An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband (1894)

First produced by Lewis Waller at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, 3 January 1895.

First US production by Daniel Frohman at the Lyceum, New York, March 12, 1895. Acting rights in America owned by Charles Frohman, Empire Theatre, New York.

First published in book form by Leonard Smithers, London, July 1899. (https://bit.ly/3ch2C9E)


GENESIS

“The writing of An Ideal Husband started in June 1893 at Goring-on-Thames and proceeded until 19 February 1894, when the final typescript was apparently completed by Mrs. Marshall’s typing service on the Strand.“ (Lich, p. 46)

“Dear Stuart [?Merrill], I am so sorry I am not in town but I am away in the country by the river – divided in interest between paddling a canoe and planning a comedy – and finding that life in meadow and stream is far more complex than is life in streets and salons.“ (letter to an unidentified correspondent, June 1893, Complete Letters, p. 567)

“The moment, in the early December of the year [1893] to which I have been alluding, I had succeeded in inducing your mother to send you out of England, I collected again the torn and ravelled web of my imagination, got my life back into my own hands, and not merely finished the three remaining acts of The Ideal Husband, but conceived and had almost completed two other plays of a completely different type, the Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane, when suddenly, unbidden, unwelcome, and under circumstances fatal to my happiness you returned. The two works left then imperfect I was unable to take up again. The mood that created them I could never recover.“ (letter [De Profundis] to Lord Alfred Douglas, January – March 1897, Reading prison, ibid. pp. 686-7)

“Hare [John Hare, English actor-manager] returns to town early next week. I am going to make an effort to induce him to see that my new play is a masterpiece, but I have grave doubts.“ (letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, c. 20 December 1893, ibid., p. 578)

“I have finished three acts of the play for Hare, and will do the fourth in the next fortnight … .“ (letter to Lewis Waller, c. 6 January 1894, ibid., p. 581)

“Dear Miss Robins, Nothing is settled yet about my new play; indeed it is not finished.“ (letter to Elizabeth Robins, ?early February 1894, ibid., p. 584)

“I am writing a play, and go to St. James’s Place, number 10, where I have rooms, every day at 11.30. Come on Tuesday about 12.30, will you?“ (letter to Ralph Payne, 12 February 1894, ibid., p. 585)

“Wilde rented rooms at this address from October 1893 until the end of March 1894, and went there daily to work. Most of The Ideal Husband was written there.“ (ibid., p. 573n)

“Dear Sir, I will send you a manuscript copy of my play, a little incomplete, but still enough to give you an idea of its ethical scheme.“ (letter to Philip Houghton [artist], ?late February 1894, ibid., p. 586) 

“The play Wilde sent him [Philip Houghton] may have been An Ideal Husband, of which the typescript was stamped 19 February 94 by Mrs Marshall’s typing agency in the Strand.“ (ibid., p. 586n)

“Clause 4. You are to arrange for the production of the play not later than February the first 1895 and I am to be consulted as to the theatre and as to the cast of the play. It is understood that I shall have no objection to its being produced at the Trafalgar or Shaftesbury or Court Theatres but that I should object to the Avenue Theatre.“ (Clause four of Oscar Wilde’s autograph letter of agreement, assigning the English {and Australian) performing rights in An Ideal Husband to Waller and Morell, 20 April 1894, quoted in Sturgis, Wildeana, p. 206)

“In the summer of 1894, Wilde’s American agent, Elisabeth Marbury, was the intermediary for a complicated deal with [Charles] Frohman, involving proposed changes to An Ideal Husband, but this time linked with an option on Wilde’s next play. ‘When you make the changes and improvements in the M.S. – and return the play to his satisfaction, he will then pay you £300 cash with the understanding that for this sum and for the £300 already paid to you that he shall own the piece; – but (on account of your giving him first option on your next modern comedy) he further agrees to give you, subsequent to the first 150 performances, – for each and every group of 50 performances, – a payment of £150, – until you shall have received a sum total of £1000.’ She concluded: ‘If you decide upon these new terms I will send you the suggestions of changes made by Mr Frohman.“ (quoted in Raby, “The Origins of The Importance of Being Earnest“, p. 141)

