[Hannen Swaffer and Walter Macqueen-Pope.] Collection relating to an abortive collaborative attempt at a 'biography' of Swaffer for Odhams Press, with drafts of chapters (with anecdotes on Churchill, H. G. Wells, Lloyd George) and original letters.
In very good condition, on aged paper, in a brown card folder. The material in this collection relates to a book that was never published, and included here are copies of two typed letters from WMP to HS, casting light on the nature of this doomed collaborative project. In WMP's first letter, dated 26 July 1955, he writes to 'Dear Swaff' to 'finalise the manner in which your book is to be written'. Presaging future problems he urges him: 'I do entreat you to remember the fact that a book is different to a series of paragraphs. It must have cohesion. [...] I don't mind at all whether my name appears or not. That is really of no consequence to me. But I want to see YOU set forth properly and clearly, frankly and concisely, so that your full genius can be appreciated. | If you would rather make it a species of autobiography with successions of stories linked by comments by me, I do not mind at all - so long as we understand the method to be used. But those stories must be properly placed.' He concludes by urging HS to 'Think all this over - and when once we can agree on a workable form, we shall get a book of which we can both be proud.' The second letter (also 2pp., 4to) is undated, but clearly indicates that the project has hit the buffers: '[...] it was always my intention that you should speak for yourself on the subject of Northcliffe and also Beaverbrook [...] If the Northcliffe story goes in as you have given it to me [...] the whole structure of the book falls to the ground. I don't suppose you have read what I have already written, or you would have noticed this. [...] So far as I can see you want me simply to compile stories and perhaps occasionally comment thereon. I don't know if I can do that. I shall have to consider it. I am not one for blowing my own trumpet and I am never obstructive, but I happen to have a small reputation of my own as an author - I have written fourteen books which have all been successful save one [...] I really do know something of how successful books should be constructed. [...] It is a very different thing to writing articles [...]'. (An indication of WMP's method is given by Item Seventeen below, where he writes: 'Tell Popie to describe how I used to hide at the back of the theatre. Hated being so much the object of attention. It was terrible. I loathed it. I don't like being pointed out. You miss it, though, when you are not signing autographs. Bloody nonsense. But if everyone stopped . . .') The more substantial items in the collection number as follows: ONE: Untitled typescript [by HS], largely devoted to Winston Churchill. 14pp., 4to. HS's authorship is made clear on p.8, where typed references to 'I' are amended in pencil to 'Swaffer' and 'he'. The chapter discusses: an occasion on which 'Winston invited Swaffer to join his luncheon table, at which his son Randolph and Professor Lindeman, afterwards Lord Cherwell, were among the party' ('"Ah, when I was a Liberal," replied Winston, "we used to do things. We were not like you Socialists."'); Churchill's meeting with Eddie Cantor; HS's meeting with Churchill and Lloyd George in Marrakesh in 1935; and the results an anti-Churchill's speech by HS at the General Election of 1945. At a meeting 'in the Pinafore Room at the Savoy, at which a successor to Churchill was to be demanded', H. G. Wells, 'seated in a corner, created a sensation when he walked over to the table beside which Swaffer had a chair. [...] "How dare you talk about racial quality or inequality?" demanded Wells. "The only two Englishmen in this room are Swaffer and myself. We both come from Kent. The rest of you are a lot of bastards."' HS encounters Lloyd George while he is writing the 'terrible chapter' of his war memoirs, 'in which he indicted Kitchener and Haig': '"They cannot deny one word I have said," began L.G., reading from the chapter. "I am an old solicitor and so I always keep the documents, and as I am the only man who was a Cabinet Minister all through the war, I am the only one with all the documents. Asquith has some and the Foreign Permiers have some; but I have the lot. Do you know we cannot have another war? As Clemenceau once said to me, "War is too serious a business to be trusted to soldiers." When a war breaks out, you have to create gods for the public to worship. Afterwards when you discover they have feet of clay, you cannot destroy the gods of your own creation because the public are still worshipping them."' TWO: 'The Swaffer Legend | by W. Macqueen-Pope. | Author's Explanation.' Typescript [by WMP]. 