University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

James Laver:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Laver, James, 1899-1975
Title: James Laver Collection
Dates: 1921-1967, undated
Abstract: Includes primarily manuscripts for works by James Laver, an English author, art historian, and museum curator who was widely known as an expert on costume and fashion history.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-2397
Extent: 7 document boxes (2.94 linear feet), 1 galley folder (gf)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center



Open for research. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days' notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:

Administrative Information


Purchases, 1964, 1967 (R2039, R3699)

Processed by:

Joan Sibley and Jamie Hawkins-Kirkham, 2012


This finding aid replicates some information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.


  • Box 1: 059188000065996
  • Box 2: 059188000066004
  • Box 3: 059188000066015
  • Box 4: 059188000066026
  • Box 5: 059188000066037
  • Box 6: 059188000066048
  • Box 7: 059188000066059

Container List


1.1 Unidentified fragment, handwritten manuscript, 5 pages, undated. Autobiographical
The actress, signed handwritten manuscript, 13 pages, undated.
Autocriticism of ladies’ mistakes, signed handwritten manuscript with revisions, 4 pages, undated.
The awakening, handwritten manuscript, 4 pages, undated.
1.2 Axel by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, abridged and newly translated by James Laver, handwritten manuscript with emendations and typed and carbon copy typescript inserts, 28 pages; mimeo / radio script, 40 pages; 27 May 1951.
1.3-4 Background for Venus, handwritten manuscript with revisions, 306 pages, 1934. Original title: The connoisseurs.
1.1 Blackpool, signed handwritten manuscript / incomplete with typed insert, 17 pages, undated. Lacking pages 12-16.
Césarine, signed handwritten manuscript, 7 pages, undated.
Costume in Shakespeare’s plays, typescript with editorial markings, 13 pages, circa 1963. Extract from Costume in the theatre, probably used for magazine article.
Costume in the theatre:
1.5-6 Handwritten manuscript with revisions, 158 pages, 1963.
1.7-8 Typescript with handwritten emendations, printer’s marks and make-up pages, 183 pages, 1963. Included with this: 6 TLS to Laver concerning this.
2.1 Carbon copy typescript, 190 pages, 1963.
gf 1 Galley proofs / incomplete, 31 sheets, 1963.
Galley proofs / incomplete, 29 sheets, 1963.
2.2 Did it happen? Weapons of war, signed handwritten manuscript, 4 pages; signed handwritten manuscript / synopsis, 1 page; carbon typescript, 5 pages, carbon typescript / synopsis, 1 page; 1957. Included with these: TLS typist to Laver; TLS Pearn, Pollinger and Higham, Limited to Laver.
1.1 The enthusiast, handwritten manuscript, 5 pages, undated.
The escape of Henri Rochefort, typescript with handwritten emendations, 10 pages, undated.
2.3-4 The first decadent, handwritten manuscript with revisions and typed inserts, 289 pages, undated.
1.1 Flat matches, signed handwritten manuscript, 14 pages, undated.
The illusions of Madame, handwritten manuscript, 3 pages, undated.
2.5 The influence of John Wesley on English life, typescript, 67 pages, 1921. Unpublished.
2.6 John Newton and the early Methodists, typescript, 82 pages, 1921. Unpublished.
2.7 The laburnum tree, signed handwritten manuscript with revisions, 12 pages, undated.
A letter to a girl on the future of clothes, signed handwritten manuscript with revisions, 24 pages, 1945. Included with this: TLS Home and Van Thal to Laver.
The love potion, signed handwritten manuscript with revisions, 4 pages, undated.
Lunch at the Brown Derby, signed handwritten manuscript, 10 pages, undated.
A man of honour, carbon typescript, 6 pages, undated.
2.8-3.2 Manners and morals in the age of optimism, composite handwritten and typed manuscript with handwritten revisions, 534 pages, undated.
3.3-4 Manners and morals in the age of optimism, handwritten, typed, and carbon copy manuscript / discarded pages, 415 pages, undated.
2.7 Mars and Venus, handwritten manuscript / incomplete with revisions, 14 pages, undated.
3.5-4.1 Modesty in dress, signed composite handwritten, typed and carbon copy manuscript with handwritten revisions and printed paste-ins, 260 pages, circa 1967.
Museum piece, or the education of an iconographer:
4.2-3 Handwritten manuscript with revisions and typed inserts, 261 pages, circa 1963.
4.4-5 Typescript with handwritten revisions and inserts, 366 pages, 1963.
5.1-3 Typed and carbon copy typescript, 344 pages; carbon typescript, 346 pages; 1963.
5.4 Page proofs, 256 sheets, 1963.
5.5 Nocturne at Chelsea, handwritten manuscript with emendations, 21 pages; mimeo / radio script, 16 pages, 10 May 1939.
5.6-6.1 Nostradamus, or the future foretold, handwritten manuscript with revisions and typed inserts, 298 pages, 1941.
6.2-3 Nostradamus, or the future foretold, typescript, 347 pages, 1941.
6.4 Nymph errant, handwritten manuscript with revisions, 316 pages, undated.
6.5-6 One man, handwritten manuscript with revisions and typed inserts, 284 pages, 1924. Unpublished.
7.1 Panic among puritans, handwritten manuscript with revisions, 242 pages, undated. Included with this: notes and outlines for plot development.
7.2-3 Portraits in vinegar and oil, handwritten manuscript with revisions, 150 pages, 1925. Included with this: advertising form.
7.4 Preface to new edition of works of Charles Churchill, handwritten manuscript with revisions and typed insert, 61 pages, undated. Included with this: prefatory note, handwritten manuscript, 12 pages.
7.5 Quatz-Arts, signed handwritten manuscript, 11 pages, undated.
The queen of the Mediterranean, signed handwritten manuscript, 21 pages, undated.
7.6 Raffles, A. B., signed handwritten manuscript, 5 pages; typescript, 7 pages; carbon copy typescript, 7 pages; 1946. Included with these: TLS Pearn, Pollinger and Higham, Limited to Laver about this story.
7.5 The rival magicians, carbon typescript, 8 pages, undated.
Six months ago, signed handwritten manuscript, 5 pages, undated.
The snow has melted, signed handwritten manuscript with emendations, 13 pages, undated.
7.7 Some impressions of Aleister Crowley, signed handwritten manuscript with revisions, 9 pages; carbon typescript, 12 pages; 1950. Included with these 4 TLS Rider and Company to Laver re this article.
7.5 Somebody calls, carbon typescript, 6 pages; galley proofs, 2 sheets; undated.
7.8 The substitute, signed handwritten manuscript, 7 pages; carbon copy typescript, 7 pages; undated. Variant versions.
7.5 Very curious, signed handwritten manuscript, 6 pages, undated.
7.9-10 Victoriana, handwritten and typed carbon copy manuscript with handwritten revisions, 62 pages; carbon typescript, 74 pages; galley proofs, 19 sheets; undated. Included with this: handwritten manuscript, 2 carbon typescripts (variant versions) of Christmas cards; typescript of music titles.
7.5 The way out, handwritten manuscript, 3 pages, undated.
7.11 Wesley, handwritten manuscript with revisions, 132 pages, circa 1932.


