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Collection of 25 Autograph Letters and Notes Signed "Alfred Sharpe" to "Dear Colles" - his Literary Agent William Morris Colles, with a number of topics touched, including Sharpe's prospective book about his travels Central Africa, polemics with the Labour Party's idea of Postwar International Administration of Equatorial Africa, and politics in the Balkans during WWI].
1915 - Various places in Britain (the majority - Elmhurst, Lancaster), 1915-1918. Various sizes, from Small Octavo (ca. 17,5x11 cm) to Quarto (ca. 23x19,5 cm). 39 pp. in total. Brown ink on various paper (blue laid paper, blue San Remo linen paper, white "Basildon Bond" paper et al.). Eighteen letters with blind stamped address "Elmhurst, Lancaster" on the upper margin, and two with the "Pl√Ęs Nantyr, Glyn" iink stamp; one letter on the printed form of "Euston Hotel, London", and one - on the form of the "Royal Societies Club, St. James's Street, London". All but one letters with the ink stamp "Received" on the first page, specifying the date of reception; all letters with blue pencil numbers apparently put by Colles. Mild fold marks, holes in one of the corners after the letters having been stapled together, some letters with minor creases and tears on the margins, but overall a very good archive of interesting letters written in a legible hand. Very interesting historically important archive of Sir Alfred Sharpe, British traveller and colonial administrator in Central Africa, who was actively engaged in the formation of the British Central Africa Protectorate (after 1964 - Malawi), became its High Commissioner (1896-1907) and later, when the colony was renamed to Nyasaland - its first governor (1907-1910). Sharpe was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) since 1891, received its Cuthbert Peak Award in 1898 and became a member of the Society's Council in 1913-1917. Much of the collection relates to the history of writing and publication of Sharpe's memoirs about his travels in Africa. The first documents regarding this date from the end of 1916 (Nov 24 and Dec 11) when Sharpe had the diaries of his journey to South Africa retyped and sent to Colles "together with 100 photos from which a choice - or all - can be taken". After that Sharpe went on another trip, writing to Colles: "I leave for Africa on Friday" (11 Dec, 1916), and already in July 1917 he sent to the agent "notes on my last journey" (9 Jul, 1917). From this time starts long correspondence about different aspects of the prospective book: what stories should be included, what should be edited or revised; whether it is possible to find paper to print a book (in wartime) et al. Some examples of the correspondence about "the Book": Sharpe is talking about his travel to the German East Africa in 1904 - "to the magnificent high district immediately north of Lake Nyasa". He encloses the diary he kept at the time saying that he can "complete a running narrative out of it" (5 March, 1918). "I can make out say 2000 or 3000 words on the German Kondeland - with a general description of that nice country, and the notes of the journey I sent you. Let me know if you want it" (6 March, 1918), "You said I owe a paper - Here is one of the Cape to Cairo fetish [?] Would it do also to incorporate as a chapter in the book?" (9 March, 1918). Sharpe's book was eventually published in 1921 by H.F. & G. Witherby under the title "The Backbone of Africa: A record of Travel During the Great War, with Some Suggestions for Administrative Reform." Other letters from the collection reveal a number of different interesting subjects: four letters touch on the idea of post-war international administration of the Equatorial Africa suggested by the Labour Party, the idea which Sharpe was a passionate opponent of: "What on earth the Labour Gentlemen have to do with our African possessions ; Their idea of a mixed up Africa governed by a mixed up international Govt is of course a farce. Does anyone really looks on it seriously?" (2 Jan, 1918). The other letters are dedicated to the article by H.G. Wells which supported the Labour's idea and was published in the Daily Mail (30 Jan 1918) under the title "The African Riddle". Sharpe wrote a reply article for the Daily Mail for 1000 words - and is asking Colles to find a magazine to publish it (5 Feb, 1918).
      [Bookseller: The Wayfarer's Bookshop, ABAC/ILAB/PBFA]
Last Found On: 2013-10-18           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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