Constance Savery: Fair Copy of the Work Diary CWS

Transcribed Fair Copy of the Work Diary

In May of 1973, Savery wrote in her work diary:
I have been making a fair copy of this work diary of mine, with necessary annotations. It is to be sent on completion to the University of Oregon, which has asked for some of my MSS. Have also begun to make MS copies of some biographical articles.

Work Diaries, vol I-IV. A fair copy handwritten, 1973, by the author in five volumes spanning the period from 1913 to 1973. Manuscript collection, Division of Special Collections and University Archives, Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1299.

The original work diary was in a single volume and included information about royalties, earnings, and word-counts that the author did not trouble herself to copy.

The copy was written with black ink in small blue composition books. Footnotes have been added in red ink. The uniform appearance of the pages confirms that this is the fair copy made in 1973. Savery's characteristic handwriting is as clear and legible as print.

Volume I is 1/2-inch thick and lists her publications from July 1913 to 1973. This list was invaluable when I began seeking and reading her shorter works. There are some omissions. Following the list are dated accounts of Savery's activities, very occasionally personal, but generally dealing with her work: stories in preparation, responses from publishers, royalties, and dates of publications. The dates are not always reliable, due in part to bad communications with publishers, especially in wartime. It is not always clear if the date given is the date of submission, the date of acceptance, the date of publication, or the date of payment. Savery did not sit on many manuscripts. When a story was finished, it went into the mail. Volumes II - IV continue the day by day accounts. These three volumes are also 1/2-inch thick, but only 33 pages of Volume IV were used.

Volume V is listed below.

Work Diaries, vol V. A fair copy handwritten by the author in 1973. Manuscript collection, Division of Special Collections and University Archives, Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1299.

Volume V is 1/4-inch thick and contains five articles followed by five poems. For a longer annotation, click on the title.

American Books and an American Child, pp 0-20.

A short article acknowledging Savery's personal debt to American books and authors, it was revised and published as American Books in Britain.

Pleasures and Pains of Authorship, Aug. 7, 1965, pp 21-43.

In its original form, an address for the London Branch of Old Edwardians on May 8, 1959.

Mr. Gaul. Around 1958, pp 44-49. Revised and published, Nov. 3, 1958, as Mr. Gaul's Party. Also revised and published, June 1959, as Mr. Gaul, East Anglian Composer.

Mr. Gaul taught music at Savery's high school and died while she was a student there. Savery was asked to write a piece about him for the school magazine, THE PHŒNIX on Nov. 14, 1958.

Private History of a Napoleonic Chair. 1962, pp 50-54.

Savery's family owned a chair associated with Napoleon, whether he sat in it or not. An uninformed tenant once stripped and recovered it, creating some difficulty restoring its faded appearance.

Curry--But No Jelabees! 1969, pp 55-65.

Savery's mother was born in India, where she lived for five years eating curry--and jelabees, sticky Indian sweets. The essay is a collection of short Indian incidents featuring tigers, a monkey, and a madman, among others.

Abandoned Garden. July 1940, pp 66-68.

These light lines, written for family consumption, describe Savery's failure at growing vegetables to support the war effort. An attempt to have the verses published was unsuccessful.

Yellow Pamments. Jan. 22, 1943, pp 69-70.

This wartime poem is uneven and was never published, but it contains some of the author's best lines. "Pamments" (or pammets, as she spelled it on another occasion) are pavement stones or tiles in Suffolk dialect.

Sonnet -- translated from the French of Vauquelin de la Fresnaye. Aug. 1941, p 71.

These are patriotic lines for the times beginning "Awake, awake, O France!" My annotation of the poem includes the French original.

Remembered Charms -- "An attempt to copy the style of Sir John Betjeman, now [1973] Poet Laureate." Nov. 23, 1954, pp 72-74.

When Savery, aged 97, read this poem into a tape recorder for Agneta Thomson, she added: "Not a very good attempt either!" The poem does evoke the hamlet of Froxfield where Savery lived as a little girl.

Remembered Charms (ii) -- "This time an attempt to copy Wordsworth's style." Nov. 23, 1954, pp 75-76.

The verses flow nicely, but are unexciting.