Literary and personal papers, 1909-1953, of Joyce Anstruther Placzek (`Jan Struther`) (1901-1953), with related papers, 1954-2010. Edit




  • 1909-2010. (Creation)


  • 1.92 linear metres (Whole)
    15 albums, approximately 30 files of loose papers (removed from lever-arch binders) and 27 small diaries and notebooks.

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  • Scope and Contents

    Joyce Anstruther Placzek, writing as ‘Jan Struther’, is best known for creating ‘Mrs Miniver’, the character who - particularly as played by Greer Garson in the 1942 Hollywood film - did so much to swing public opinion in the USA towards joining the Allied war effort. The London-born daughter of Henry Torrens Anstruther, a Scottish Liberal MP, Joyce Anstruther married into the Maxtone Grahams, a Perthshire landowning family. She led a privileged if occasionally impecunious life, making a fairly regular income from articles and poems published in newspapers and magazines. These are all faithfully preserved in 16 large albums of press cuttings. `Mrs Miniver` first appeared as a fortnightly character in `The Times`, and the articles were collected and published under the eponymous title in 1939. On the back of the book’s American success, Joyce Maxtone Graham travelled to the USA in 1940 to undertake lecture tours promoting British-American relations, but also to meet up again with Dolf Placzek, a Viennese refugee with whom she had begun an affair in London before the war. The hundreds of letters which she wrote to Dolf, whom she married in 1948, are in the collection. In the USA, Jan Struther appeared regularly on radio shows and on the lecture tour circuit. She was a keen supporter of the Democratic Party and the correspondence files contain some letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Adlai Stevenson. The papers include several travel journals, and manuscripts and typescripts of many articles, verses, songs and hymns - which she had a gift for writing, despite her own agnosticism. Also significant are the manuscripts of two unfinished works: an autobiography, and ‘Cactus and Columbine’ which was to have been her book about the USA, where she lived for most of the last 10 years of her life.

    In addition to her own papers, and generally filed alongside the relevant manuscripts, are related documents (mostly newspaper and journal articles) collected after Joyce Placzek`s death.

  • Appraisal

    Everything has been retained, other than a few duplicated copies of songs. Photocopies have been made of a few very fragile papers for conservation reasons and for ease of consultation.

  • Arrangement

    The Jan Struther archive was arranged and listed by her son, Robert Maxtone Graham. It remains in the order in which it was received, other than a slight reshuffle to bring together the notes and manuscript of ‘Cactus and Columbine’. The fonds is arranged into the following series:

    1-16. Albums of published articles and verse; with related press cuttings.

    17. Small format notebooks and diaries.

    18-19. Prose.

    20-22. Verses, songs and hymns.

    23. Juvenilia.

    24-26. Plays.

    27-29. Autobiography.

    30-35. Travel writing and journals.

    36-38. Contracts and other work-related papers.

    39-41. Miscellaneous personal papers.

    42-47. Correspondence.

    48. Biographical material.

    49. Catalogue.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    Normal access conditions apply.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.

  • Other Finding Aids

    Inventory available.

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Presented, 2010, by Mr R Maxtone Graham, Sandwich.13 December 2010

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