|Description||Typescript copies of Noël Coward's diary [named 'journal' from April 1953] covering Wednesday 1 January 1941 to Sunday 25 January 1970. Coward kept a daily entry for a few months in early 1941, changing this to a retrospective account of each week because daily entries 'are as boring to write as they are to read'. Until the late 1960s entries are regular, and often lengthy.|
Coward discusses the development of his artistic works including scripts for plays, songs, lyrics, and films. He also discusses his social circle, engagements and functions, lunch and social arrangements, health, books read, theatre trips and productions attended, deaths of colleagues and friends, painting, and travel. There are references to world events including the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963. Coward also discusses the political situation in the United Kingdom throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
Throughout the diaries and journals there is extensive reference to Coward's friends and colleagues; actors and actresses; and celebrities. Those featured regularly include Coward's close circle of friends such as Lorn Loraine, Cole Lesley, Graham Payn, Joyce Carey, Gladys Calthrop, Hugh 'Binkie' Beaumont, Edward Molyneux, John 'Jack' and Natasha Wilson, and Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. Some people are referred by nicknames and there are some inconsistencies in how people are referred, for example Robert Andrews may be referred to as 'Bobbie' Andrews or 'Bobby' Andrews.
Selected entries were published by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley in their 1982 publication 'The Noël Coward diaries'. Coward's original manuscript diaries are held in the Frederick R. Koch collection at Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut. One original manuscript diary is held by the Noël Coward Archive Trust for the years 1966 and 1967, reference NPC-0300.
Nb. A comparison between NPC-0300 and COW/4/H/24 suggests these transcript copies are not exact transcriptions of the original diaries. The transcript for 7 November 1966 has had punctuation added and a repeated word omitted.