University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

A. A. (Alan Alexander) Milne:

An Inventory of His Collection in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center



Creator: Milne, A. A. (Alan Alexander), 1882-1956
Title: A. A. (Alan Alexander) Milne Collection
Dates: 1886-1961, undated (bulk circa 1920-1952)
Abstract: The A. A. Milne Collection consists of manuscript drafts and fragments for over 150 of Milne’s works, as well as correspondence, legal documents, and genealogical records.
Extent: 6 document boxes, 1 oversize folder (2.31 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Biographical Sketch

Alan Alexander Milne was born on January 18, 1882, in London, England, to John Vine Milne, the headmaster of Henley House School, and Sarah Maria Heginbotham Milne. Known best for his children’s stories, Milne was also a prolific essayist, playwright, and mystery writer.

As a child, Milne attended his father’s school, where H. G. Wells was one of his instructors. Beginning at age eleven, Milne attended Westminster School and later entered Trinity College, Cambridge University, where he graduated with honors in 1903 with a B. A. in mathematics.

Milne began his writing career as an assistant editor and contributor to the humor magazine Punch. His early essays often dealt with humorous twists to everyday situations, such as a bumbling man attempting to use an exercise machine. In 1913, Milne married Dorothy de Sélincourt, known as Daphne, and in 1914, joined the British Army at the onset of World War I.

While in the army, Milne wrote plays for his fellow soldiers and following his discharge in 1918, he endeavored to become a professional playwright. Success did not take long and he gained both critical acclaim and financial security with his 1919 play Mr. Pim Passes By. The following year, Milne’s only child, Christopher Robin Milne, was born.

In 1922, Milne wrote his first mystery novel, The Red House Mystery, in which he used his stated strategy for success: use everyday language, make the detective an amateur, include a “Dr. Watson” so that the reader can know what the protagonist is thinking, and minimize romantic interest. Of previous mystery novels, Milne said, “I had read most of those which had been written, admired their ingenuity, but didn’t like their English.... I wondered if I could write a detective story about real people in real English. I thought it would be ‘fun to try,’ my only reason for writing anything.”

Milne’s next genre became his most memorable: children’s literature. When We Were Very Young, a collection of poems for children, was published in 1924, and included for the first time one of Milne’s most famous characters, Christopher Robin, named after his son. This was followed by a collection of poetry, Now We Are Six (1927), and two books about his son’s stuffed toys, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).

The Pooh books and his collections of children’s poetry soon became Milne’s most popular works, but Milne came to resent his success as a children’s author, wondering in 1928 how he found success in writing “four children’s books, containing altogether 70,000 words--the number of words in the average-length novel.”

Milne’s later works include an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows titled Toad of Toad Hall (1930), and essays on war and pacifism. In his book Peace with Honour (1934), Milne wrote that Europe’s problems could be solved by politicians realizing the absurdity of war. But, with the outbreak of World War II, Milne renounced his previous position, publishing War with Honour (1940) and War Aims Unlimited (1941).

Year In, Year Out (1952), a collection of essays ranging in tone and topic from philosophical to whimsical, was Milne’s final published work. In 1952 he suffered a stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed. He died on January 31, 1956, at his home in Sussex.


Scope and Contents

The A. A. Milne Collection consists of manuscript drafts and fragments for over 150 of Milne’s works as well as correspondence, legal documents, and genealogical records. The collection is arranged into two series: I. Works, circa 1920-1946, undated (4 boxes); and II. Correspondence and Other Materials, 1886-1961, undated (1 box, 1 oversize folder). The collection was previously accessible through a card catalog but has been recataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.

Series I. Works makes up the majority of the collection and contains handwritten fragments, incomplete drafts, and complete drafts of numerous Milne plays, stories, and books, both published and unpublished. The materials are arranged alphabetically by title and have been listed individually in an Index of Works in this guide. Included are materials for The House at Pooh Corner, The Red House Mystery, and Mr. Pim. Several notebooks containing drafts of It’s Too Late Now: The Autobiography of a Writer (1939) have been restricted due to their fragile condition. Digital copies of these notebooks are available in the Ransom Center for patron access. Three original drawings by Winnie-the-Pooh illustrator Ernest H. Shepard have been transferred to the Ransom Center Art Collection.

The Correspondence and Other Materials series contains correspondence arranged as incoming, outgoing, and third-party. Incoming correspondence contains only one letter. Outgoing correspondence is in alphabetical order by last name of recipient. The majority of the third-party correspondence is either to or from Milne’s wife, Dorothy “Daphne” Milne, and is in alphabetical order by last name of sender. Also in the series are publishing contracts for Milne’s works Four Days Wonder and Two People and a marketing agreement for characters from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. A chart of Milne’s family tree is also present in this series.


Restrictions

Access:

Open for research.

Several notebooks containing drafts of It’s Too Late Now: The Autobiography of a Writer (1939) have been restricted due to their fragile condition. Digital copies of these notebooks are available in the Ransom Center for patron access.


Index Terms

Subjects
Authors, English--20th century.
Children’s Literature, English.
English drama--20th century.
English fiction--20th century.

Related Material

Additional A. A. Milne material is housed in the Ransom Center Personal Effects, Book, Art, and Vertical Files collections. Milne materials are also located in the following Ransom Center collections: Terence Armstrong, Rupert Croft-Cooke, St. John Ervine, Marie Lowndes, Compton McKenzie, Christopher Robin Milne, Christopher Morley, John Murry, PEN, Grant Richards, Ernest H. Shepard, Leonard Strong, Ann Thwaite, Henry Tomlinson, Sir Hugh Walpole, and Geoffrey Wells.

Other A. A. Milne manuscript material is located at Trinity College, Cambridge University.


Separated Material

Three original drawings by Winnie-the-Pooh illustrator Ernest H. Shepard have been transferred to the Ransom Center Art Collection.


Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Purchase, 1964 (R1364), and earlier acquisitions

Processed by:

Katy Hill, 2008


Sources:

“A. A. Milne.” Contemporary Authors Online, http://galenet.galegroup.com (accessed 7 July 2008).

“A. A. Milne.” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale, 1982.

“A. A. Milne.” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 160. Detroit: Gale, 1996.

“Christopher (Robin) Milne.” Contemporary Authors Online, http://galenet.galegroup.com (accessed 7 July 2008).


Container List

 

Series I. Works, circa 1920-1946, undated

Container
1.1 Unidentified-A, 1929, undated
Container
1.2 Ariadne, or Business First: A Comedy in Three Acts (1925), undated
Container
1.3 B-Be, undated
Container
1.4 Bf-Bz, undated
Container
1.5 C, undated
Container
1.6 C. O. D., undated
Container
1.7-8 Chloe Marr (1946), undated
Container
2.1 D-F, undated
Container
2.2 G-H, undated
Container
2.3 Gentleman Unknown (1938), undated
Container
2.4 The Great Broxopp (Four Chapters in His Life): A Comedy (1921), undated
Container
2.5 H for Helena: A Midsummer Night’s Folly in Three Acts, undated
Container
2.6 I-J, undated
Container
2.7* It’s Too Late Now: The Autobiography of a Writer (1939), undated (*some materials restricted due to fragile condition; digital copies available for patron access)
Container
2.8 K-Ma, 1929, undated
Container
2.9 The Lucky One: A Play in Three Acts (1922), undated
Container
3.1 Mi-Mz, undated
Container
3.2 Miss Elizabeth Bennet (1936), 1936
Container
3.3 Mr. Pim (1921), undated
Container
3.4 N-O, undated
Container
3.5 P, undated
Container
3.6 Penny Royal: A Comedy in Three Acts, undated
Container
3.7 R, undated
Container
3.8 The Red House Mystery (1922), undated
Container
3.9 The Romantic Age (1920), undated
Container
4.1 S, undated
Container
4.2 Success: A Play in Three Acts (1923), undated
Container
4.3 T, undated
Container
4.4 They Don’t Mean Any Harm: A Play in Three Acts (1932), undated
Container
4.5 Toad of Toad Hall (adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, 1930), undated
Container
4.6 The Truth about Blayds (1921), undated
Container
4.7 Two People (1931), undated
Container
4.8 U-Z, undated



 

Series II. Correspondence and Other Materials, 1886-1961, undated

Correspondence
Incoming
Container
5.1 The Weald Electricity Supply Company, 1938
Outgoing
Container
5.2 Burke, Thomas, 1927
Curtis Brown, Ltd., circa 1924-1925
Gomme, Bernard (?), 1919
Lister, Francis, 1929
Lucas, Edward Verrall, 1926-1949
Massingham, Henry William, 1919
Milne, Ken, circa 1916-1928
Milne, Sarah Maria “Mama,” 1886-1890
Robertson, Eric S. (Eric Sutherland), undated
Third-party
Container
5.3 Curtis Brown, Ltd. to Dorothy “Daphne” Milne, 1955-1959
Lane, Lupino to John Mcrea, 1924
Milne, Dorothy “Daphne” to Harry Huntt Ransom, 1961
Container
5.4* Legal agreements and genealogical document, 1930-1942, undated (*oversize materials removed to oversize folder)
Container
6 Fragile materials removed from folder 2.7 - not to be paged without curatorial permission



 Index of Works 

  • A. V. and R. V. -- 1.1
  • Anne-Marie -- 1.1
  • Ariadne, or Business First: A Comedy in Three Acts -- 1.2
  • The Art of Saying Thank-You -- 1.1
  • The Artist: A Duologue -- 1.1
  • The Ascent of Man -- 1.1
  • The Author to His Reader -- 1.1
  • The Baby Show -- 1.3
  • Barbara’s Birthday -- 1.3
  • Before the Flood: A Play in One Act -- 1.3
  • Behind the Lines: 1. Pacts Germanica -- 1.3
  • Behind the Lines: Reflections -- 1.3
  • Behind the Lines: 7. Song for a Soldier -- 1.3
  • Behind the Lines: 16. Adolf Hitler -- 1.3
  • Belinda: A Comedy in Three Acts -- 1.3
  • Berlud Unlimited -- 1.3
  • Binker -- 1.4
  • Birthday Party -- 1.4
  • The Bottle -- 1.4
  • The Boy Comes Home: A Comedy in One Act -- 1.4
  • Bread Upon Waters -- 1.4
  • Breitenstein -- 1.4
  • Broadmoor or Westminster Abbey? -- 1.4
  • Busy -- 1.4
  • C. O. D. --1.6
  • Call Me Sally -- 1.5
  • The Camberley Triangle: A Comedy in One Act -- 1.5
  • Castles by the Sea -- 1.5
  • Certain Financial Matters -- 1.5
  • Chapters of Autobiography -- 1.5
  • The Charcoal Burner -- 1.5
  • Cherry Stones -- 1.5
  • Children’s Books -- 1.5
  • Chloe Marr -- 1.7-8
  • Christmas Party -- 1.5
  • A Clump of Silver Birches -- 1.5
  • Cradle Song -- 1.5
  • A Creed for a Crisis -- 1.5
  • Dear Old George -- 2.1
  • December -- 2.1
  • Down by the Pond -- 2.1
  • The Dream Island -- 2.1
  • The Emperor’s Rhyme -- 2.1
  • The End -- 2.1
  • End of the Peer Wotherspoon -- 2.1
  • The Engineer -- 2.1
  • Explained -- 2.1
  • February -- 2.1
  • For Your Information -- 2.1
  • Forgiven -- 2.1
  • Forgotten -- 2.1
  • The Friend -- 2.1
  • Garden Ornaments -- 2.2
  • The General Takes Off His Helmet -- 2.2
  • Gentleman Unknown -- 2.3
  • The Good Little Girl -- 2.2
  • The Great Broxopp (Four Chapters in His Life): A Comedy -- 2.4
  • The Great Film Ramp -- 2.2
  • The Green Door -- 2.2
  • H for Helena: A Midsummer Night’s Folly in Three Acts -- 2.5
  • Happy Ever After -- 2.2
  • The Highway to London -- 2.2
  • Home and Overseas Service -- 2.2
  • The House at Pooh Corner -- 2.2
  • I Don’t Like Black-Mailers -- 2.6
  • I Like London -- 2.6
  • An Immortal Name -- 2.6
