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Philip Gibbs Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Feb 1989

Biographical History

Philip Gibbs (1877-1962) was a British journalist, novelist, and lecturer.

Sir Philip Hamilton Gibbs was born in 1877 in London, England to Helen Hamilton and Henry Gibbs. He is best remembered for his work as a war correspondent during the First World War. At the outset of war, Gibbs travelled to France to report for the Daily Chronicle. Gibbs was chosen as one of the five accredited correspondents for Allied Forces during the war. As a result of his contributions, he was made a Knight of the Order of the British Empire in 1920. He died in March 1962.

Selected Works

1900 The Street of Adventure
1914 Beauty and Nick, a Novel of the Stage and the Home--the Artistic Temperament in Fateful Action
1915 The Soul of the War
1920 Back to Life
Now It Can Be Told
Realities of War
1923 Adventures in Journalism
The Middle of the Road; a Novel
1926 Young Anarchy
1930 Since Then; the Disturbing Story of the World at Peace
1934 European Journey
1935 England Speaks
1937 Ordeal in England (England Speaks Again)
1938 Across the Frontiers
1939 Broken Pledges
This Nettle, Danger
1941 Sons of the Others, a Novel

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Philip Gibbs Letters are a collection of 51 outgoing items written between 1900 and 1928 by the British journalist, novelist and lecturer. With the exception of a group of twelve personal letters written in 1901 to Mrs. Suverkrop and a single item to Christie Murray (10 Nov 1925), most of the correspondence is of a business nature. The letters include suggestions and discussions about Gibbs's work with his literary agent Curtis Brown and his assistant, Miss Easterbrook. Included among the letters are arrangements to have Gibbs's manuscripts typed and distributed, discussions concerning financial and legal commitments, suggestions for serialization of Gibbs's novel, Back to Life, and placement of various of Gibbs's work in Harper's Magazine, Ladies' Home Journal, and McClure's Magazine. Also included in the collection are a series of four letters written between 1916 and 1928 to American lecture agent James B. Pond, who offered to represent Gibbs in arranging a lecture tour of the United States. Responding to one of these proposals, Gibbs writes (23 May 1928):

...nothing except extreme destitution would persuade me to give another lecture tour! I found it killing work and I am a rotten lecturer.

As a journalist who established his reputation during World War I, Gibbs was often approached concerning possible topics for books about war-time experiences. After considering the possibility of writing about the Scottish contribution to the war effort, Gibbs writes to Curtis Brown (21 May 1919):

The truth is, that apart altogether from time, when I sat down to write about the heroic deeds of the Scots I felt that in a psychological way I simply could not do it. The only thing I want to write now about the war is absolute realism, giving the plain unvarnished truth of its misery and abomination, as well as its heroism. A romantic narrative of the Scots in action, such as would be necessary for a school book, would not only be very false in its picture, but would, I know, damage my reputation in the larger sense. It would be nothing but a pot-boiler at its best, and I think the time has come when I ought to give up writing pot-boilers.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains one series, Correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically by recipient.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Brown, Curtis, 1866-
Gibbs, Philip, 1877-1962.
Pond, James B. (James Burton), 1838-1903.


Authors, English -- 20th century.
Authors, English -- Correspondence.
Journalists -- Great Britain.
Lectures and lecturing -- United States.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Philip Gibbs Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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