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Michael Richey papers 2

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS321
The Michael Richey Papers Part 2 consists of original correspondence from personal friends and members of the Richey family and printed material including clippings, journals, and magazines featuring articles by and about Michael Richey. A portion of the correspondence comes from the notable circle of artists who congregated at the home of sculptor Eric Gill, on Pigotts Farm in Buckinghamshire. These include Gill, Anthony Foster, and Rene Hague. Another portion of the correspondence springs from Richey's involvement with sailing and navigation. These correspondents include H.G. "Blondie" Hasler, Prince Philip, and Eva G.R. Taylor. Correspondence is also included from other well-known acquaintances such as Harman Grisewood, Shirley Hazzard, Ken Thompson, and Evelyn Waugh. The collection also includes correspondence of the Richey family. Contained here are the letters Michael and his brother Paul wrote to their parents during their schooldays at Downside Abbey and later that Michael wrote from Pigotts Farm where he was working as an apprentice. When World War II broke out, Michael was aboard ships with the British Navy and wrote to his parents detailed descriptions of his days. There are letters here also from Michael's father, George, written to his wife, Adelaide (Michael's mother), while he was serving in World War I. Throughout the collection there are scattered a few photographs and short manuscripts. Michael Richey has very kindly provided annotations to many of the letters, indicated with an asterisk (*). The complete annotations may be found in Box 2 Folder 65 of this collection.

SERIES SYNOPSIS: The Michael Richey Papers Part 2 are arranged into two series. SERIES: 1. Correspondence DESCRIPTION: Correspondence written mostly to Michael Richey from personal friends. Also includes photographs and manuscripts. b/w - black and white (photograph) SERIES: 2. Richey Family Correspondence DESCRIPTION: Correspondence written by Michael and Paul Richey to their parents, George and Adelaide Richey. Correspondence written by George Richey to his wife, Adelaide. Also includes photographs, manuscripts, and other correspondence. SERIES: 3. Printed Material DESCRIPTION: Clippings, journals, and magazines featuring articles by and about Michael Richey. Includes issues of Observer, Die Yacht, The Journal of Navigation, Soundings: The Nation's Boating Newspapers, ; and Navigation News.

******* ABBREVIATIONS: ACS - Autograph Card Signed ALS - Autograph Letter Signed b/w - black and white (photograph) TCS - Typed Card Signed TL - Typed Letter TLS - Typed Letter Signed *******


  • 1897-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1940-2000

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.


1.04 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Biographical note

Michael Richey was born in England in 1917 and spent much of his childhood abroad. He attended school at Downside Abbey and considered becoming a Trappist monk upon graduation in 1935. His parents were opposed to this idea and he instead went to work as an apprentice to Eric Gill, the stone carver, at Pigotts Farm, High Wycombe. Among the artists there, Richey met life-long friends including David Jones and Rene Hague. Richey joined the British Navy in 1939 and was stationed aboard many ships including the minesweeper H.M.S. Goodwill which was destroyed in 1940. At the end of the war, he was involved with the German U-boat surrenders. Throughout the war and after its conclusion, Richey was gaining skills in ship navigation and, in 1946, became the first director of the Royal Institute of Navigation. Richey then became involved with long-distance sailing and racing. He bought his boat, Jester, in 1964 from H.G. "Blondie" Hasler and made twelve single-handed trans-atlantic passages. The final passage was made in 1996 when Richey was 80 years old. Richey was forced to abandon the original Jester during a storm in 1988; he sailed a replica Jester for the remaining passages. In 2004 he was awarded the first Necco Award, an annual presentation by the International Association of Institutes of Navigation. He holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest man to have crossed the Atlantic single-handed.

Paul Richey was born in 1917 and attended school at the Institut Fisher in Switzerland and at Downside in England. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1937 and trained as a fighter pilot. He was severely wounded at the Battle of France in 1940 and again shot down in 1941. In 1942 he was a wing-commander in the India-Burma Theatre. He continued on as commander in the Air Force until 1952. He was married three times and has five children. His famous book, Fighter Pilot, was first published in 1941 and recounts the experiences he had with No. 1 Squadron in the air battles that preceded the fall of France in 1940. Lieutenant-Colonel George H.M. Richey was born in 1867. He served in the British military beginning in 1884 and fought in the Matabele War, the Mashona rebellion, and the Boer War. He spent four years as a commander in the trenches during World War I. At the beginning of the war, he was second in command of the 23rd (1st Sportsman's) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and went on to command the 1st Battalion of the regiment. After holding a number of other commands in France, Egypt and Palestine, he was badly wounded in 1917 at Ypres. From 1925 until 1929 he assisted in the organization of the Albanian Gendarmerie. He died in 1949.

[Biographical Sources: McCormick, Herb. "Last but not Least," in Cruising World, February 1997. Annotations to the Michael Richey Papers Part 2, Special Collections Division, Georgetown University Library, Washington, D.C. Richey, Paul. Fighter Pilot. Leo Cooper: London, 1990.]
Michael Richey papers 2
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository