boxes, 11 oversize folders

Scope and Content

Papers of Kaye Webb, covering her career as journalist, magazine editor, editor at Puffin and later literary agent. The collection provides a comprehensive record of Webb's career, reflecting the wide variety of work undertaken by her, and documented through notes, correspondence, press cuttings, audio-visual material, memorabilia and ephemera.

The collection includes a series of correspondence files divided into four sub-series: 'Family', including correspondence with Webb's father, mother, brothers, spouses and broader family; 'Names', containing correspondence with various well known individuals from diverse spheres, including literature, journalism, cinema and theatre; 'Authors, illustrators and publishers correspondence', generally, although not exclusively, concerned with Webb's work at Puffin, including extended correspondence with many authors published by Webb during the course of her career. These correspondence files also contain occasional associated notes and printed ephemera. The collection also includes notes and press cuttings from her early journalistic work at 'Picturegoer' and 'Camping and Caravanning Magazine' (c 1930s); her work as theatre correspondent for 'The Leader' and 'The National and English Review'; later collaborative work undertaken with Ronald Searle on the 'News Chronicle'; notes, correspondence, photographs, press cuttings and issues relating to editorial work at 'Lilliput' magazine (1941-1947) and 'Young Elizabethan' (1955-1961); and notes, audio-visual recordings and press cuttings from her broadcast work, principally as a reporter for 'Woman's Hour' (1947-1955), and including material relating to television programmes presented by Webb during this period. The collection also documents her work as founder of the Perpetua Press with Ronald Searle (1947-1955).

A major focus of the collection is Webb's work at Puffin (1961-1979). This material is divided into several groups: General business correspondence and associated material; Notes, drafts and associated correspondence concerning Webb's commission to produce a series of Birthday Books; material relating to the Puffin Club, comprising correspondence with Puffin Club members and interested parties; correspondence with assorted writers, illustrators, Puffin staff members and associates of Webb regarding Puffin events and 'Puffin Post'; a wide range of printed memorabilia and hand-made ephemera and examples of Jill McDonald's 'Puffin Post' artwork.

The collection also covers projects worked on following Webb's retirement from Puffin: correspondence relating to her work at Goldcrest Films (1981-1986) and correspondence relating to Webb's employment as a literary agent at Curtis Brown (1983-1984). The collection also contains notes and correspondence relating to book projects undertaken during this period, specifically: Methuen Birthday Books (c1980s), 'I Like This Story' (1986), the Kingfisher Reporter series (1990), 'Round About Six' (1992), and 'Family Tree' (1994).

A series of diaries and scrap books (c 1929-1994) also document the entirety of Webb's career.

Webb's working library, included in the original accession, has been catalogued separately.

Administrative / Biographical History

Created by Kaye Webb during the course of her working career.

Access Information

Accessible to all researchers, by appointment only.

Custodial History

The collection was entered for sale at Sotheby's by Webb's literary estate in 1997, before being acquired by Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Friends of the National Libraries.