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Constance Savery papers

Identifier: Coll 471

Scope and Contents

The Constance Savery papers include correspondence, work diaries, drafts and typescripts, ephemera, personal documents, published material, photographs, and artifacts. Correspondence includes incoming letters from Savery’s family, but the collection is primarily composed of letters exchanged between Constance Savery and a fan of Savery’s writing, Agneta Thomson of Sweden. Savery and Thomson began exchanging letters in 1989 when Thomson requested some publication information, and the two remained pen pals until Savery’s death in 1999. The subseries ‘Agneta Thomson’ includes all correspondence between Savery and Thomson arranged in chronological order from 1989-1999, with a numerical index prepared by Agneta Thomson. The second subseries, ‘Others,’ contains other incoming correspondence to Constance Savery, as well as correspondence exchanged between Thomson and Hummerstone (a relation of Savery’s) regarding the death of Savery.

The diaries in the collection detail Savery's daily work on publications. The collection also includes many unpublished typescripts and manuscripts of Savery’s writing. The ‘Chapbooks’ subseries contains over 100 color facsimiles of Savery’s publications (many excerpted from anthologies or scanned from unpublished typescripts). These chapbooks were produced by Eric Schonblom, and contain the bookplate of Agneta Thomson.

The News Clippings and Ephemera series includes unused postcards, mementos of Savery’s father, newsletters, church programs, and papers related to the Somerville College 75-year reunion (which Savery attended as a representative of the first cohort of women to receive degrees from Oxford). Personal documents include royalty receipts and contracts exchanged between Savery and some of her publishers, including Longman’s, Green and Co., and Bethlehem Books.

The Publications and Articles series includes material not written by Savery; the majority of these are Swedish works sent to Savery from Agneta Thomson. The Photographs series includes some portraits of Savery, though many are photos of Thomson and the gifts she sent to Savery. There are also two copies of a photograph of Savery and Thomson together at their only in-person meeting in England (ca. 1993). The Artifacts series includes a small leather souvenir, and two Maria Ahren dolls belonging to Agneta Thomson. Thomson named these dolls were “Miles” and “Giles,” and were the subject of many stories and letters between Savery and Thomson.


  • 1913-1999


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Constance Winifred Savery was born in Froxfield, Wiltshire in England on October 31, 1897, the eldest of five daughters of Reverend John Manly Savery. The Savery family moved to Birmingham when Constance was eleven years old where she attended the King Edward VI High School for Girls. She received a scholarship to study English literature at Somerville College, Oxford in 1917, and became one of the first women to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oxford in 1920.

She later received a post-graduate diploma in Secondary Education at Birmingham University, and taught for several years. Savery’s teaching career came to an end with the death of her mother, as she chose to return to assist her father with his parish work in Middleton, Suffolk. She never returned to teaching, but instead established a career as a writer, publishing over 50 books and short stories of juvenile fiction in her lifetime. Some notable titles include Green Emeralds for the King (1938), The Reb and the Redcoats (1961), and Enemy Brothers (1943). Her final publication in 1980 was a completion of Charlotte Brontë’s unfinished manuscript, Emma. The authors of Savery’s version are cited as “Charlotte Brontë and Another Lady.” Constance Savery died in Stroud, Gloucestershire on March 2, 1999.

[Sources: Biographical notes in Coll 471; Tucker, N. (1999) ‘Obituary: Constance Savery’ Independent, 17 Mar]


5.25 linear feet (11 containers)


The papers of Constance Savery, English-born author known primarily for her children's and young adult novels, are comprised of correspondence, work diaries, drafts and typescripts, ephemera, personal documents, published material, photographs, and artifacts.


Collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Correspondence Series II: Diaries Series III: Writings Series IV: News Clippings and Ephemera Series V: Personal Documents Series VI: Publications and Articles Series VII: Photographs Series VIII: Artifacts

Processing Information

Collection processed by Alexa Goff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Constance Savery papers
Revise Description
Alexa Goff and Rachel Lilley.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA