After finishing the Helene Hanff books (see the post on 84, Charing Cross Road), I was letting my fingers do the walking through my downstairs bookcase – and plucked an old paperback “selection” of Thomas Creevey’s papers. Gosh! I remember when I first bought this: I hankered after the THREE books it was based on. Guess what? you can pretty much find them online now… Ah, it had taken at least some dusty stacks grabbing (if not storage…) to find the Maxwell edition. A lot of work to find them back then.
So here I’m posting links, including those of a “rival” John Wilson Croker.
Thomas Creevey (left) left letters – and if he DID leave diaries, they’ve not been traced and may have been “swallowed up” by those not wanting his thoughts and opinions to leak out. I hadn’t realized before: Born in 1768, Thomas Creevey was of an age with the likes of William Gosling and Eliza Chute!
My paperback is a reprint edition edited by John Gore, called Thomas Creevey’s Papers, 1793-1838.
I was reading Gore’s introduction last evening. Gore’s 1944 compilation had been preceded by Sir Herbert Maxwell’s 1904 2-volume set. Gore had worked not to duplicate items. Gore writes of Maxwell’s work “taking Edwardian London by storm”. We should all be so lucky…
Gore included an appendix about the possible parentage (father) of Thomas Creevey. This opening speaks VOLUMES to me: “Probably all who have to do with biography will acknowledge the fact that the truth too often comes to light after and not at the publication of a definitive biography, even of one which is the result of years of patient research.”
That, indeed, is a big fear of mine. Some BOMBSHELL will burst, exploding a supposition I’ve held and perhaps long cherished. I already have had a minor bombshell in a little mystery surrounding Lady Elizabeth Compton and her eventual husband Charles Scrase Dickins. One letter was all it took… And one letter disclosed that Maria Smith was sought in marriage by the young man, Mr Odell, who accompanied her brother Drummond on his trip to Italy — a trip that Drummond never returned from. And one letter in a published source led me to the diary of Lord Ossory that Ann in Ireland was kind enough to look through for me. All it takes is “one”. Gore finished his thought by saying “Truth will out . . . but reluctantly. One cannot obtain a warrant to search the attics of every country house…” (maybe not! but I’d LIKE TO do so) “…vital facts often come to light immediately after interest is aroused by the publication of a biography.”
- The Creevey Papers, edited by Sir Herbert Maxwell: vol I, vol II – this is via Internet Archive, but is a Google book. It looks like both volumes are in one. Another link; here’s a two-volume set: vol I; vol II. I like the “set” because vol II has a portrait of MRS Creevey – and you know I’d rather read about the ladies.
- Creevey’s Life and Times, edited by John Gore seems not online — yet?!
In reading the introduction, I was reminded of John Wilson Croker (below)- his works cover nearly the same period.
I can’t say much about either man – never read Croker and it’s been years since I’ve dipped into Creevey. I based a character in two short-stories on his sister. Should look into getting those stories published…