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THM/154 - Henry Arthur Jones Collection
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Henry Arthur Jones Collection

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154
Dates of Creation ca.1840s-1931
Name of Creator Henry Arthur Jones
Language of Material English
Physical Description 153 folders (12 boxes) and 27 items

Scope and Content

This collection consists of manuscripts (articles, lectures and speeches) notes and other written work, published output, correspondence between Jones and his family and acquiantances, photographs of Jones and his family, programmes and playbills related to his dramatic works and collected items of ephemera.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929) was an English dramatist and author. The son of a farmer, he was withdrawn from school at the age of 12 to begin working as a draper with his uncle. Following this he worked for a time as a commercial traveller. It wasn’t until the age of 27 that a dramatic work of his was first produced at a theatre. Only Round the Corner was staged in 1878 at the Exeter Theatre, swiftly followed by Hearts of Oak in 1879 at the same venue. The same year saw his first London staging; A Clerical Error, at the Court Theatre.

Gaining a commission from the manager of the Court he collaborated with Henry Herman on The Silver King, which was produced at the Princess’s Theatre in 1882 and was his first major success. A second collaboration with Herman resulted in Breaking a Butterfly (Prince’s, 1884), an English version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Other significant works include Saints and Sinners, (Vaudeville, 1884), The Middleman (Shaftesbury, 1889), Judah (Shaftesbury, 1890) and The Dancing Girl starring Herbert Beerbohm Tree (Haymarket, 1891), The Bauble Shop (produced by Charles Wyndham at the Criterion, 1993) The Case of Rebellious Susan (Criterion, 1894), Michael and his Lost Angel (Lyceum, 1896), The Liars (Criterion, 1898), Mrs Dane’s Defense (Wyndham’s Theatre, 1900), Mary Goes First (Playhouse, 1913) and The Lie (New Theatre, 1923).

Jones visited the USA a number of times during his career, eventually building a reputation as a dramatist and receiving an honorary degree at Harvard University. He also maintained a secondary career as an author and public speaker. He wrote two volumes on the theatre; The Renascence of the English Drama and The Foundations of a National Drama and spent his final years attacking the political views of George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells in print.

Having lost his wife Jane Seeley in 1924, he spent the last years of his life living with his daughter and secretary Doris. He died at home in 1929 after years of ill-health.


This collection has been organised into the following series:

  • THM/154/1 - Manuscripts of written work
  • THM/154/2 - Notebooks
  • THM/154/3 - Printed essays and pamphlets
  • THM/154/4 - Film scenarios
  • THM/154/5 - Correspondence
  • THM/154/6 - Images and photographs
  • THM/154/7 - Theatre programmes and playbills
  • THM/154/8 - Interview transcripts
  • THM/154/9 - Notes on an unpublished thesis on Henry Arthur Jones
  • THM/154/10 - Materials relating to the death of Henry Arthur Jones
  • THM/154/11 - Materials relating to the Jones family
  • THM/154/12 - Newspaper and periodicals cuttings
  • THM/154/13 - Henry Arthur Jones collection lists
  • THM/154/14 - Menu cards

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

The following items have been removed and added to the library collections:

Play manuscripts

  • A Bed of Roses, 1881
  • A Clerical Error, 1879
  • Cherry Ripe, undated
  • Fall in Rookies, 1910
  • Felisa, undated
  • Her Tongue, 1909
  • Home Again, undated
  • Honour Bright, 1879
  • Ingram, undated
  • James the Fogey, 1902
  • James the Fogey, undated
  • The Knife, 1909
  • Loo Valance, 1909
  • Lydia Gilmore, 1911
  • The Ogre, 1910
  • The Peony, undated
  • The Perfect Pacifist, undated
  • The Rogue’s Comedy, 1896
  • Sophie, 1909
  • Tom Tobin, Policeman, 1921
  • Venetia Superba, undated
  • Venturesome Naomi, undated
  • We Can’t be as Bad as all That, 1910
  • Untitled (fragment), 1910
  • Untitled, 1919
  • Untitled, 1922 (two drafts)
  • Untitled, undated
  • Untitled, undated (hardbound)

French play manuscripts

  • Les Menteurs (The Liars), undated
  • Michael et Son Ange Perdou (Michael and his Lost Angel), undated
  • Le Voile Soulevé (The Veil Lifted), undated

Printed play texts

  • The Crusaders, 1893
  • Mary Goes First, 1913
  • The Middleman, 1907
  • Mrs Dane’s Defence, 1900
  • The Rogue’s Gallery, 1896
  • The Sword of Gideon, 1905
  • Whitewashing Julia, 1903

Printed play text excerpt

  • The Wedding Guest, undated

Acquisition Information

This collection consists of the two separate acquisitions; both gifts of the granddaughters of Henry Arthur Jones in 1956 and 1957.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to Henry Arthur Jones may be found in the library collection (books, play manuscripts and pamphlets) as well as the biographical and productions files.

