RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 341
Date1 April 1967
Extent2 items
TitleLetter from Daphne du Maurier concerning 'The Loving Spirit' and the Slade family of Polruan
DescriptionThe letter was written in response to a request by Helen Doe for information on the Slades of Polruan. Doe later went on to research the history of the family and publish her book 'Jane Slade of Polruan'. The letter shows the inspiration for both characters and the structure of du Maurier's first published novel.
Admin HistoryDaphne du Maurier (1907-1989), novelist, was the daughter of the actor Sir Gerald du Maurier (1873-1934), and his wife Muriel, and the granddaughter of the artist and novelist George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (1834-1896), artist and novelist. Daphne du Maurier grew up in Cumberland Terrace, London, and Cannon Hall, Hampstead, but her family developed strong links with Cornwall after buying a riverside house near Fowey, and it was in Cornwall that Daphne settled. Du Maurier is best remembered for her most famous novels, 'Jamaica Inn' (1936) and 'Rebecca' (1938) but she began publishing stories and articles in 1928. This letter relates to her first novel, 'The Loving Spirit', which was published in 1931 by Heineman. She conducted research into the Slade family for the novel to which she added her imaginative input to construct the fiction. Du Maurier used this technique again in some of her later stories and biographical portraits.
In 1932 she married Frederick A. M. Browning, later Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick (d 1965); they had one son and two daughters.

Helen Doe is an author and maritime historian who has published widely. She is a direct descendent of the Slade family of Polruan.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialThe library holds the following papers relating to Daphne du Maurier and her family, EUL MS 144, 206, 207, 276, 301, 307, 341, 342, 346, 351, 354, 359, 363, 400, 456, 462 463, 464. Other papers of Daphne du Maurier, particularly her letters, are held at many other repositories including the following: Bath Reference Library; Bodleian Library; BBC Written Archives Centre; British Library Department of Manuscripts; Cambridge University Library; Eton College Library; Manchester University (John Rylands Library); National Library of Scotland; Princeton University Library Manuscripts Division, USA; Rhodes House Library; University of Durham Library; University of Bradford Library; University of Bristol Library; University of Warwick (Modern Records Centre); West Yorkshire Archive Service. Sound recordings of interviews with du Maurier are held at the British Library National Sound Archive. Papers relating to George du Maurier are held at the following repositories: Pierpont Morgan Library, USA; Huntington Library, USA; Victoria and Albert Museum (National Art Library); National Library of Scotland; Dorset County Museum. Papers relating to Guy du Maurier (1865-1915) are held at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, USA. A duplicate copy of the Sylvia Llewelyn-Davies memorial photograph album (EUL MS 207/3/1) is held at the National Portrait Gallery.
Access ConditionsUsual EUL arrangements apply.
Finding_AidsListed. See Description.
Creator_NameMaurier, Daphne du (1907-1989); author
Doe, Helen; author and maritime historian
Mgt_GroupLiterary papers
Historical papers
DS/UK/118Maurier; Daphne du (1907-1989); author1907-1989
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