7.12 British Broadcasting Corporation. TLS to Laver, 22 March 1951.
Campbell, Beatrice Stella Tanner, 1865-1940. 2 TLS to Laver, 19 November and 7 December 1938.
Cape, Jonathan, 1879-1960. 3 TLS to Laver, 1938.
Deutsch (Andre) Limited. 4 TLS to Laver, 1962.
Pearn, Pollinger and Higham, Limited. TLS to Laver, 19 April 1951.
Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1902- . TLS to Laver, 18 July 1944. Removed from AC-L L388tas 1943 a.

Explanatory Note Concerning Manuscript Collections Cataloged in the Card Catalog

Prior to 1990 when archival cataloging procedures were adopted at the Ransom Center, all manuscript collections were described in a card catalog.

Organization of Collections:

Manuscripts for each author collection were organized into four categories:

  • Works: manuscripts by the author, arranged alphabetically by title;
  • Letters: the author’s outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by recipient name;
  • Recipient: the author’s incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically by the author of the letter; and
  • Miscellaneous: all other manuscripts and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by creator.

Materials that did not fit into these categories, such as art, photographs, books, and near-print materials such as newspaper clippings, were dispersed to other Ransom Center collections for cataloging and storage.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions:

The symbols below were used in combinations. For example ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.

  • A = autograph (i.e., handwritten)
  • T = typed
  • S = signed
  • I = initialed
  • Ms = manuscript
  • Mss = manuscripts
  • L = letter
  • FL = form letter
  • N = note
  • D = document
  • C = card
  • PC = post card
  • cc = carbon copy
  • p = page
  • pp = pages
  • l = leaf
  • ll = leaves
  • nd = no date
  • inc d = incomplete date