E. Thomas Correspondence and Four And Twenty Blackbirds Manuscript
- US TxAM-C 275-1
- 1902-circa 1965
Part of Edward Thomas Papers
1-1: Four-And-Twenty-Blackbirds Original Holograph Manuscript, circa 1965
- A holograph working draft by Helen Thomas (headed, possibly in her hand, at the top "Foreword to 'Four and Twenty Blackbirds' by Helen Thomas" in blue ink), of the foreword to a new edition of her late husband's children's work, beginning: "These stories were written during one of the happiest periods of our lives at Elses Farm on the weald of Kent. Though practically the whole of our married years were spent in rural parts of England, the surroundings and [illegible words] of Else Farm were the most congenial we were to know, and here we were not only in a… lovely part of England… but we lived at the heart of a fairly large, prosperous and well conducted farm…"
- Edward Thomas' children's book (expansions of proverb tales), Four-And-Twenty-Blackbirds, was originally published by Duckworth & Co., in 1915. In 1965, another edition of the book, with the tales rearranged, was published by The Bodley Head. This new edition featured illustrations by Margery Gill and a foreword by Helen Thomas.
1-2: Letter from Clifford Bax to Eleanor Farjeon., April 14, 1917
- Written within days of Edward Thomas' death at the Front: "… Your note has shocked me very profoundly. I had always a powerful impression that Edward would fall in France, but it is very hard to realize that his companionship is gone out of our lives… I am more concerned about Helen than about you, for her I do not know. Perhaps, like Edward, she has no sense of the soul's independence of space and what we call time: and I am afraid lest she may suffer from tormenting regrets that their life was not more harmonious. There is nothing that I can do for her spirit, nor try to do without unwarranted intrusion: but is there anything that I could do for her and for the children of a man whom I held dear? If their financial position adds worry to the great grief of her heart, could we not find a few people with whom I could get together an annual fund? … I hope from my heart that you are able to soar out of the natural sorrow that these mysterious changes bring… I must write a tiny note to Helen. If you do not get it while you are with her, destroy it." In a postscript, Bax writes: "Ah no, we are not froth of a few brief years: and we shall one day know again the sweetness of finding an old friend loved so long ago."
1-3: Four Letters to Frederick Evans No. 79 (Photographer), July 26, 1904
These letters were published in a pamphlet, privately printed for Alan Clodd at the Tragara Press, which was issued upon the centenary of Thomas' birth. Reading in part
- "[July 26, 1904] Very many thanks for the interesting photographs of me and particularly for the one of Nevinson… My own do surprise me - naturally. My wife says they are all good in different ways… though she agrees with me that too much coat accompanies the smallest of the four heads… [E]vidently if I am at all tired, it becomes very obvious indeed in 20 seconds! …"
- "[July 28, 1904] I admire your picture of Ely very much and thank you heartily for it … I do hope you will not quite see all of the faults in the little book…"
- "[December 26, 1907] Many thanks for the beautiful photograph of Beaucaire. I hope I shall see the book when it comes… Do you know the Memoirs? They are full of the warm south, happy, high spirited, genuinely rustic, dignified. I am just off to Minsmere to try to write a book about Jefferies…"
- "[December 30, 1912] The photograph is excellent as before and I look forward to seeing the series which Hooton told me you were doing, or am I imagining that you might well have been doing? …"
Together with a copy of the pamphlet Four Letters to Frederick Evans, which was limited to 150 copies, and in which the following information on Evans is given: "Frederick H. Evans was born in 1852; he was well-known as a bookseller in the City of London and as the discoverer of the work of Aubrey Beardsley; later he achieved fame as a photographer and was made Honorary Member of the Royal Photographic Society. He died in 1943. The frontispiece is one of the portraits made by Evans in 1904 referred to in the first letter."
1-4: Two letters between Edward Thomas to W. B. Parker, March 7, 1902; Undated
- To the publishing house of Houghton Mifflin's representative, W.B. Parker, concerning his rejection of the submission by Thomas: "Many thanks for the gentle muffling blow you have delivered. But you do not say whether the 'Atlantic' would care for 'Isoud with the White Hands' which I suggested might be submitted to the Editor. If Mr. Duckworth has not called… you may safely return my M.S. You would greatly oblige me if you would submit 'Isoud' to the Editor of the Atlantic…" Annotated by Thomas (cross-written diagonally) across the text "in answer to Parker's letter regarding my Horae Solitaire".
- Together with the typed "rejection letter" to which Thomas is replying, which reads in part: "It is with quite unwonted reluctance and regret that I am writing you a letter in what I must admit is the customary key for us - of declination… I cannot do it yet with all the sang froid that would seem appropriate… I had read the papers with so much interest, and some of them with such positive pleasure that I had a strong preference for seeing them made into a book. The collective judgment, however, is against me, and I am obliged to confess that it seems to be sound…"
"Isoud with the White Hands", a previously unpublished essay, first appeared in Thomas' Horae Solitaire, which was issued by Duckworth & Co., of London in 1902. The American edition of this book, issued by E.P. Dutton & Co. of New York, was to become Thomas' first work to be released in America.