  • In Bed -- 2.6
  • In Praise of Thrift -- 2.6
  • In Vino Veritas -- 2.6
  • It’s Too Late Now: The Autobiography of a Writer -- 2.7
  • January -- 2.6
  • The Knight Whose Armour Didn’t Squeak -- 2.8
  • The Little Black Hen -- 2.8
  • The Little Move -- 2.8
  • Luck Nothing -- 2.8
  • The Lucky One: A Play in Three Acts -- 2.9
  • The Magic Hill -- 2.8
  • Make-Believe: A Children’s Play in a Prologue and Three Acts -- 2.8
  • A Man Greatly Beloved -- 2.8
  • The Man in the Bowler Hat: A Terribly Exciting Affair -- 2.8
  • March -- 2.8
  • May Pastorale (Being the Only Vital Issue before the Country) -- 2.8
  • The Middle of the Room -- 3.1
  • Miss Elizabeth Bennett -- 3.2
  • Miss Marlow at Play -- 3.1
  • Miss Waterlow in Bed -- 3.1
  • Mr. Pim -- 3.3
  • Modesty Forbids -- 3.1
  • The Morning Walk -- 3.1
  • Mullins -- 3.1
  • Murder at Eleven -- 3.1
  • My Golfing Luck -- 3.1
  • Night at the Aldwinckles -- 3.4
  • The Norman Church -- 3.4
  • A Note on Lewis Carroll -- 3.4
  • Notes on the British Drama League’s Scheme -- 3.4
  • Nursery Rhymes Commented Upon -- 3.4
  • The Old Sailor -- 3.4
  • Old Soldier -- 3.4
  • On This Question of “Evidence” -- 3.4
  • One Man’s Week -- 3.4
  • One of Our Conquerors -- 3.4
  • One of Our Cricketers -- 3.4
  • The Party Spirit -- 3.5
  • Peace with Honour -- 3.5
  • Pedestrianism: Atalanta v. Hippomenes -- 3.5
  • Penny Royal: A Comedy in Three Acts -- 3.6
  • Pinkle Purr -- 3.5
  • Poor Anne -- 3.5
  • Portrait of a Gentleman in Slippers: A Fairy Tale in One Act -- 3.5
  • Portrait of Lydia -- 3.5
  • The Prettiest Girl in the Room -- 3.5
  • The Princess and the Apple-Tree -- 3.5
  • The Princess Who Could Not Laugh -- 3.5
  • A Rattling Good Yarn -- 3.7
  • The Red House Mystery -- 3.8
  • The Rise and Fall of Mortimer Scriven -- 3.7
  • The River -- 3.7
  • The Romantic Age -- 3.9
  • A Room in Baker Street -- 3.7
  • Rosemary for Remembrance -- 3.7
  • A Savage Game -- 4.1
  • Second Plays Introduction -- 4.1
  • The Secret -- 4.1
  • Sentimentality and War -- 4.1
  • September -- 4.1
  • Shakespeare on the Stage -- 4.1
  • Solitude -- 4.1
  • Sparrow Tree Square -- 4.1
  • Speaking of Books -- 4.1
  • Spiritualism -- 4.1
  • Spring Song -- 4.1
  • The Stepmother -- 4.1
  • Success: A Play in Three Acts -- 4.2
  • Swing Song -- 4.1
  • A Table Near the Band -- 4.3
  • Taking an Interest -- 4.3
  • Talk -- 4.3
  • They Don’t Mean Any Harm: A Play in Three Acts -- 4.4
  • The Three Daughters of M. Dupont -- 4.3
  • The Three Dreams of Mr. Findlater -- 4.3
  • Thy Tablets, Memory -- 4.3
  • Toad of Toad Hall -- 4.5
  • Tristram -- 4.3
  • The Truth about Bacon -- 4.3
  • The Truth about Blayds -- 4.6
  • The Twins -- 4.3
  • Two People -- 4.7
  • Us Two -- 4.8
  • A Voyage to India -- 4.8
  • Waiting at the Window -- 4.8
  • War Aims Unlimited -- 4.8
  • When I Was Very Young -- 4.8
  • Where the Bright Waters Meet -- 4.8
  • The Woodcutter and the Princess -- 4.8
  • Writing for Children -- 4.8
  • You Are Going to Europe -- 4.8