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Evelyn Waugh - Mary Lygon Collection

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS294

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Evelyn Waugh - Mary Lygon Letters consist of over eighty letters sent from English Catholic novelist Evelyn Waugh to his close friend Lady Mary Lygon. Providing good documentary material about Waugh's life, the letters discuss mutual friends, travel, and other aspects of Waugh's life. The letters are contained in 83 archival folders in one archival box (0.5 linear feet).


  • 1930 - 1976
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1939

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical notes

Evelyn Waugh was an English Catholic writer known for his satirical novels. Born in London in 1903, Waugh studied at Lancing College, Sussex, and Hertford College, Oxford. Soon he devoted himself to writing novels, and he made a name for himself with his satirical writings. In World War II, he served in the Royal Marines and the Royal Horse Guards, and he participated in a military operation to help the Yugoslav Partisans in 1944. Waugh's novels before 1939 include "Decline and Fall" (1928), "Vile Bodies" (1930), "Black Mischief" (1932), "A Handful of Dust" (1934), and "Scoop" (1938). His postwar works, which are more serious in nature, include "Brideshead Revisited" (1945), "Helena" (1950), "Men at Arms" (1952), "Officers and Gentlemen" (1955), and "Unconditional Surrender" (1961). Evelyn Waugh died on April 10, 1966. [Source: "Encyclopedia Britannica Online."]

Lady Mary Lygon was a close friend of Evelyn Waugh. She was the daughter of the 7th Earl of Beaucamp and Lady Lettice Grosvenor, who was a grand-daughter of the 1st Duke of Westminster. Mary was the sixth youngest of seven children. She was called "Maimie" by many and "Blondy" by Waugh. In 1939, Lady Mary Lygon married H.H. Prince Vsevolode Joannovitch of Russia, who worked for Saccone & Speed, wine merchants. The Lygon family has been thought by some to have inspired the Marchmain family in Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited." [Sources: Appendix of Names. "The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh." ed. Michael Davie. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1976. "The Letters of Evelyn Waugh." ed. by Mark Amory. New Haven and New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1980.]


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Evelyn Waugh - Mary Lygon Collection
Scott S. Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057