... the personal archive of P.G. Wodehouse has come to the British Library on loan and is to be made publicly available for the first time.
P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) was a prolific writer and is one of the
most widely read humourists of the twentieth century. Publishing over
ninety books in his lifetime, he is best known as the author of the
well-loved series of novels featuring Jeeves and Wooster. He also forged
a successful career as an acclaimed lyricist, satirist and social
The archive spans material dating from 1900-2005 and includes
manuscript drafts and notebooks relating to Wodehouse’s fiction and
essays, among them Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, the last novel in the Jeeves and Wooster books, and his final published novel, Sunset at Blandings.
The archive also contains material relating to his writing for
theatre, film and cinema. While in America Wodehouse wrote the lyrics
for a number of American musicals in collaboration with composer Jerome
Kern and Guy Bolton, playwright and librettist. The collaborators were
very successful and at one point had five shows running simultaneously
on Broadway. Wodehouse also worked in Hollywood where he was one of the
script writers of Those Three French Girls. The screenplay for this is also part of the archive.
Wodehouse’s correspondence reveals his conversations with family,
friends, authors and fellow artists. These include letters from Evelyn
Waugh - who described Wodehouse as his ‘revered master’ - and from the
American lyricist Ira Gershwin. One of his letters to his wife, written
while he was under arrest in France, has a rather interesting story.
The letter did not reach Mrs Wodehouse until it was rediscovered in a
house in Frimley in the summer of 1977, and sent to her by Peter May,
whose neighbour had discovered the letter when sorting through her late
The archive also includes the handwritten manuscript of Wodehouse’s
‘Camp Diary’. Having been interned by the German Army in various
temporary prison camps Wodehouse eventually arrived in a converted
asylum at Tost, in Upper Silesia. During this time he kept a diary,
which he turned into a series of talks with which he entertained his
fellow detainees. With typical dry humour, these talks reflected the
traditional code of honour of the detainees, their practice of making
light of their discomforts and remaining stoic, and showed how they did
their best to lift their spirits when faced with challenging and