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W. H. CHESSON PAPERS
FOLDER LISTING


Box: 1 Fold: 1 Diary, 1904
[08/01/1904]? - 10/10/1904

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated circa 08/01/1904 to 10/10/1904, pp. 608 - 688, containing transcribed poems and other literary works, newspaper cuttings, and diary entries. The diary entries comprise a record of correspondence sent and received, book lists, descriptions of daily routines and publishing transactions, observations of his children and wife, and a dream record; these entries are interspersed with postal receipts, book advertisements, postcards, and numerous press cuttings of crime reporting and short notices regarding figures in the publishing business. Of note is a lengthy description (pp. 647, 664 - 667) of a dinner in Anderton's Hotel held in honor of Thomas Werner Laurie on the occasion of his leaving the firm of Fisher Unwin to start his own publishing house; a number of prominent figures of the London publishing scene are described, including his friends G. K. Chesterton and Edward Garnett. Also of note are his transcriptions from the 18th century "Fifteen Plagues of a Maidenhead" with his notes (pp. 608 - 614), and similar transcriptions and evaluations of poetry written under the pseudonym "Marc Antony" by a writer identified as E. G. Bowling (pp. 673 - 685). References to his wife Nora Hopper Chesson, publisher James Milne, writer William Hale White (who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Rutherford), writer M. P. Shiel, Francis Garrison, the book "Told at Twilight" by Nicholas Everitt, his book "Cruikshank", G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Werner Laurie, Thomas Fisher Unwin, Edward Garnett, Arthur Garnett, Sir Charles Dilke, and Lady Emilia Dilke.



Box: 1 Fold: 2 Diary, 1905
01/24/1905 - 04/12/1905

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated 01/24/1905 to 04/12/1905 comprising diary entries concerning W. H. Chesson's family and acquaintances, records of correspondence sent and received, press cuttings, reading notes and title lists, original and copied poetry, an occasional dream record, and observations of daily life. Entries of note include a brief though interesting description (told by a Miss Macdonnell) of Florence Farr Emery reading poetry with W. B. Yeats in attendance [pp. 15 - 16], an original poem submitted to "Punch" magazine titled "Meditations of G. K. Chesterton on becoming a mackerel" [pp. 38 - 40], accounts of visits by Nora Chesson with the children's author E. Nesbit (Edith Nesbit Bland) and the poet Rosamund Marriott Watson [pp. 61 - 63], Chesson's symbol designs for "a truly pedagogic alphabet" [pp. 74 - 76], the description of a dinner at the Lyceum Club attended by G. K. Chesterton and the poet Thomas Sturge Moore [pp. 79 - 82], an account of a lecture by the Russian emigre and journalist David Vladimirovich Soskice at Thomas Fisher Unwin's home [pp. 106 - 108], a review of Nora Chesson's novel "The Bell and the Arrow" [p. 109], and a record of Chesson's first experiments with automatic writing via planchette [pp. 114, 116 - 118, 120 - 121]. References to Nora Hopper Chesson, James Milne, G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Fisher Unwin, Arthur Garnett, Edward Garnett, Dr. Richard Garnett, Reverend William Tuckwell, Sir Charles Dilke, Chesson's biography "Cruikshank", the Irish Literary Society, and Stephen Lucius Gwynn.

Box: 1 Fold: 3 Diary, 1905-1906
04/14/1905 - 01/07/1906

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated 04/14/1905 to 01/07/1906 comprising diary entries, records of publishing correspondence, original poetry, and a scrapbook collection of train tickets, postal receipts, calling cards, press cuttings, and Autograph Letters from various correspondents. Of note is one Autograph Letter Signed dated 05/05/1898 from the poet and book collector Thomas Hutchinson to W. H. Chesson praising his novel "Name This Child" and requesting from him an autograph note to be inserted into his copy [p. 5]. The majority of this journal is taken up with records of the Chessons' experiments with an automatic writing planchette, producing "spirit letters" which are pasted into the book [pp. 24-25, 38-122]. There is a break in the diary entries between 05/17 and 12/25/1905 attributed by Chesson to a mental and spiritual crisis brought about by his increasing involvement with entities contacted through the planchette. Reference to James Milne, Arthur Garnett, Sir Charles Dilke, Nora Hopper Chesson, Chesson's book "Cruikshank", his brother Frederick William Chesson, his daughter Ann Caroline Spry Chesson, his son Dermot Chesson, and the editor of "The Occult Review", Ralph Shirley.

Box: 1 Fold: 4 Diary, 1906-1909
03/14/1906 - 02/06/1909

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated 03/14/1906 to 02/06/1909 containing Autograph Letters and diary entries comprising for the most part a journal of Chesson's dreams, interspersed with records of his correspondence and associations, and occasional tallies of progress on his "lexicon" or the "Chesson-Encyclopaedia", totaling his entries alphabetically. The diary records the death of his wife, Nora, on 04/14/1906 [p. 10], after the birth of their third child, Dagmar Chesson, and the subsequent adoption of their son and second child, Dermot, by Graham Spence over the dates 05/28/1906 to 06/26/1906 [pp. 16-19]. Subsequent entries constitute the record of Chesson's tortured dream-life and his obsession with the memory of his wife and the effects of their experiments with the planchette. Chesson devotes several pages to a description of his meeting with the spirit photographer Robert Boursnell and its outcome, and includes an Autograph Letter Signed dated 02/01/1907 from Boursnell to Chesson arranging the meeting [pp. 35-39]; he also describes his communication with the astrologer George Wilde [pp. 93, 95-96]. Also of note are an Autograph Letter Signed dated 04/07/1906 from his sister Julia Chesson regarding a dream of hers which foreshadowed the death of Nora Hopper Chesson [p. 8], an Autograph Note Signed dated 04/12/1906 from Arthur Garnett concerning the [mortal] illness of his father, Richard Garnett [p. 9], an Autograph Letter Signed undated from a psychometrist, Miss H. Davies, responding to Chesson's request for the identity of a "red-haired woman" he had imagined in 1905, whom he believed he would meet [p. 43], and an Autograph Note Signed from T. Werner Laurie enclosing money and expressing his hope that Chesson "will soon get over the [financial] complaint" [p. 91]. Reference to Ann Caroline Spry Chesson, the book-dealer Wilfred Voynich [pp. 28-29], Nora Hopper Chesson's novel "Father Felix's Chronicles", Chesson's commission to "Children's Stories from Shakespeare" to supplement the work of Edith Nesbit Bland (E. Nesbit) [p. 73], Thomas Fisher Unwin, and the completion of his biography of George Cruikshank.

Box: 1 Fold: 5 Diary, 1909-1920
02/16/1909 - 09/13/1920

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated from 02/06/1909 to 09/13/1920 containing diary entries recording Chesson's publishing associations and work, his domestic life, and progress on his "encyclopaedia". Chesson continues to record his dreams of his wife, Nora Hopper Chesson, and his father, Frederick William Chesson; however, many of the entries describe dreams abounding with prominent literary figures of the time such as Oscar Wilde, G. K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, George Moore, Sir Richard Burton, Lord Dunsany, and M. P. Shiel. Chesson relates in some detail his conversations with the publisher of "The Occult Review", Ralph Shirley, on such subjects as astrology and spirit-photography. References to Ann Caroline Spry Chesson, Dagmar Chesson, Sir Charles Dilke, Lady Emilia Dilke, Graham Spence, Dermot Chesson Spence, Robert Southey, Theodore Watts-Dunton, Clara Jane Watts-Dunton, T. Fisher Unwin, and Florence Farr.

Box: 1 Fold: 6 Diary, 1920-1923
10/15/1920 - 02/11/1923

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript Signed notebook dated 10/15/1920 to 02/11/1923 pages, titled inside the front cover "Dream Diary of Wilfred Hugh Chesson", containing Chesson's dated observations of his domestic and professional affairs, as well as his interior life and dreams. He continues to record dreams of his wife Nora Hopper Chesson, or which involve prominent authors or figures from the publishing world, including A. C. Swinburne, G. B. Shaw, M. P. Shiel, Joseph Conrad, James Milne, Thomas Werner Laurie, and several about G. K. Chesterton. Most of the first half of the diary (pp. [12-51]) is taken up by Chesson's record of a dream experiment undertaken at the advice of the journalist and astrologer, Meredith Starr; also of interest are entries describing his visits to a Spiritualist Church (pp. [81, 82]), an Autograph Manuscript entry by Chesson's daughter Dagmar in which she describes a dream about the death of her sister Ann Caroline Spry Chesson, and a sequence of entries regarding the rejection of Chesson's introduction to a new edition of Joseph Conrad's "Almayer's Folly" by T. Fisher Unwin (pp. [116-117]). References to Clara Jane Watts-Dunton and Dermot Chesson Spence.

Box: 2 Fold: 1 Diary, 1923-1924
02/14/1923 - 08/22/1924

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated from 02/14/1923 to 08/22/1924 containing dated entries chronicling Chesson's personal, professional, and dream life, including his friendship with author M. P. Shiel, his marriage to his second wife, Daisy (Green) Chesson [p. 35], and the birth of his son Shirley Chesson [p. 224]. Also notable are a lecture delivered by Chesson before the Irish Literary Society on the subject of Nora Hopper [p. 97], his first wife, his presentation of a paper before the John Payne Society [p. 198], and copies of correspondence from Chesson to H. G. Wells [pp. 110-111], John Galsworthy [pp. 44-46] and James Milne [pp. 47-51] offering explanation of his dispute with T. Fisher Unwin over the unpublished introduction to the anniversary edition of Joseph Conrad's "Almayer's Folly". References to his sister Julia Eastwood Chesson, and his children, Ann (Chesson) McCormack, Dermot Chesson Spence, and Dagmar Chesson.

Box: 2 Fold: 2 Diary, 1924-1926
08/24/1924 - 09/27/1926

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript Signed notebook dated from 08/24/1924 to 09/27/1926 recording Chesson's dreams and events in his household, including the increasing difficulties of his second marriage to Daisy (Green) Chesson, his publishing work for the "Occult Review" and "G.K.'s Weekly", and his continued relationships with Ralph Shirley, Meredith Starr, and Clara Jane Watts-Dunton. Reference to Nora (Hopper) Chesson, Julia Eastwood Chesson, Dermot Chesson Spence, Ann (Chesson) MacCormack, Dagmar Chesson, and T. Fisher Unwin.

Box: 2 Fold: 3 Diary, 1926-1928
09/29/1926 - 07/10/1928

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated from 09/29/1926 to 07/10/1928 composed of diary entries by Chesson recording dreams, household events, and literary work. Notable entries record the sale of Chesson's "copyright edition" of Joseph Conrad's "The Nigger of the Narcissus" with the help of Edward Garnett, news of the death of Chesson's eldest child, Ann (Chesson) MacCormack, and a reading by Chesson before the John Payne Society. There are also references to the difficulties of his second marriage, his associations with Meredith Starr, Clara Jane Watts-Dunton, and M. P. Shiel, and observations of his family life, including reference to his children Dagmar Chesson, Shirley Chesson, and the birth of his daughter Primrose Chesson.

Box: 2 Fold: 4 Diary, 1931-1934
01/03/1931 - 07/01/1934

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript notebook dated from 01/03/1931 to 07/01/1934 recording Chesson's activities and associations in and around his home called "Childwall" in Richmond, England. Chesson chronicles the death of his youngest sister Julia Eastwood Chesson (on 03/17/1931), who lodged at Childwall, the degenerating conditions of his second marriage to Daisy Green Chesson and the birth of their third child, Douglas, on 04/17/1931, his attendance on a meeting of the John Payne Society, a description of his first close look at traffic lights installed on Oxford Street on 11/26/1932, a letter of 03/09/1934 regarding money owed him by his late daughter Ann's widower, sent to the man's new father-in-law, and the departure of Daisy Green Chesson from Childwall on 06/21/1934. References to Clara Jane Watts-Dunton, Dagmar Chesson, Dermot Chesson Spence, Ann (Chesson) MacCormack, Nora Hopper Chesson, Primrose Chesson, Shirley Chesson, Meredith Starr, and Ralph Shirley.

Box: 2 Fold: 11 Manuscript notebook, ca. 1900
12/06/1896? - 06/09/1903?

DESCRIPTION: 1 Autograph Manuscript Signed notebook containing various vignettes, character sketches and other excercises by W. H. Chesson, some of which are dated between 12/06/1896 and 06/09/1903, labeled on the cover "CONFESSION, ETC." In addition to the title piece are others, perhaps chapters, titled "Franklin", "Lust", "The Lover", "The Middle-Aged Man", "A Rainbow", "The New Clerk", "A Note on the Vanishing Aquarium", "Touching Handel", "SYNONYM", "Love's Way into Delight", "The Wall", "Overheard on the Underground Railway", and "A Character extracted from a letter".

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