[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.Hough:hou02177View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement

On July 16, 2018, OASIS will retire. It will be replaced by HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Please explore.
MS Thr 695

Novello, Ivor, 1893-1951. Ivor Novello papers, 1911-1956: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Thr 695
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Novello, Ivor, 1893-1951.
Title: Ivor Novello papers,
Date(s): 1911-1956.
Quantity: 1 collection (.5 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are primarily in English, with one item in French.
Abstract: Chiefly letters to Welsh actor and composer Ivor Novello from friends and fans; also contains correspondence concerning Novello or his estate, to or from Sir Edward Marsh, Christopher Hassall, Fred Allen, and others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2003MT-170. Purchase; received: 1998.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Susan Wyssen

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Ivor Novello Papers, 1911-1956 (MS Thr 695). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was born in Cardiff, Wales, to David Davies and Clare Novello Davies, a vocal teacher. Musically active as a child, he learned songs from his mother's many famous clients and showed an early talent for writing songs, having his first work published at age 15. He moved to London in 1913, and quickly became a favorite of Sir Edward Marsh, a well-known patron of the arts. He spent the first several years of his career working as a composer, but eventually added acting, both stage and film, to his repertoire. In the 1930s he composed and wrote a number of successful musicals, often partnering with Christopher Hassall. His work was immensely popular and his circle of friends included many famous film and stage actors, managers, and producers. Novello died at the age of 58.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

The papers consist mostly of manuscript and typescript letters, with some manuscript and typescript compositions; including two letters in the hand of Ivor Novello. The bulk of the letters are to Ivor Novello from friends and fans, especially fellow theater performers, concerning Novello's shows and social events. The correspondence of Edward Marsh, Novello's long-time patron, includes letters concerning Novello's assignment to do performance propaganda for England in Stockholm and general personal letters which often mention Novello. Christopher Hassall's correspondence is chiefly about his inheritance from the Novello estate and royalties on work created with Novello. The compositions are largely about Novello, except for one piece, in French, about John Hassall. The papers also include further material about Novello's estate, including a list of borrowed artwork and notes from a meeting of trustees.


This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Container List