Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS498
TitleNoël Coward and Ivor Novello Cuttings
Extent1 bundle, containing 4 files
DescriptionCuttings primarily relating to the life and works of Noël Coward (1899-1973), playwright and composer. A smaller number of cuttings relate to Ivor Novello (1893-1951) actor and composer.

Bulk of the cuttings date from the 1980s to 1996 but there are some earlier cuttings including a few from 1943 and a number from the 1970s. Cuttings mostly taken from American newspapers and magazines, together with some from the British broadsheets.
ArrangementThe papers were originally arranged as one file divided into four sub-sections. The catalogue reflects this structure, and is divided up under the original titles: play reviews, book reviews, miscellaneous and advertising.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue, or view the catalogue as a PDF file by clicking in the document field below. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryNoël Pierce Coward was born on 16 December 1899, the second of three sons of Arthur Sabin Coward, clerk, and Violet Agnes, daughter of Henry Gordon Veitch, captain and surveyor in the Royal Navy. His education was interrupted by his pursuit of a stage career, although he attended the Chapel Royal School in Clapham between 1908 and 1909. He also took lessons at Janet Thomas' Dancing Academy in Hanover Square. He made his first professional stage appearance in 1911 in The Goldfish, in which he played the part of Prince Mussel.

Coward appeared in various productions during the 1910s. In 1924 he received his first critical and financial success with 'The Vortex'. This was followed with musical theatre productions 'London Calling', This Year of Grace', 'Bitter Sweet' and 'Words and Music', and plays 'Hayfever', 'Fallen Angels' and 'Easy Virtue' which, together with Coward's own persona and sense of style, established him firmly in 1920s popular culture. His prolific output contributed to his enormous success in both Britain and America, and by the late 1920s he had achieved international recognition.

By the early 1930s, the critical and popular success of Coward's increasingly mature work ensured his position as one of the most important dramatists of the period. His plays of this period included the classic 'Private Lives' (1930) in which he starred with Gertrude Lawrence, which established him as one of the world's highest-earning authors. Other successes were 'Design for Living' produced in New York in 1933 but not in London until 1939, the patriotic 'Cavalcade (1931), the cycle of playlets 'Tonight at 8.30' (1936) and 'Present Laughter (1939). Coward also recorded some of his best-known songs between 1929 and 1936.

Coward produced, with David Lean, a series of films relating to the war: 'In Which We Serve' (1942), 'This Happy Breed' (1943), 'Brief Encounter' (1945), and the film of his 1941 play 'Blithe Spirit', and undertook a tour of this play, along with 'This Happy Breed' and 'Present Laughter' for a nationwide tour in 1942-43 to try to boost public morale.
Following the war, Coward spent the majority of the rest of his life abroad. He settled in Ocho Rios, Jamaica in the late 1940s, where he built the houses Blue Harbour and Firefly. His post-war musicals including 'Pacific 1860' (1946), 'Ace of Clubs' (1950), 'After the Ball' (1953), 'Sail Away' (1959-1961), and plays 'Relative Values' (1951) and 'Quadrille' (1952). Coward's continuing ability to re-invent himself saw him resume a sporadic film career in cameo parts in 'Around the World in Eighty Days' (1955), 'Our Man in Havana' (1960), and 'The Italian Job' (1968). He was also praised for his cabaret performances at London's Cabaret de Paris and The Desert Inn, Las Vegas.

In 1969 there was a series of celebrations for Coward's seventieth birthday, culminating in the offer of a knighthood, which he accepted. Coward died of heart failure on 26 March 1973 at Firefly in Jamaica, where he was buried. A memorial stone in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey was unveiled in 1984.

Ivor Novello was born David Ivor Davies on 15 January 1893, the only son of David Davies and Clara Novello Davies. Novello was a composer, actor and playwright. Throughout the 1920s he was known as a silent film star and he also composed for the musical stage. The 1930s were a time of prolific output for Novello, both as an actor and a playwright; he wrote some of his best known work in this period, such as 'Fresh Fields' (1933) and 'Glamorous Night' (1935). He appeared in two plays by Noel Coward; 'The Vortex' (1928) and 'Sirocco' (1927). He died on 6 March 1951.

Herbert Schimmel was a New York collector, mainly interested in Art Nouveau and the artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.

Sources: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessed February 2017; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Philip Hoare, Noël Coward: a biography 1995; International Art and Culture
Custodial HistoryThis collection was formerly part of the Herbert Schimmel Noel Coward and Ivor Novello collections. The original binder included bookplate of Herbert Schimmel and it is possible that he was the creator of this collection
AcquisitionPurchased from a bookseller in 1999
Archival NotePapers arranged and described by Beth Cutts, January 2017, in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; and in-house cataloguing guidelines.
Related MaterialArchive collections relating to Noël Coward, and held at the Cadbury Research Library, include:

Noël Coward Collection: papers, 1911-2000. Finding Number: COW;
Papers relating to Noël Coward: papers, [20th century]. Finding Number: MS69;
Material relating to Lila Field's 'The Goldfish': papers, 1911. Finding Number: MS158;
Correspondence sent to Claude Ray relating to Noël Coward: papers, [mid-20th century]. Finding Number: MS188;
Papers of Gladys Calthrop: correspondence, 1927-1979. Finding Number: MS201;
Noël Coward Theatre Programmes: programmes, 1913-1991. Finding Number: MS491;
Gladys Calthrop costume drawings: framed drawings, 1934. Finding Number: MS492;
Noël Coward Posters: posters, 1968-1986. Finding Number: MS497;
Noël Coward and Ivor Novello Cuttings: newspaper and magazine cuttings, 1943-1996. Finding Number: MS498;
Patricia Hollender Collection: correspondence, 1951-1978. Finding Number: MS500;
Play scripts relating to Noël Coward: scripts, [c 1911-c 1950]. Finding Number: MS501;
Images of Noël Coward: images, [1920s-1970s]. Finding Number: MS502;
Noël Coward's 'Present Laughter', typescript for radio adaptation: script, [1956]. Finding Number: MS788;
Photographs of Noël Coward and friends, [1920s-1930s]. Finding Number: MS987.