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George Bernard Shaw Private Paper

Identifier: SC-MS-014

Scope and Contents

This collection contains one postcard with a printed mini-essay on the value of a forty letter “alfabet” by Bernard Shaw; the address Ayot Saint Lawrence, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, is also printed at the end of the card. Added to this are further, handwritten arguments supporting the need for an expanded alphabet, which are dated December 26, 1947, and initialed “G.B.S.” The card is addressed to “William Russell M.S. Athens (Georgia) U.S. America.” The card bears an English stamp and is hand-cancelled.


  • Creation: 1947


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin, Ireland, on July 26, 1856. Resolving to become a writer, Shaw moved to London in 1876. He reviewed books, then became, successively, an art, music, then drama critic. In 1898, he married Charlotte Payne-Townshend, an Irish woman who combined progressive political views with considerable fortune.

Shaw viewed the theater as a platform for supporting social reform. He wrote over 50 plays, most of them comedies in which a debate on ethics is as important as the traditional dramatic values of characterization and emotional appeal. Among his well known plays are Pygmalion, Saint Joan, Caesar, Cleopatra, The Devil’s Disciple, and Arms and the Man. The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded Shaw in 1925. He used the money to establish the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation for translations of Swedish literature into English.

Shaw conducted a large correspondence – often on postcards. He promoted a simplified alphabet, women’s rights, and vegetarianism. When he died at 94 (at Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, on November 2, 1950), his will indicated that what remained of his 300,000 after death duties was to be left in trust for research on a “Proposed British Alphabet” of at least 40 letters. Shaw’s Corner, at Ayot St. Lawrence, his home since 1906, was left to the National Trust.

Note written by Judith H. Davis and Deborah A. Edwards


1 Folder (Contains 1 folder)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by William Madison Randall in December, 1970.

Processing Information

In 2014, this manuscript collection was re-foldered and re-housed with current archival standard materials by Christine Hockaday.

George Bernard Shaw Private Paper
Judith H. Davis and Deborah A. Edwards
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository