[22 Paradise Rd., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
The Criterion
10 March 1939
Dearest Emilie,

If there was any good boat this week, I have missed it; but I am writing this line, betweenBoutwood Lectures (afterwards The Idea of a Christian Society);a6 packing to go to Cambridge for the last time andFamily Reunion, TheMarch 1939 Westminster Theatre production;g3rehearsals for;a2 going on to a rehearsal before catching the 2 o’clock train, to go by the City of Baltimore, which for aught I know, may take fifteen days. But I hope to reach you before you leave Northampton in a fortnight’s time; and I will write again by the German boat next week. I was very glad to get your letter of the 2nd, last night. You knowHavenses, theEH stays with;a6 that I will applaud your plans for the vacation – I only wish you had reminded me of the Havens’s address,1 butHavens, Paul;a4 I think I had a letter from him, in the last year or so, andRidler, Anne (née Bradby);a9 I will get Miss Bradby to look it out, so that I may write to you there. I am glad that you are aware that you need to cherish your health in the spring; I shall feel less anxious about you, my dear, when I can feel the summer term drawing to its close. Asdogs'Boerre' (Norwegian Elkhound);b7when chasing squirrel;b6 for Boerre, well, you can hardly blame a hound for chasing a squirrel: it was only wrong of him if you had already called him back and he ignored your command. I am very glad the damage was no worse: it was a very lucky escape; but now he will hardly be out of the nursing home before you leave for your holiday. It would have been worse if this had occurred on the last day or so before you were leaving.

IMcKnight Kauffer, Edwardtakes Hitleresque photo;a4 have been too busy to order any copies of the correct and conventional photograph: you and my family will receive copies in due course, and meanwhile may see it advertising the F.R. in America! Meanwhile here are two more, obviously amateur ones, taken by McKnight Kauffer (the lady is Mrs. Kauffer).2 TheHitler, AdolfKauffer's photo of TSE resembles;a6 smudge like a Hitler moustache is a shadow – but amateurs with powerful cameras should not photograph their friends late in the evening, as the male friends tend to look rather unshaven under that magnifying lens. There will be some more probably unpleasant photographs too: forPicture Postphotographs Family Reunion rehearsals;a1 weFamily Reunion, TheMarch 1939 Westminster Theatre production;g3which are photographed;a3 spent yesterday morning at the Westminster Theatre having the rehearsal photographed for ‘Picture Post’, which is the nearest English equivalent to ‘Life’: a picture paper which claims a circulation of 1,600,000; so it is supposed to be good publicity.3 The ‘advance bookings’ have been good; and I think that the production will be on the whole very satisfactory. RedgraveRedgrave, Michaelas Harry;a4 does not yet seem to me to rise to the level of his reputation: but he is a box-office draw, is sure to get good press; and it is a difficult part, because it has to be a youngish man, but a man of some experience of life. I think perhaps he is too young; but I cannot think of any other youngish star whom I would rather have. Also, he has not yet got to the point at which he is a spoiled star; he is amenable. AmyHaye, Helenas Amy;a1 andLacey, Catherineas Agatha in Family Reunion;a1 Agatha I think will be very good; Mary only passable; the chorus I think will be excellent when it has had its final polish. And so far, nobody really knows his part.

I grieveFamily Reunion, TheMarch 1939 Westminster Theatre production;g3opening night contemplated without EH;a4 more than I can tell you that the first performance of this play (which you have had so much to do with, and have in such important particulars, moreover, modified) should be without you. I shall have a remote little box to myself, and then disappear: the place will be full of my friends and social acquaintances (a good first night for the social-literary snobs, too) and I have a horror of appearing on the stage: so I hope you will imagine me peeking out, on the evening of the 21st, like a mouse from its hole. I shall be able to send you a copy of the published play by the next boat, and I do hope that you will receive it before you leave; perhaps you could leave orders for it to be forwarded to you. And I hope that you will find the last changes to be in the way of improvement.

Next week will be less of a rush than the last two, because it will all have to do with the one activity. I shall be thankful to get Cambridge over with. OnBishop, George;a1 Monday IDaily Telegraphschmoozed by TSE;a3 find myself asking a man from the Daily Telegraph to lunch! at the behest of the Publicity Manager of the Theatre.4 You can realise how I dislike this sort of currying favour: but one considers, that the success of a play matters to a good many people besides the author. ThatLorant, Stefan;a1 is why I took up with the Picture Post, meeting the editor by chance at Wyndham Lewis’s.5

OfMacNeice, Louisbetter than Archibald MacLeish;a5 theMacLeish, Archibaldinferior poet to MacNeice;a3 two, McNeice [sic] is a better poet than MacLeish, but I ought to have mentioned him sooner; and anyway, I think he will have just enough engagements for his needs.

Yes, you have been addressed [sc. addressing] your letters correctly! My love, I had rather be in your company than at my own first night: and you can understand what that means, when it’s an author’s first play!

Your loving

1.Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

2.SeeEliot, Henry Ware, Jr. (TSE's brother)champions Kauffer's photograph of TSE;e2n too this note by Henry Eliot in the TSE archive at Houghton: ‘A PHOTOGRAPH OF T. S. ELIOT, 1939, BY E. McKnight Kauffer, frame. (This in my opinion is the best and most truthful and characteristic portrait photograph ever made of T. S. Eliot, and far better than the very business-like-looking portraits of him which have been used in publicity. I hope it will be the standard portrait in the future. It does not fare well in reduction, however.)’

3.‘A Poet’s Play’, Picture Post 3: 1 (8 Apr. 1939), 34. Of two illustrations, the main one captures Michael Redgrave and Ruth Lodge in a scene from the play; the other is captioned thus: ‘Playwright Helps With an Actor’s Uniform: T. S. Eliot adjusts belt of Charles Victor, who plays the part of a police-officer in Eliot’s new play in verse, “The Family Reunion”.’

4.GeorgeBishop, Georgepreviews Family Reunion;a2n Bishop, theatre reviewer for the Daily Telegraph, related in his ‘Theatre Notes’:

T. S. Eliot’s play, ‘The Family Reunion’, is to be published at 7s 6d by Messrs. Faber on Tuesday next, the day of its production at the Westminster. This week I sat at a rehearsal for an hour or two with the author and producer, E. Martin Browne, and was agreeably surprised at the ease with which Michael Redgrave and some of the other actors had acclimatised themselves to the rhythm of Mr Eliot’s fine free verse.

The scene is ‘Wishwood’, a country house in Yorkshire, and most of the characters are the members of a decaying family. It is a birthday occasion which draws them together. The chief characters are the Dowager Lady Monchensey (Helen Haye) and her eldest son, a part to be taken by Michael Redgrave. There are the uncles and aunts, the family doctor, an enigmatical young girl (Catherine Lacey) and even a police sergeant, who will be taken by Charles Victor.

It is a tribute to Mr Eliot’s gifts to say that he can translate the modern colloquialisms of a local sergeant into modern verse as naturally as he can render the more obviously poetical characters.

In a talk after the rehearsal, Mr Eliot, in his charmingly diffident manner, told me that there is the faintest analogy between his play and the Orestes; but begged me not to give the impression that ‘The Family Reunion’ was intended to be a modern adaptation of a Greek play. There is a chorus of Furies, who will be spoken by Audrey Alan, Helen Latham and Diana Nicholl.

Other members of the cast include Henzie Raeburn, Marjorie Gabain, Ruth Lodge, Pamela Kelly, Stephen Murray, Colin Keith-Johnson, Max Adrian, and George Woodbridge.

5.StefanLorant, Stefan Lorant (1901–97), Budapest-born Jewish film director, journalist and author, moved in 1919 from Hungary to Germany, where he made his name as a filmmaker. In Mar. 1933 he was imprisoned by the Nazis but was released after six months, whereupon he migrated to Britain and promptly published I Was Hitler’s Prisoner: leaves from a prison diary (1935). He edited Weekly Illustrated and founded Lilliput, and in Oct. 1938 co-founded (with Sir Edward G. Hulton) the first British picture magazine, Picture Post: it was an immediate success.

Bishop, George, previews Family Reunion,
Boutwood Lectures (afterwards The Idea of a Christian Society), Spens invites TSE to deliver, being prepared, and Oldham's Times letter, TSE on delivering, being rewritten for publication, approaching publication, published as Christian Society, sent to EH, reception, selling strongly, apparently stimulating to others,
Daily Telegraph, now government mouthpiece, reviews Murder, schmoozed by TSE, reviews Family Reunion, reviews The Cocktail Party,
dogs, TSE imagines himself as EH's dog, Pollicle, endear Hodgson to TSE, EH fond of, TSE wishes to give EH, TSE enthuses over with Ambassador Stimson's wife, death of Lord Lisburne's gun-dog, wish to buy EH dog reaffirmed, James Thurber's dog, wish to buy EH dog develops, TSE's wish that EH choose dog for him, of Shamley Wood, Aberdeen Terrier, belonging to Gerald Graham, TSE against, Alsatian, bites F&F sales manager in Cheltenham, Blue Bedlington Terrier, TSE wishes to bring EH, related to the Kerry Blue, TSE fantasises with Hodgson about breeding, TSE wishes EH might have, 'Boerre' (Norwegian Elkhound), travels to America, described, and right-hand traffic, TSE receives photo of, affords EH exercise, envied by TSE, scourge of Northampton, cuts foot, when chasing squirrel, suspected attempt to abduct, 'disorderly', 'cantankerous', taking unaccompanied exercise, decorated at dog-show, goes missing, not taken to Maine, EH decides to give up, poignant photograph of, dies, Bull Terrier, Ralph Hodgson's 'Picky' bites cat, home found for 'Picky', Hodgson fantasises with TSE about breeding, Dachshund, among TSE's preferred short-legged breeds, Hope Mirrlees's 'Mary', elkhound, belonging to Mrs Eames, as breed for EH, Jack Russell, among TSE's preferred short-legged breeds, possible replacement for Boerre, Kerry Blue, related to Blue Bedlington Terrier, at Army and Navy stores, Labrador, the Morleys' eight puppies, the Morleys', Pekingese, TSE averse to, belonging to Mrs Behrens, 'Polly' (the Eliots' Yorkshire Terrier), falls off roof, taken to have wound dressed, barks at Hungarian language, Poodle, as breed for EH, 'Rag Doll' (Scottish Terrier), travels to Grand Manan, TSE receives photo of, EH gives up, Samoyed, considered for EH, spaniel, belonging to the Fabers, Staffordshire Terrier, Hodgson advises Miss Wilberforce on,
Eliot, Henry Ware, Jr. (TSE's brother), hears TSE's Dryden broadcast, as potential confidant, sibling most attuned to TSE's needs, witness to the Eliots in 1926, surprises TSE in Boston, his aura of futility, disputes New Yorker profile of TSE, at Eliot family Thanksgiving, attends second Norton lecture, his business in Chicago, hosts TSE in New York, TSE reads his second detective story, his immaturity, accuses TSE of wrath, writes TSE long critical letter, the favourite of TSE's parents, sends New York Murder clippings, writes again about religion, insensitive to European affairs, Peabody Museum employ as research associate, gives TSE pyjamas for Christmas, sends TSE luggage for Christmas, hosts Murder's Boston cast, sends present to Morley children, cables TSE on 50th birthday, given draft of Family Reunion, gives TSE portfolio, champions Kauffer's photograph of TSE, explains operation on ears, sends list of securities, takes pleasure in shouldering Margaret, undergoes serious operation, recovering at home, as curator of Eliotana, as curator of Eliotana, war imperils final reunion with, and TSE's rumoured Vatican audience, corresponds with TSE monthly, offers Tom Faber wartime refuge, nervous about TSE during Blitz, as described by Frank Morley, recalls The Dry Salvages, has appendix out, cautioned as to health, frail, condition worries TSE, as correspondent, friend to J. J. Sweeney, tries TSE's patience, reports on Ada, describes Ada's funeral, beleaguered by Margaret, sent Picture Post F&F photos, likened to Grandfather Stearns, goitre operated on, his archaeological endeavours, back in hospital, imagined in exclusively female company, ill again, as brother, has pneumonia, terminal leukaemia, prospect of his death versus Ada's, anxieties induced by deafness, writes to TSE despite illness, death, memorial service for, on EH's presumption, Michael Roberts's symptoms reminiscent of, his Chicago acquaintance, friends with Robert Lowell's father, invoked against EH, on TSE's love for EH, buried in Garrett family lot, The Rumble Murders,

