We are delighted to have received two books from authors who used Special Collections for their research.

Andrea Hetherington undertook research in the Liddle Collection for her book, British Widows of the First World War: the Forgotten Legion (2018). Personal letters and official correspondence from the collection reveal the emotional trauma of losing a loved one during wartime, a loss sometimes confirmed only after months of anxiety.  Sarah Annie Blackburn’s husband, Ernest, died in action on the Western Front in September 1916.  She was left a widow.  Their baby, Stanley, was fatherless at only a year old.

Documents in the Liddle Collection also show the practical consequences of widowhood and the difficulties of bringing up children alone. Often faced with poverty and economic hardship, Hetherington notes that widows sought survival in various guises including work, spiritualism, and even emigration.

The Man who Drew Flashman (2017) by Lawrence Blackmore explores the work of Arthur Barbosa (1908-1995). Barbosa, who was born in Liverpool, designed theatre scenery as well as advertisements, but is best known for his dust-jacket designs for Georgette Heyer’s fiction and the Flashman series of books written by George MacDonald Fraser. In 1937 he contributed two covers and several illustrations to Night and Day, a magazine edited by Graham Greene and John Marks. The magazine ran for just 6 months and Special Collections holds all 26 issues as part of the Elliott Collection.

We’ve also added to our Evelyn Waugh Collection with a letter dated 25th December 1946 written by Evelyn Waugh to Jean Dauven the French translator of his novel ‘Vile Bodies’.  The letter complements the manuscript of ‘Vile Bodies’ in our collection.  This is one of Special Collections’ treasures being the only original manuscript of an Waugh novel to remain in the UK.

Waugh’s letter concerns some of the difficulties of translating in-jokes and idioms in the novel.  For example, Waugh writes that he chose ‘chubb fuddler as a comic trade.  Any French equivalent would serve in the translation. The fuddler is the man who makes it his life’s work to intoxicate fish so that, when it is necessary to drain the fish pond, they can be moved without injury’

Waugh also gives a potted autobiography in the letter describing his education, career and family life.