21pp., 4to. With a few emendations. It begins: 'Frederick Hannen Swaffer - more commonly known as Hannen Swaffer - and more commonly known still as Swaff - decided that this book, which is perhaps not a Biography but some account of that very remarkable personage which is himself - should be called "The Swaffer Legend". I had wanted another title but I defer to his wishes. We are very old friends and I think we understand each other.' THREE: 'Chapter [blank] | The Dramatic Critic'. Typescript [by WMP]. 15pp., 4to. With emendations. Ending with anecdote about Paul Robeson, 'a man whom he admired as an artiste and as a representative of his race and colour [...] Swaffer has no colour bar.' FOUR: 'Grant Morden and the People Strike'. Typescript [by HS]. 11pp., 4to. Paginated 1-17, but lacking 3-8. Begins: 'Hannen Swaffer was perhaps the worst Tory editor that London has ever known.' FIVE: 'Drunks.' Typescript [by HS]. 7pp., 4to. Beneath title: 'H. S. suggests that you put a line on the top of each chapter, in italics. "The legend is also that of a drunk . . .".' Begins: 'This sort of thing continued. Going into an Albert de Courville first night at the Palace, having had a lot of drink, he accused Archie de Bear, who was the Press Manager, and whom he had never met before, of dodging the Army.' SIX: 'Pemberton-Billing'. Typescript [by HS]. 9pp., 4to. Begins: 'The most remarkable story that Swaffer has never himself printed is the account of the extraordinary happenings behind the Pemberton-Billing case which some said at the time "nearly stopped the War."' SEVEN: Untitled typescript [by Maurice Barbanell (1902-1981), editor of 'Two Worlds'] on 'the Spiritualist side of Swaff's life'. 17pp., 4to; consisting of fifteen paginated pages on yellow paper, with two unpaginated pages of white paper loosely inserted after p.7. Begins: 'So far as Spiritualism is concerned Swaff is a living paradox. By virtue of the fact that he is the Honorary President of the Spiritualists' National Union - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is its "spirit" President - Swaff is the head of an organization which has five hundred churches.' EIGHT: Part of typescript [by HS]. 6pp., 4to; paginated 16-21. Begins: 'He called on Mrs Janis, the most famous theatrical "mother" of all time, indeed the founder of that race.' NINE: Typescript in red [by HS]. 3pp., 4to. Begins: 'Swaff first came to the Gallery First Nighters' Club about the year 1908. In those days the cream of speakers and debaters interested in matters Theatrical regularly visited the Club to join in the talks and idscussions which were a feature.' TEN: Typescript. 1p., 4to. Anecdote regarding Lloyd George. ELEVEN: 'Swaffer Stories' [list of themes]. Typescript [by WMP]. 3pp., 4to. Including headings 'Northcliffe', 'Daily Mirror', 'Names of people who worked for him and became famous'. Last entry: 'The Captain who used to work for Bairnsfather - who messed up The Daily Mirror Sancastle [sic] competition - and when you went to Monte Carlo with him - just as you stood.' TWELVE: Typescript [by WMP]. 1p., 4to. With manuscript additions. Progress report beginning: 'Book now up to Northcliffe - as ending an epoch.' THIRTEEN and FOURTEEN: Typed Letters Signed to WMP from C. L. Shard (9 March 1955) and J. Canning (9 September 1955) of Odhams Press Ltd. Shard hopes that 'our association will not be confined to the Swaffer book', for which he is sending 'the contract in its final form, including the amendments, to Rubens'. FIFTEEN and SIXTEEN: Copies of Typed Letters from WMP to 'Kate' [at Odhams], 9 and 21 November 1955, reporting on progress. SEVENTEEN and EIGHTEEN: Undated Typed Notes [from HS]. Both 1p., 4to. Item Seventeen quoted above. Item Eighteen note headed 'Crusades', and beginning 'Tell Popie he'd better say that the first one he remembers was the Pit Ponies.' NINETEEN: Covering letter to Item Seven from Barbanell (1p., landscape 8vo), on letterhead of 'Two Worlds', 15 July 1955. With a small collection of miscellaneous related material, including rough notes in pencil and ink; three letters to WMP (one from 'Lesley' and another from 'Arnold'); a menu/programme for a 'Variety Club Luncheon to honour The Doyen of International Journalists Hannen Swaffer' (19 March 1953), illustrated with photographs of HS; and six newspaper cuttings relating to HS.