“Wilde did not complete this play with the same fluency as its predecessors; managers raised a number of objections – John Hare declined it, thinking the last act unsatisfactory – and it was not put into rehearsal at the Haymarket, this time under Lewis Waller and H. H. Morell, until the end of 1894..“ (Raby, “Wilde’s Comedies of Society“, in Raby (ed.), The Cambridge Companion, p. 156)

“You said you would publish An Ideal Husband. That is delightful of you. The manuscript is in Lewis Waller’ possession, type-written. I will write to him for it [see below no. 17]. … My own manuscript – as all my things – disappeared at the seizure of my house.“  (letter to Leonard Smithers, ?29 October 1897, Complete Letters, p. 975)

“Immediately upon the publication of The Importance of Being Earnest, in February 1899, work started on An Ideal Husband, which was then published without delay in July 1899.“ (Lich, p. 47)

“My dear Smithers, I am sending you off the manuscript [An Ideal Husband]. I think it reads well now. Corrections are a great trouble – worse than a new play. I am quite exhausted.“ (18 March 1899, Complete Letters, p. 1130)

“The numerous manuscript versions of An Ideal Husband belie Wilde’s self-created myth of careless but inspired composition. In fact, he expended immense time and energy in taking each act through up to nine different versions to reach the final published edition of 1899.“ (Eltis, Revising Wilde, p. 134)

“I read a great deal, and correct the proofs of An Ideal Husband, shortly to appear. It reads rather well, and some of its passages seem prophetic of tragedy to come.“ (letter to Reginald Turner, 20 March 1899, Complete Letters, p. 1132

“It seems certain, from the letter of 26 March [to Robert Ross, see below] and other references, that it was in fact a manuscript or typescript that Wilde was correcting.“ (ibid., p. 1132n)

“Acts 3 and 4 have arrived, beautifully typewritten. I will send them on Tuesday.“ (letter to Leonard Smithers, Saturday [Postmark 25 March 1899], ibid., p. 1135)

“My dear Robbie, I am sending two acts of the new play (Ideal Husband) to Smithers, after corrections. When they are set uphold you look over them and see that the ‘wills’ and ‘shalls’ are not too Hibernian? Also, I have put in descriptions of the dramatis personae, and I don’t much like giving physical details about the bodies whose souls, or minds, or passions, I deal with. (letter to Robert Ross, 26 March 1899, ibid., pp. 1135-6)

“It was four years since this play had been performed. Wilde had no rehearsal copy, and was forced to try to remember the alterations and improvements that had been made in rehearsals.“ (ibid., p. 1130n)
[but see Lich, p. 48: Wilde had almost certainly Lewis Waller’s rehearsal copy from which he made his corrections and additions. And: “Had laborious corrections been made to page proofs, the first edition text which Smithers published just over two months later would vary considerably from the text of the typescript in the Lewis Collection [see below no. 17]. Collation with the first edition of July 1899, however, shows no substantive variation from the so-called printer’s copy typescript of the play. This printer’s copy typescript, on the other hand, does show extensive handwritten changes – on every page – in two distinctly different hands: Wilde’s and, I suspect, Waller’s.“]

“For analytic purposes, we can divide Wilde’s work on An Ideal Husband into three stages: an initial stage of sketching the play in a fragmentary way in notebooks (mid 1893); a long intermediate stage in which the four acts are sufficiently conceived as a whole to be turned into typed drafts that are then revised by hand and retyped for further revisions and retyping until ultimately a typescript is produced that becomes the basis for the first performance (late 1893 – 2 January 1895); and a final stage in which Wilde revises the acting version for publication as a book (1899). … The Oscar Wilde who made the late revisions was in some regards not the Wilde who wrote the manuscript and revised the typescripts for performance. Moreover, in 1899, when the play was published, his audience had also altered in both its composition and its attitudes.“ (Riquelme, pp. 290-1)

NOTES, DRAFTS, MANUSCRIPTS

Version

Present Location

Shelfmark

Provenance

Notes

1. Two Autograph Notebooks

[19 June 1893]

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

W6721M2 I19

no digital copy

1929

Wilde, Oscar.
An ideal husband.
Bound nos. 1 + 2; Dulau 2.; English; Wilde W6721M2 I19.
Reel: 22, Item Nos. 39 and 40

An ideal husband. 1893
2 MS. Notebooks. Notebooks covered with brown paper jackets. Early original draft of the play.“

“An Ideal Husband.
2 MS. notebooks. 8×6
1/2x1/2 in.
Early original draft of the play.
Notebooks covered with brown papers jackets.
Without typescript.
Dulau 2.“
(
Finzi 2454)

“There are two early notebooks in the Clark identified with a single call number, W6721M2 I19 [1893] and catalogued as ‘Early original draft of the play.’ The longer of the two …consists of twenty-two pages of material that is largely destined for act 1. The second notebook, which contains the title page …, includes, besides that title page, some notes about act 4 on the verso of the cover (facing the title page), and, following the title page, a character list, a ’Scenario’ for all four acts, separate pages with characters grouped for each act, and the notes for acts 2 through 4.“
(Riquelme, p. 312n8)

[see below no. 7: Prescott notes Act III]

“Possibly the first MS draft of the play; in 2 AMS lined notebooks. Acts I & II are in notebook 1; Acts III & IV are in notebook 2. Both have heavy deletions, revisions and additions in Wilde’s hand. The second book is inscribed: ‘June 19, 93 / Bosie present / The Cottage, / Goring / and contains a list of characters and a rough scenario.“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 136)

A Collection of Original Manuscripts, Letters and Books of Oscar Wilde, including his letters written to Robert Ross from Reading Gaol and Unpublished Letters, Poems & Plays formerly in the Possession of Robert Ross, C. S. Millard (Stuart Mason) and the Younger Son of Oscar Wilde, Dulau & Company, London, n. d. [1928],  item 2

“AN IDEAL HUSBAND. The original ms., written mostly in pencil and contained in two exercise books, of an early, probably the first draft of this play. There is also a draft in the British Museum [no. 10] which Stuart Mason [Bibliog. p. 436] believes to contain the earliest version of Act IV. He bases his belief on the ground that Mabel Chilton (sic) is named Violet up to page 216, when her name is changed to Mabel. In the present version she is called Violet throughout. Mason refers to this version [no. 1] as ’Another, still more fragmentary … dated June 19, 1893’. In point of fact close examination of this MS. shows that all the essential features of the play, and most of its dialogue, including much of that was not used, are present. There is a title-page which is dated, as mentioned by Mason, and has the note: ‘Bosie present. The Cottage, Goring.’ There is a scenario of the whole play and, in addition, of some of the separate acts … £250“

Vyvyan Holland

Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

[Christopher Millard or Vyvyan Holland may have repurchased these notebooks at the Hodgson & Co. sale and later put them into their Dulau collection.

It is rather unusual that a manuscript offered at the Dulau sale had already been offered at an earlier auction. Thus, this provenance cannot be determined with absolute certainty]

????

A Catalogue of a Collection of Rare English Black-Letter Books, the Property of a Gentleman; Valuable Books from the Library of the late Rt. Hon. C. G. Milnes Gaskell, with Other Properties, Hodgson & Co, London, 26-27 June 1924, lot 323

“First or early sketch drafts of ‘An Ideal Husband,’ Comedy in Four Acts (1899), being rough notes as to the characters, incidents in the plot, and dialogue, written on about 86 pages in 2 quarto note-books, one dated ‘June 19, ’93, The Cottage, Goring’ .“

“Besides the unpublished Wilde manuscript [‘The Woman Covered with Jewels’] in the sale at Hodgson’s there are the holograph manuscripts of the last part of Wilde’s essay ‘The Rise of Historical Criticism’; the greater part of the manuscript of ‘The Duchess of Padua’; the original first draft of ‘Vera; or, The Nihilists’; the first draft of ‘A Woman of No Importance’ and the second draft, with the first  inception of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ which Wilde commenced under the title of ‘The Guardian’; an early sketch of ‘An Ideal Husband’ and the typescript of the first act, together with a typed revision. … It is notable that in the first copy the title is deleted and ‘The foolish Journalist’ substituted, and afterwards struck out. In the revised copy the title is omitted altogether.“
(
The Bookman, New York, vol. LIX, August 1924, [p. 782])

[Gaskell was probably not the owner of Wilde’s manuscripts, judging by the catalogue entry: “Other Properties“

2. Autograph Notebook

11 pages

fragments of Act III

[189-?]

