Dorothy L. Sayers (DLS): correspondence files, 1924-1993
This series contains correspondence relating to 'Great short stories of detection, mystery and horror' edited by Dorothy L. Sayers (publisher: London: V. Gollancz, 1928, 1931, 1934). The correspondence is between Sayers and various authors, agents and publishers whose stories she sought to include in the books. Sayers handled the correspondence for the first two volumes herself, with the assistance of her husband, Major Atherton Fleming, and Winifred Pearce who dealt with some correspondence in the absence of both of the above. However, the correspondence for volume III [MSS.318/3/DLS/704-939] was handled on Miss Sayers' behalf by John D. Millard. Mr Millard had worked for the 'Strand Magazine' and was also a writer, indeed Miss Sayers decided to include one of his stories in volume III. Whereas Miss Sayers had tended to use a more personal tone when writing her letters, Millard's style was usually more business-like and formal. The latter also seemed to prefer to ask agents to obtain the necessary permissions from publishers, rather than writing directly to them himself. Another difference in style between Sayers and Millard included the way in which letters were filed.
The correspondence for the first two volumes was grouped by author. Each author had been allocated a number for volume I and individual items of correspondence were then given an author's number. For volume II the correspondence was mostly unmarked, and it was therefore decided to group the correspondence for volumes I and II together by author for the purpose of listing.
In addition to numbers being allocated for filing the correspondence for volume I, a letter series was also used. These letters were used for correspondence with: Methuen and Co. Ltd, publishers; Victor Gollancz; J.B Pinker and Sons, agents; the 'Strand Magazine' and A.P. Watt and Son, agents. Correspondence with the above named agents and publishers is also to be found amongst the papers relating to individual authors.
As intimated above, the correspondence for volume III was handled differently. Instead of being grouped specifically by author, items were individually numbered, 1,2,3.... etc. This original order was preserved when listing, which means that related correspondence is not always numbered consecutively.
For all 3 volumes extensive cross-referencing was made, to take into account those items of correspondence relating to more than one author.
A further grouping of documents consists of bills and receipts for payment relating to volume I. These had not been allocated any filing number/letter at the time and it was decided to list them together as a group.
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