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Papers of Christopher Isherwood, 1864-1997 (bulk 1925-1985)
CI 1-4085, FAC 1346-1397  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Papers of Christopher Isherwood, 1864-1997 (bulk 1925-1985)
    Dates: 1864-1997
    Collection Number: CI 1-4085, FAC 1346-1397
    Creator/Collector: Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-1986
    Extent: Approximately 3,000 items
    Repository: Huntington Library. Manuscripts Department
    Abstract: Collection contains the correspondence and manuscripts of British-American writer Christopher Isherwood.
    Language of Material: English


    The collection is open to qualified researchers. Several of Isherwood's diaries are closed to all access until January 1, 2030. Other diaries that are open for research are fully cataloged and listed in the finding aid. Expurgated versions of the sealed diaries are being published, with two volumes issued thus far: Isherwood, Christopher, Diaries: Volume I, 1939-1960, edited by Katherine Bucknell (New York: HarperFlamingo, Michael DiCapua Books, 1997); and Isherwood, Christopher, Lost Years: A Memoir, 1945-1951, edited by Katherine Bucknell (New York: HarperCollins, 2000).

    Publication Rights

    Material by W. H. Auden has some restrictions regarding copying and permission to publish. Contact appropriate curator for this information.

    Preferred Citation

    Papers of Christopher Isherwood, 1864-1997 (bulk 1925-1985). Huntington Library. Manuscripts Department

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired as a gift and purchase from Don Bachardy, April 1999. Further material has been acquired from other sources, including two purchases by the Library Collectors' Council. This information is included in the finding aid and on the individual folders.

    Biography/Administrative History

    Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986), British-American author of All the conspirators (1928), The last of Mr. Norris (1935) and Good By to Berlin (1939; reissued as The Berlin stories, 1946), Prater Violet (1945), The world in the evening (1954), Down there on a visit (1962), A single man (1964), Meeting by the river (1967), Kathleen and Frank (1971), and others. A close friend of W.H. Auden, Isherwood collaborated with him on the dramas The dog beneath the skin (1935), The ascent of F6 (1936), and On the frontier (1938), as well as on Journey to a war (1939). From 1928 to 1932, he lived in Germany, and in 1939 emigrated to the United States. Isherwood is known for his advocacy of discarding the taboos against homosexuality.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection includes drafts of most of Isherwood's works, as well as extensive correspondence files containing letters from W.H. Auden, Truman Capote, E.M. Forster, John Lehmann, Stephen Spender, Edward Upward, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and others. There are important series of poems and other literary manuscripts by Auden and Spender. Also included are photographs, ephemera, and audio and videotapes. The correspondence files deal with the literary works of Isherwood and others, male homosexuality, his interest in Hinduism, etc. ǂb Included are correspondence of Isherwood parents, Frank Bradshaw-Isherwood and Kathleen Bradshaw-Isherwood, as well as diaries by Kathleen, containing references to the first Word War. Isherwood's library is housed in the Rare Books Department of The Huntington Library.

    Indexing Terms

    Authors, American - 20th century - Archives
    Authors, English - 20th century - Archives
    British Americans - Archives
    Gay authors - Great Britain - Archives
    Gay authors - United States - Archives
    Hinduism - United States
    Hinduism in literature
    Male homosexuality
    Male homosexuality in literature
    World War, 1914-1918 - Personal narratives, British
    Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973
    Bachardy, Don, 1934-
    Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976
    Bradshaw-Isherwood, Frank
    Bradshaw-Isherwood, Kathleen, 1868-1960
    Capote, Truman, 1924-1984
    Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan), 1879-1970
    Gielgud, John, 1904-2000
    Greene, Graham, 1904-1991
    Harris, Julie
    Heard, Gerald, 1889-1971
    Hockney, David
    Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963
    Huxley, Laura Archera
    Huxley, Maria
    Kirstein, Lincoln, 1907-1996
    Lehmann, John, 1907-
    Maugham, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965
    Plomer, William, 1903-1973
    Prabhavananda, Swami, 1893-1976
    Salinger, J. D. (Jerome David), 1919-
    Smith, Dodie, 1896-
    Spender, Stephen, 1909-1995
    Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971
    Stravinsky, Vera
    Upward, Edward
    Vidal, Gore, 1925-
    Viertel, Berthold
    Wescott, Glenway, 1901-1987
    Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983
    Vedanta Society
    Germany - History - 1918-1933 - Sources
    Great Britain - Intellectual life - 20th century
    United States - Intellectual life - 20th century
    Audio tapes
    Letters (correspondence)
    Manuscripts for publication
    Personal papers

    Additional collection guides