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

W6721M2 N911

no digital copy

purchased in September 1951, from Ivor Poole

Wilde, Oscar.
[Notebook containing fragments of dialogue used in Act III of An Ideal Husband]. Bound; Ivor Poole: 1951; English; Wilde W6721M2 N911.
Reel: 23, Item No. 7

Notebook containing fragments of dialogue used in Act III of An Ideal Husband, and other. 1890
MS. 11 p. Bound in black leather-cloth.“

“[Notebook containing fragments of dialogue used in Act III of An Ideal Husband, and other jottings]“
MS. 11 p. 8×6-1/4 in.
Bound in black leather-cloth.“
(
Finzi 2467)

“AMS in ink in eleven pages. Fragments of dialogue in blocks …

Notebook also contains plans of Acts … .“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 138)

Ivor Poole

[purchased for £35 0 0, see Sotheby’s price-list]

Valuable Printed Books, Important Literary Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, etc. … and A Very Remarkable Series of Manuscripts of Oscar Wilde, Sotheby’s, London, 3- 4 April 1950, lot 215

A Notebook, containing fragments of dialogue used in Act III of An Ideal Husband, and other jottings, all in the handwriting of the author, in pencil, on 10 pp., leather cloth, 4to.“

A Highly Important Series of Manuscripts of Oscar Wilde, Formerly the Property of A. B. Clifton, Partner with Ronald [Robert] Ross in the Carfax Galleries, And now Sold by the Order of Michael Sadleir, Esq.“
(Sotheby’s, London, 3-4 April 1950, p. 28)

“The 10 manuscripts fetched in all £1,592 …They were being sold for Mr Michael Sadleir who bought them shortly after the War.“
(
Northern Whig, 4 April 1950, p. 4)

[A.S.W. Rosenbach was present at the auction, and he bought heavily, see Dundee Evening Telegraph, 3 April 1950]

Michael Sadleir

?unknown book dealer

?Madeline Clifton

[see “The Importance of Being Earnest“ no. 4]

Arthur B. Clifton

“These ten Wilde items, sold by a well-known English collector, had formerly belonged to A. B. Clifton, partner of Robert Ross in the Carfax Galleries; it is to be presumed that they were obtained either by purchase or gift. Many years later they were discovered in an old trunk belonging to the estate of Mrs. Clifton, the wife of the original owner.“
(Dickson (ed.),
The Importance of Being Earnest, p. xv)

?Robert Ross

3. Autograph Notebook

3 pages (of 32) of fragmentary passages, together with autograph manuscript of “La Sainte Courtisane“

[ca. 1894?]

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

W6721M3  L111

no digital copy

purchased in December 1960, from I. K. Fletcher

Wilde, Oscar
La sainte courtisane, or The lady covered with jewels.
Bound. MS. 32 p.; English; Wilde W6721M3 L111.
Reel: 24, Item No. 22“

“MS 32 p. Bound in black leather. Manuscript notebook containing the original MS of La sainte courtisane, or The Lady Covered with Jewels, identical with the printed version which first appeared in the 1908 edition of collected works; also, fragmentary passages from An Ideal Husband.“

(not in Finzi)

“Manuscript notebook containing La sainte courtisane and three pages with fragmentary passages intended for An Ideal Husband.“
(Riquelme, p. 309)

I. K. Fletcher

A Catalogue of a Collection of Rare English Black-Letter Books, the Property of a Gentleman; Valuable Books from the Library of the late Rt. Hon. C. G. Milnes Gaskell, with Other Properties, Hodgson & Co, London, 26-27 June 1924, lot 319

“Original Manuscript of the Rough Draft for a Play, ‘The Woman Covered with Jewels,’ written in pencil on about 25 pp. of a 4to note-book, with fragments of dialogue from ‘The Ideal Husband’ at the other end, sm. 4to, roan 

The above Manuscript – being the first ideas of dialogue, in places abrupt and incomplete, and in others extending to long passages – is of special interest as being the only version of this play known to exist, the MS. of the completed version (which bore the above title) having been lost. Hence it has not been printed or published in any form. It may be added that the play is of a mythological or romantic character, the interest centred in the person of Myrrhina, the woman covered with jewels,’ and a hermit, Honorius.

