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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitleShaw; George Bernard (1856-1950); author and playwright: Business Papers
Extent22 boxes
Admin Biographical HistoryGeorge Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin in 1856; attended a Weslyan school, but was largely self-educated through visits to the National Gallery of Ireland and wide reading; worked as a cashier, 1872-1876; moved to London in 1876 to join his mother and sister; wrote but failed to publish five novels, 1878-1883; joined and became a leading member of the Fabian Society, 1884, and edited Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889); worked as a book, drama and music critic for the Pall Mall Gazette, 1885-1888, the World (1886-1889), the Star (1888-1890), and the Saturday Review (1895-1898); published The quintessence of Ibsenism, 1891; wrote Widowers' Houses for performance by Independent Theatre, 1892, attacking slum landlords and allying Shaw with a realistic and political movement in the theatre; this was followed by The Philanderer (1893), Mrs Warren's Profession (1893, concerning prostitution and banned until 1902), Arms and the Man (1894), Candida (1897) and You Never Can Tell (1899); obtained first successful production of a play with The Devil's Disciple, New York, 1897; married Charlotte Payne-Townshend, 1898; wrote Captain Brassbound's Conversion for Ellen Terry, 1900; completed Caesar and Cleopatra, 1899, which was produced by Mrs Patrick Campbell in 1901; established as a playwright of international importance, with the completion and performance of Man and Superman (1901-1903), John Bull's Other Island (1904), Major Barbara (1905) and The Doctor's Dilemma (1906), which were produced by Harley Granville-Barker for the Royal Court Theatre; wrote his most popular play, Pygmalion, in 1913 (he later adapted it for the screen, winning an Academy Award in the process); during World War One, made numerous anti-war speeches; his postwar plays include Heartbreak House (1920), Back to Methuselah (1922), and St Joan (1923); won the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1925, but refused the award; established the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation for the translation of Swedish literature into English; wrote extensively on social, economic and political issues, notably The intelligent women's guide to socialism and capitalism (1928), and Everybody's political what's what (1944); his later plays, produced at the Malvern Festivals, included The Apple Cart (1929), Too True to be Good (1932) and Geneva (1939); retired, 1943; left residue of his estate to institute a British alphabet of at least 40 letters; died 1950.
Custodial HistoryGeorge Bernard Shaw bequeathed his literary and personal papers to the British Museum (now Department of Manuscripts, British Library), but he left his "Old Diaries, account books, Bank pass books, paid cheques and their counterfoils, expired agreements, box office returns and other records of my business operations" to the Library at LSE, intending them to be used by "economic or legal historians or by biographers seeking documentary evidence as to prices and practices during the period covered by my lifetime".
The collection was transferred from the British Museum to the British Library of Political and Economic Science in 1973.
DescriptionBusiness papers of George Bernard Shaw, 1872-1950, mainly comprising correspondence, royalty details, contracts, copyright notices and other financial material, including:

Papers relating to the performance of Shaw's plays in the UK and abroad by professional and amateur companies, 1896-1950 [SHAW/1];
Material concerning Shaw's dealings with literary agents, publishers, translators and various regulatory bodies, 1899-1950 [SHAW/2];
Printed blank contracts regulating the production and performance of Shaw's work in the UK and abroad, 1900-[1950] [SHAW/3];
Correspondence, contracts, statements of royalties and other papers relating to the translation, publication and performance of Shaw's plays in countries other than the UK, 1907-1950 [SHAW/4] including Tauchnitz and Albatross, publishers [SHAW/8a];
Correspondence and bills of Messrs Leighton-Straker, bookbinders, 1911-1949, [SHAW/5] and Messrs R & R Clarke, printers, 1908-1949, including details of texts, numbers ordered and cost per unit [SHAW/6];
Papers relating to dealings with Constable and Company Ltd, publishers, [1919]-1950 [SHAW/7];
Material relating to dealings with Messrs Brentano, US publishers, 1889-1946, notably royalty statements, accounts of sales, copyright agreements, and other material related to the publication of Shaw's plays and literary works in the USA [SHAW/8];
Correspondence between Shaw and Paul Reynolds, his literary agent in the USA, 1907-1922, including details of payments made to Shaw for various articles, the serialisation of his plays in magazines, and copyright details [SHAW/9];
Correspondence and papers concerning Shaw's dealings with literary agents in other European countries, [1903-1949], notably relating to the translation, publication and performance of his works [SHAW/10];
Papers relating to litigation about copyright in the USA, 1927-1950 [SHAW/11], and material relating to legal actions brought by Shaw against various unauthorised central European productions and publications, 1906-1910 [SHAW/12];
Correspondence relating to the adaptation and filming of Shaw's plays, 1913-[1950] [SHAW/13], including material concerning the development of the British and Irish film industries and the funding, marketing and distribution of films [SHAW/13];
Correspondence concerning broadcasting rights, 1949-1950, mainly of Shaw's talks and adaptations of his plays [SHAW/14];
Papers relating to the translation of Shaw's works, 1904-1949, into Russian, Czech, French, German and Polish by translators including Sobieniowksi, Mubek, and Hamon [SHAW/15 and SHAW/16];
Correspondence, receipts and contracts relating to Shaw's personal finances, 1872-1950, including details of his insurance policies and investments, property, income tax in the UK and USA [SHAW/17 - SHAW/19 and SHAW/21], bank statements, royalty payments, and the disposal of the estate of Charlotte Shaw [SHAW/20];
Papers relating to property owned by Shaw in Ireland and at Shaw's Corner, 1920-1949 [SHAW/22];
Material concerning dealings with J. N. Mason and Co, solicitors, 1891-1948, including the post-nuptial agreement made between Shaw and his wife [SHAW/23];
Bills and letters relating to the purchase and hire of motor cars, 1900-1950 [SHAW/24];
Engagement diaries and books, 1877-1950 [SHAW/26];
Personal and domestic bills and receipts, 1872-1950, including hotel bills collected by Shaw during tours of the UK and Europe [SHAW/22, SHAW/25, SHAW/27 and SHAW/30];
Notebooks and ledgers containing records of royalty payments, 1898-1950 [SHAW/28 and SHAW/29];
Copies of letters from Charlotte Shaw, 1899-1936, including letters to Alys Russell and Blanche Patch, with photographs of Charlotte's family and friends [SHAW/31];
Material given to the Library by users of the Shaw papers, 1961-1970, notably copies of The California Shavian, 1961-1962, and Catalogue of the Shaw Exhibition by D.H Lawrence [SHAW/32].
Publication Note'Bernard Shaw: the Diaries 1885-1897', ed Stanley Weintraub, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park and London 1986.
Related MaterialSee also Shaw Diaries (SHAW DIARIES, alt. ref. SR 0293), Coll Miscs 360 and 1198 and Shaw Photographs
Access StatusOpen
Copyright TypeOther
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