Please ask for details.

Personal Names

Herman, Henry. ( 1832-1894)
Ibsen, Henrik. ( 1828-1906)
Beerbohm Tree, Herbert. ( 1852-917)
Wyndham, Charles. ( 1837-1919)
Shaw, George Bernard. ( 1856-1950)
Wells, Herbert George. ( 1866-1946)

Cataloguing Info

Title Henry Arthur Jones Collection
Creation Created by Veronica Castro using the Archives Hub EAD Editor 2013-04-11

Manuscripts of written work

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1
Dates of Creation ca.1880s-1929
Physical Description 97 folders

Notes and drafts for dramatic works

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/1
Dates of Creation ca.1900s-1929
Physical Description 4 folders

Scope and Content

Series contains manuscript notes and fragments for various identified and unidentified dramatic works.

Loo Valance

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/1/1
Dates of Creation ca.1909
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains dialogue fragments and notes, undated.


Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/1/2
Dates of Creation ca.1910s-1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains notes and a brief action synopsis.

The Woman I Loved

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/1/3
Dates of Creation 1922
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains notes for the unfinished play, The Woman I Loved, 1922.

Unidentified works

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/1/4
Dates of Creation ca.1910s-1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains notes, one plot diagram and a detailed scene breakdown for several unidentified dramatic works.

Manuscripts and draft notes of books and pamphlets

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2
Dates of Creation 1910s-1924
Physical Description 14 folders

Scope and Content

Series contains full manuscript copies and draft notes for a number of published and unpublished books by Jones.

Manuscript copy of Bernard Shaw as a Thinker

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/1
Dates of Creation 1925
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains manuscript excerpts of Jones’'s book Bernard Shaw as a Thinker, published in 1925.

Manuscript draft notes for The Censorship Muddle and A way out of it

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/2
Dates of Creation 1909
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains draft notes and a printed first page of The Censorship Muddle and A way out of it, a letter addressed to the Right honourable Herbert Samuel, published in 1913 by the Chiswick Press, London.

Personal Names

Samuel, Herbert. 1st Viscount Samuel ( 1870-1963)

Manuscript draft notes for Foundations of a National Drama

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/3
Dates of Creation ca.1913
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains drafts for the title page dedication and preface, and an excerpt of Foundations of a National Drama, published in 1913.

Manuscript copy of Mr Mayor of Shakespeare’'s Town

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/4
Dates of Creation 1925
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one manuscript copy of Jones’'s 1925 pamphlet Mr Mayor of Shakespeare’'s Town.

Personal Names

Shakespeare, William. ( 1564-1616)

Manuscript copy of My Dear Wells

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/5
Dates of Creation 1921
Physical Description 3 folders (1 box)

Scope and Content

Contains one annotated manuscript copy (with notes) of Jones's My Dear Wells, published in 1921. The book consists of a series "of letters addressed to Mr HG Wells, upon Bolshevism, Collectivism, Internationalism, and the distribution of Wealth".

Personal Names

Wells, Herbert George. ( 1866-1946)

Manuscript copy of Patriotism and Popular Education

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/6
Dates of Creation 1919
Physical Description 4 folders (1 box)

Scope and Content

Contains one annotated manuscript copy of Jones's Patriotism and Popular Education, published in 1919. Includes a preface and chapter lists, with the majority written on headed note paper. Also includes a mock-up of the front page, with a printed copy of the same produced for the second edition.

Manuscript chapter of What is State?

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/7
Dates of Creation 1924
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one manuscript copy of Chapter 12, How We Managed our State Factory, from the unpublished book What is the State?, 1924.

Prefaces for unidentified works

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/8
Dates of Creation ca.1910s-1924
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains three manuscript prefaces for unidentified works, all undated.

Chapter for unidentified work

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/2/9
Dates of Creation ca.1910s-1924
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains a chapter titled Conditions in London for an unidentified work, undated.

Articles and essays - Theatre, Drama and the Arts

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/3
Dates of Creation ca.1883-1929
Physical Description 34 folders

Scope and Content

Contains copies of published and unpublished essays and articles by Jones on theatre, drama and the arts. All are manuscripts unless otherwise stated at item level.


Articles have been listed alphabetically rather than chronologically as not all are dated.

Where known, details such as publication name and the date of publication have been added at file level. In some cases full titles have been taken from original brown paper wrappers, which have been discarded.

Some publishing details are taken from Doris Jones's book Taking the Curtain Call, the Life and Letters of Henry Arthur Jones, (Macmillan, 1930).

After the Censorship Committee

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/3/1
Dates of Creation 1912
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Two drafts, unpublished, 1912.

The Aims and Duties of a National Theatre

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/3/2
Dates of Creation 1911
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

One draft, unpublished, 1911.

The Author and the Film Play

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/154/1/3/3
Dates of Creation ca.1922
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

One draft, publishing status unknown, undated.