3.HenryEliot, Henry Ware, Jr. (TSE's brother) Ware Eliot (1879–1947), TSE’s older brother: see Biographical Register.

Family Reunion, The, and TSE as Orestes, plot sought for, progress stalled, referred to as 'Orestes play', written against countdown to war, should be artistically a stretch, plot still not settled on, begun, compared to Murder, TSE on writing, described (mid-composition), and Gunn's Carmina Gadelica, described to GCF, EH questions Harry's entrance, draft read to Martin Brownes, projected autumn 1938 production, depletes TSE, and Mourning Becomes Electra, its Greek inheritance, alternatively 'Follow the Furies', first draft promised to EH, as inspired by Tenebrae, being rewritten, work suspended till summer, fair copy being typed, waiting on Browne and Dukes, 'Follow the Furies' quashed by EH, aspires to be Chekhovian, Dukes keen to produce, criticised by Martin Browne, under revision, submitted to EH's theatrical wisdom, for which TSE credits her, possible John Gielgud production, Gielgud-level casting, Browne's final revisions, with the printers, Henry loaned draft, Donat and Saint-Denis interested, in proof, progress towards staging stalled, Saint-Denis interest tempered, possible Tyrone Guthrie production, possible limited Mercury run, its defects, publication scheduled, first draft sent to EH, Michael Redgrave interested in, March 1939 Westminster Theatre production, waits on terms, rehearsals for, which are photographed, opening night contemplated without EH, last-minute flutters, opening night, reception, coming off, TSE's final visit to, Dukes bullish on New York transfer, EH spurs TSE's reflections on, and Otway's Venice Preserv'd, American reception, and Orson Welles, F&F's sales, 1940 American production, Henry harps on the personal aspect, its cheerfulness, EH acknowledges part in, 1943 ADC production, in Dadie Rylands's hands, described, certain lines expressing TSE's frustrations, EH discusses with pupils, plays in Zurich, 1946 Birmingham production, 1946 Mercury revival, rehearsals for, opening night, TSE attends again in company, Spanish translation of, VHE's death calls to mind, its deficiencies, BBC Gielgud broadcast version, first aired, to be repeated, goes nominally with The Cocktail Party, Swedish National Theatre production, compared to Cocktail Party, EH's response to, more 'personal' than Cocktail Party, performed in Göttingen, 1950 Düsseldorf production, 1953 New York production vetoed, 1956 Phoenix Theatre revival, described, Peter Brook congratulated on, Martin Browne seeks MS of,
Havens, Paul, and EH greet TSE at Claremont, appointed President of Wilson College, congratulated on appointment, offers TSE honorary degree, engages TSE to make commencement address, which Henry's health jeopardises, and is eventually cancelled,
see also Havenses, the
Havenses, the, EH stays with,
Haye, Helen, as Amy, Daily Telegraph gives credit to, keen on repertory Murder,

2.HelenHaye, Helen Haye (1874–1957), stage and film actor. (She was to play the Duchess of York in Laurence Olivier’s film production of Richard III.)

Hitler, Adolf, Bishop Bell on, occupies the Rhineland, post-Anschluss, and Mussolini, and Vansittart, Kauffer's photo of TSE resembles, and appeasement, and the future of Europe, replies to Roosevelt, his Reichstag speech on Poland,
Lacey, Catherine, as Agatha in Family Reunion, again Agatha in 1946 revival, Daily Telegraph singles out, performance swells with praise, possible Mrs Guzzard,

2.CatherineLacey, Catherine Lacey (1904–79): British actor who was Agatha in The Family Reunion at the Westminster Theatre in 1939 and again at the Mercury Theatre in 1946.

Lorant, Stefan,

5.StefanLorant, Stefan Lorant (1901–97), Budapest-born Jewish film director, journalist and author, moved in 1919 from Hungary to Germany, where he made his name as a filmmaker. In Mar. 1933 he was imprisoned by the Nazis but was released after six months, whereupon he migrated to Britain and promptly published I Was Hitler’s Prisoner: leaves from a prison diary (1935). He edited Weekly Illustrated and founded Lilliput, and in Oct. 1938 co-founded (with Sir Edward G. Hulton) the first British picture magazine, Picture Post: it was an immediate success.

McKnight Kauffer, Edward, gossiping at Clive Bell's, his cover for Triumphal March, as husband, takes Hitleresque photo, TSE dislikes photograph by, TSE opens Kauffer Memorial Exhibition, which involves television appearance,

2.EdwardMcKnight Kauffer, Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890–1954), American artist and illustrator: see Biographical Register. His partner was Marion Dorn (1896–1964), textile designer.

MacLeish, Archibald, doesn't show at poets' dinner, inferior poet to MacNeice, meets TSE at dinner-party, requests TSE write to The Times,

3.ArchibaldMacLeish, Archibald MacLeish (1892–1982), poet and playwright, studied at Yale and at Harvard Law School (he abandoned the practice of law and took up poetry in 1923), then lived in France for a while in the 1920s. Conquistador (1933) won a Pulitzer Prize; and for his Collected Poems, 1917–1952 (1953) he won three awards: a second Pulitzer, the Bollingen Prize and the National Book Award. His verse play J.B. (1957) won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award. During WW2, at President Roosevelt’s bidding, he was Librarian of Congress, and he served with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. He was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, Harvard, 1949–62.

MacNeice, Louis, Group Theatre production of Agamemnon, uses EH's stool at tea, TSE rebuts his charge of 'defeatism', touted to Smith College, better than Archibald MacLeish, at Cornell, introduced as T. S. Eliot, and the Spender–Campbell spat, Agamemnon, Autumn Journal, The Last Ditch, Out of the Picture,

7.LouisMacNeice, Louis MacNeice (1907–63), poet, radio producer and playwright: see Biographical Register.

Picture Post, photographs Family Reunion rehearsals,
Redgrave, Michael, interested in Family Reunion, agrees to play Harry, preferred to Gielgud, as Harry, which does not increase his reputation, performance pruned by Martin Browne,

1.According to Browne (The Making of T. S. Eliot’s Plays,147), MichaelRedgrave, Michael Redgrave – aged 31 – ‘had already made a name for himself at the Old Vic, with John Gielgud in his season at the Queen’s, and with Michel Saint-Denis at the Phoenix’. TSE to James Forsyth, 16 July 1940 (tseliot.com), on Redgrave: ‘He is a most likeable person and very easy to work with. Unlike some actors he does not assume that he knows more about the play than the author does, and is always anxious to co-operate.’

Ridler, Anne (née Bradby), already favoured for F&F promotion, greatly preferred to O'Donovan, her secretarial duties, impresses TSE, her impending marriage, ill and engaged, invites TSE to be godfather, TSE writes preface for, TSE's blurb for, writes letter of condolence to GCF, presented to Edith Sitwell, 'une âme pure', Little Book of Modern Verse, The Shadow Factory,

3.AnneRidler, Anne (née Bradby) (Bradby) Ridler (30 July 1912–2001), poet, playwright, editor; worked as TSE’s secretary, 1936–40: see Biographical Register.