Martin D’Arcy and Alec Waugh Archives Described

There are recent postings relating to¬†the UK archives holding the papers of Fr Martin D’Arcy and Alec Waugh. Fr D’Arcy’s archives are discussed in an article on the Jesuits in Britain website:

The collection contains letters from over 700 different correspondents and demonstrates D‚ÄôArcy‚Äôs connections to high-profile figures of the time. Notable correspondents include the Asquith family, Hilaire Belloc, John Betjeman, Anthony Burgess, Kenneth Clark, T S Eliot, the Kennedys, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, Siegfried Sassoon, and J R R Tolkien….D‚ÄôArcy‚Äôs popularity among the social elite of the day is again glimpsed at in a folder of material relating to a dinner arranged by Evelyn Waugh and Tom Burns, publisher and former editor of The Tablet, for D‚ÄôArcy, 24 July 1950 at the Hyde Park Hotel. Tickets cost 23 shillings each and the event was widely reported in the national newspapers. Speakers included Evelyn Waugh, T S Eliot and Douglas Woodruff, while Lord Pakenham presided over the occasion. A surviving invitation to the dinner exists, among a list of attendees, RSVPs and news cuttings, on the back of which D‚ÄôArcy has written notes for his own speech. The Evening Standard stated that the dinner was held simply ‚Äėbecause they like him‚Äô.

Several items from the archive are illustrated in the article, including a letter from Senator¬†John Kennedy after he was elected President as well as the dinner invitation described above. The Jesuit UK archives are¬†located at 114 Mount Street, London W1 as well as at Campion Hall, Oxford, and Stonyhurst College. Where the D’Arcy papers are located in not mentioned.

The Old Shirburnian society has posted several photos¬†from the school archives that are related to Alec Waugh. Some¬†of the¬†photos show¬†teams and school groups which include Alec. His papers about his time at¬†Sherborne School are filed in the school archives. Other papers are housed at¬†the University of Texas and Boston University. There is also an explanation of Alec’s career at Sherborne at this WordPress website. In this¬†article, it is explained that Alec and his father were dropped from the membership in the Old Shirburnian society after the scandal following his book Loom of Youth which included descriptions of homosexuality among schoolboys. The school also refused to accept Evelyn Waugh as a student. According to the article:

In 1933 the OS Society decided that the Waughs could wear the tie again. Alec sent his two boys to the school. He donated all the papers relating to Loom of Youth to the school.

Of course, by then it was too late to compensate Evelyn for having been barred from attendance.

Another blogger discusses Alec’s claim to have invented the cocktail party:

Alec Waugh (brother of the novelist Evelyn) insisted in a 1970 Esquire essay that he invented the idea of drinks-before-dinner in the 1920s. Others point to a Tacoma Times article from April 1917 crediting a St. Louis socialite, Mrs. Clara Bell Walsh, as the first to hold a party devoted exclusively to mixed drinks.

The article posted on the atlasobscura.com website goes on to support the position¬†that Mrs Walsh may have claimed the record, in the USA at least, in which case this year would be the centenary of her event. However, the contemporaary newspaper story that is copied in¬†the web article says that the cocktail party “already is an established St Louis institution, filling a long felt Sunday want in society circles.” So, its centenary may already have passed.¬† Alec’s claim related mostly to parties he organized in London.¬†See earlier post.¬†That UK cocktail party centenary is still awaited.

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