[Gaskell was most probably not the owner, judging by the catalogue entry: “Other Properties“

?Vyvyan Holland

?Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

?Robert Ross

4. Autograph Manuscript
(“An Ideal Husband“ / “Mrs Cheveley“)

4 Acts (two versions of Act II)

312 folios

Act I
– 66 pages

Act II a
– 46 pages
(pages 25-26 blank)

Act II b
56 pages (53 plus pages 54-56 interleaved) 

Act III
58 pages (upside down)

Act IV
– 68 pages

[1893-4]

British Library
London

Add MS 37946

digital copy:
https://bit.ly/33t9usC

presented by Robert Ross in 1909

(together with mss of “Lady Windermere’s Fan“ [see no. 5], “A Woman of No Importance“ [see nos. 5 and 6], “An Ideal Husband“ [see no. 10], “The Importance of Being Earnest“ [see no. 5], plus additional mss, i.e. “The Sphinx“ [no. 8], “De Profundis“)

“Autograph drafts of Oscar Wilde’s play, An Ideal Husband. Includes Acts I, II (two versions), III and IV. Act IV appears to represent the earliest version, in which Mabel Chiltern is named Violet up to f. 216, where the change to Mabel is made. Acts I, II a and III. belong to a later version and II b to one still later. .“

“Copy to be sent to 10 St. James’ Place by Saturday“, in Wilde’s handwriting on f. 1

British Library binding

British Museum stamp

“Complete manuscript of the play; a bound volume, with pages of notebooks glued onto spine slips at their left margins. Contains two versions of act 2.“
(Riquelme, p. 311)

“37946. An Ideal Husband: drafts of Acts i., ii. (two versions), iii., iv. Act iv. appears to represent the earliest version, in which Mabel Chilton is named Violet up to f. 216, where the change to Mabel is made. The [intended] title of the play in this version was ‘Mrs Cheveley.’ Acts i., ii. and iii. belong to a later version and ii. b to one still later. First acted at the Haymarket Theatre, 3 Jan. 1895, and printed in 1899.
Paper; ff. 312. Quarto.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, p. 436)

“The British Library has two manuscript versions of this act [act II] {MS1, MS2). Having drafted the first, Wilde evidently decided to revise it before having it typed. He began the new version at the back of the exercise book containing the manuscript of Act III [see MS2 pp. 53 ff] … The second manuscript draft resulted in a typescript (C), now in the Clark Library, dated 19 February 1894. This was revised to provide copy for a further typescript (BLTS), in the British Library, dated 10 March 1894.“
(Small and Jackson, p. 124)

Robert Ross

5. Typewritten Manuscript
(“The Foolish Journalist“)

Act I (two versions)

Act I a
– 32 folios / 51 pages
– [n.d.]

Act I b
– 26 folios / 37 pages
– 24 January 1894

Harvard Theatre Collection
Houghton Library
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

MS Thr 6

digital microfilm copy:
https://bit.ly/32eCowq

Gift of Donald McKay Frost, 1944.  

“2 volumes in 1 case

Includes 2 versions of Act I of the play published as An Ideal Husband. The later version embodies the autograph corrections made in the earlier one and has itself numerous corrections. Earlier version also includes stage setting diagrams. 

First and second typescript drafts with extensive autograph manuscript additions; London.

Vol I: 32f. (51 pages); Vol II: 26f. (37 pages); both volumes are unbound, pages are loose. Brown paper wrappers in half-purple morocco box.“

[Note in Wilde’s handwriting on title-page: “Two copies of each / 1 set for Mr Hare / Garrick Theatre / one for Oscar Wilde / 10 St. James’ Place SW / as soon as possible.“

No title, just “A Comedy in four acts, by Oscar Wilde“

Typed title erased by Wilde with new title set above “The Foolish Journalist“, in his handwriting, also erased  by Wilde

vol 1 stamped: “Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office, 126, Strand“

vol 2 stamped: “Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office, 126, Strand, 24 Jan 1894“]

“A manuscript draft (MS) of Act I was sent to a typist who produced the undated script in the Harvard Theatre Collection (…); this typescript adopts the revisions made by Wilde in MS. This was subject to further revisions and returned to the typist, with the instruction to send one copy to the author (at St. James’s Place) and one to Hare. Another typescript in the Harvard Collection (…) is dated 24 January 1894 and derives from the revisions in HTC [see no. 5, Act I a].“
(Small and Jackson, p. 123)

“[the second] typescript of the same act, with revisions in a hand other than Wilde’s, marked as a prompt-book.“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 105)

“Typescripts of act 1. Two versions, the earlier one undated (apparently made from British Library MS Add. 37946 [see no. 4]), the later one dated 24 January 1894 reflecting changes written on the earlier and containing instructions that include ‘1 set for [illegible] Hare. Garrick Theatre.’ The later typescript is marked for revisions, some of which appear in the Clark typescript of act 1 [see no. 9], which preceded the British Library typescript dated 10 March 1894 (MS Add. 37947 [see no. 10]). With the dated typescript at Harvard is an undated stage diagram in pen [see microfilm copy, seq. 54-57] whose relation to the typescript is unclear.“
(Riquelme, p. 310)

Donald McKay Frost

“In 1946 [sic] Frost asked William A. Jackson of the Houghton Library to select what he wished for that library. Jackson reported the acquisition of a very nearly complete lot of some eighty items by Richard LeGallienne … and two varying working drafts of the first act of An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.“
(McCorison, p. 69)

English Literature of the 19th & 20th Centuries, Maggs Bros., no. 460, London, 1925, item 2539

Two copies in typescript of Act I, but filled with manuscript alterations and additions by Oscar Wilde himself. In some cases whole pages are cancelled, and Wilde has written a new version on the blank leaf facing. On the first page Wilde has written: ‘2 copies of each / 1 set for Mr Hare, Garrick Theatre, / one for Oscar Wilde, / 10 St. James’ Place, S. W., / as soon as possible.’ 2 vols., 4to, wrappers. £48.

This Manuscript was formerly in the possession of Robert Ross, Oscar Wilde’s Executor.“

Books, Manuscripts and Bindings, Maggs Bros., no. 456, London, 1924, item 466

“Two copies in typescript of Act I, but filled with manuscript alterations and additions by Oscar Wilde himself. In some cases whole pages are cancelled, and Wilde has written a new version on the blank leaf facing. On the first page Wilde has written: ‘2 copies of each / 1 set for Mr Hare, Garrick Theatre, / one for Oscar Wilde, / 10 St. James’ Place, S. W., / as soon as possible.’ 2 vols., 4to, wrappers. £48.

This Manuscript was formerly in the possession of Robert Ross, Oscar Wilde’s Executor.“

A Catalogue of a Collection of Rare English Black-Letter Books, the Property of a Gentleman; Valuable Books from the Library of the late Rt. Hon. C. G. Milnes Gaskell, with Other Properties, Hodgson & Co, London, 26-27 June 1924, lot 324

“Typescript of the First Act of ‘An Ideal Husband’ A Comedy in Four Acts (1899), with numerous alterations and additions, and many passages of the dialogue deleted, in the author’s hand (both in ink and pencil), on 31 folios, with a typed revision of the same incorporating the revisions in the foregoing, but further revised in the Author’s hand on nearly every folio, passages in the dialogue being again cut and new passages written in, 25 folios, with plans of the stage for each of the four acts, 4to, wrappers 

A comparison of the above typed copies reveals in a most interesting way the immense care which Wilde expended on his plays, and the pains of revision by which he produced, in the end, such finished and brilliant dialogue. It is notable that in the first copy the title is deleted and ‘The Foolish Journalist’ substituted, but also struck out. In the revision the title is altogether omitted.“

“Besides the unpublished Wilde manuscript [‘The Woman Covered with Jewels’] in the sale at Hodgson’s there are the holograph manuscripts of the last part of Wilde’s essay ‘The Rise of Historical Criticism’; the greater part of the manuscript of ‘The Duchess of Padua’; the original first draft of ‘Vera; or, The Nihilists’; the first draft of ‘A Woman of No Importance’ and the second draft, with the first  inception of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ which Wilde commenced under the title of ‘The Guardian’; an early sketch of ‘An Ideal Husband’ and the typescript of the first act, together with a typed revision. … It is notable that in the first copy the title is deleted and ‘The foolish Journalist’ substituted, and afterwards struck out. In the revised copy the title is omitted altogether.“
(
The Bookman, New York, vol. LIX, August 1924, [p. 782])

[Gaskell was probably not the owner of Wilde’s manuscripts, judging by the catalogue entry: “Other Properties“

?Vyvyan Holland

?Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

Robert Ross

6. Typewritten Manuscript

Act II

unknown

[possibly belonging to no. 5 and/or nos. 7 and 8]

7. Typewritten Manuscript

Act III

title leaf and 24 leaves / 38 pages

24 January 1894

The Morgan Library & Museum
New York, NY

Record ID: 120340
Accession Number: MA 3579

no digital copy

gift of Frederick R. Koch in 1981

“1 item (38 p.); 25.5

Being a typescript with extensive autograph revisions and additions throughout; revisions and additions, in ink and pencil, are made on the typescript (24 pages) and on the versos of 14 pages.

Stamped ‘Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office, 126, Strand, 24 Jan. 94’ on the cover page.

Ruled throughout in red ink.

High reserve.

Housed in Blue cloth drop-spine box (27.6 cm). 

Binding: Disbound; board from a previous collector’s binding, with the bookplate of Richard Le Gallienne, retained and housed in a separate folder.“

Frederick R. Koch

?John F. Fleming / ?Jonathan Hill

“Fleming bought most of the other Wilde autographs as well [see The Importance of Being Earnest, no. 10], except for a couple that went to Jonathan Hill, who was seated next to a representative of the Clark Library in Los Angeles.“
(
The Book Collector, vol. 30, no. 2, Summer 1981, p. 237)

The Prescott Collection: Printed Books and Manuscripts, including an extensive collection of books and manuscripts by Oscar Wilde, Christie, Manson & Woods (Christie’s), New York, February 6, 1981, lot 431

“Typescript, with extensive autograph revisions, of Act III of An Ideal Husband, 4to, title-leaf and 24 leaves, the first page bearing the ink stamp of Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office dated 24 January 1894, the margins ruled and with stage directions and speakers’ names underlined in red ink, black morocco gilt, rubbed.

An Ideal Husband was written at the request of the actor and producer John Hare from June 1893 to late March 1894 and was first performed on 3 January 1895. The manuscript shows extensive revision: Wilde’s deletions total about 11/2 pages of typescript, while his additions, usually written on the facing blank versos, run to about 3 pages. Three and possibly four layers of revisions are evident: the most extensive changes and additions are made in a dark brown ink, some corrections were made after these in light pencil, many deletions in a broad heavy pencil were seemingly made still later, and a few trifling changes were executed in a blue-black ink.

The text presented in the manuscript differs in many respects from that in the published play, where the plot elements are more fully developed. … Wilde’s stage directions are fewer and briefer. Several of the most notable witticisms were added by Wilde at this stage in his revisions … .

This typescript postdates two draft manuscript versions: one in the William Andrews Clark Library dated 19 June 1893 (described by Mason as “fragmentary“) [no. 1], and another in the British Library [no. 4], undated, but later than the Clark manuscript, and it predates the typescript in the British Library [sic] with Mrs Marshall’s stamp dated 19 February 1894. See Mason 436. [Mason in fact has no date, and only the Clark typescript, no. 9, has the date 19 February 1894]

provenance: Richard Le Gallienne, bookplate“

[sold for $4,300, see Christie’s’ price-list]

[facsimile of typewritten page no. 12 (see printed version, 1899 edition, p. 146), see sale catalogue, p. [194]]

Marjorie Wiggin Prescott

The Library of the late John C. Tomlinson, New York City, Anderson Galleries, New York, Jan. 17-18, 1928, lot 558

“Typewritten Manuscript of Act III of ‘An Ideal Husband.’ 24pp. 

Bound, in 4to, maroon levant morocco. 

With many additions, alterations and deletions in ink or pencil, in the author’s autograph. Many of the additions are of considerable importance and extent. With the Le Gallienne bookplate.“

“Typed MS. of Act III of ‘An Ideal Husband,’ 24 pp. Numerous changes, including many additions of considerable importance and extent. Bnd., 4to, lev. mor. (with Le Gallienne bookplate). NN (558) $325.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXXIV, 1928, p. 777)

John C. Tomlinson

Catalogue of Extremely Rare Books, First and Scarce Editions of Famous Authors, Early Printed Books, Rare Bindings and Manuscripts, Private Press Editions, The Merwin-Clayton Sales Co., New York, May 16-18, 1906, lot 842

“An Ideal Husband. Act III. Original typewritten Manuscript, with many additions, alterations and erasures in ink or in pencil, all in author’s autograph. 24 pp. 8vo, paper covers. 

Many of the additions are of considerable extent and importance.“

“Typewritten Manuscript of ‘An Ideal Husband, Act III,’ with corrections and additions in Wilde’s handwriting, 24 pages, 8vo. Paper. M., May 16, ’06. (842) $31.00“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XII, 1906, p. 772)

Richard Le Gallienne

bookplate

8. Typewritten and Autograph Manuscript

Act IV

30 leaves
– 18 sheets of typescript
– 12 sheets in Wilde’s holograph

[n.d., 1893-4]

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

W6721M2 I19

no digital copy

February 1981, acquired at the Prescott sale through Jonathan Hill

Wilde, Oscar.
[An ideal husband]: Act IV.
Bound. Ms. And typescript. 30 leaves. 14-1/2 in.; Early draft of the play, consisting of 18 sheets of typescript, with heavy authorial revisions; and 12 sheets entirely in Wilde’s holograph. The 28th and 29th leaves are wanting; a typewritten facsimile from the published text has been substituted for the typescript. In red morocco solander case.; English; Wilde W6721M2 I19.
Reel: 23, Item No. 1

An ideal husband: Act IV. 1893
MS and Typescript. 30 leaves. In red morocco solander case. Early draft of the play, consisting of 18 sheets of typescript, with heavy authorial revisions; and 12 sheets entirely in Wilde’s holograph. The 28th and 29th leaves are wanting; a typewritten facsimile from the published text has been substituted for these.“

“Early draft of Act IV of Oscar Wilde’s An ideal husband, consisting of 18 sheets of typescript, with many corrections and additions in Wilde’s hand; and another 12 sheets entirely in Wilde’s hand. The typescript was produced by a professional typist at “Mrs. Marshall’s Type Writing Office“, not by Wilde himself. 6 of the 12 handwritten leaves are on small folio sized lined paper; the other 6 pages are on folio sheets of laid paper with the “A. Pirie and Sons 1893“ watermark. The 28th and 29th leaves are wanting; a typewritten facsimile from the published text was added by previous owner Richard B. Glaenzer.“

(not in Finzi)

“… act 4, undated, heavily marked typescript from which the 6 March 1894 typescript in the Clark was made [see no. 9].“
(Riquelme, p. 310)

“Act IV in AMS and typescript. First 7 leaves are in typescript, clearly from Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office; so are pp. 23-23 and 27-30. The remaining pages comprise 6 small sheets of lined paper in Wilde’s hand and 6 folio sheets also in Wilde’s hand; pp. 27 and 28 are typed facsimiles initialed by Richard Glaenzer.“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 136)

Jonathan Hill

“Jonathan A. Hill acted as the agent for the Clark at the auction …“
(Clark Library, personal correspondence, 30 Aug. 2021)

The Prescott Collection: Printed Books and Manuscripts, including an extensive collection of books and manuscripts by Oscar Wilde, Christie, Manson & Woods (Christie’s), New York, February 6, 1981, lot 432

“Manuscript, partly autograph and partly typescript, with autograph corrections and revisions, of Act IV of An Ideal Husband, London 1893-4, 28 leaves (of 30, pages 27 and 28 lacking and in typewritten facsimile from published text), 4to and folio, clipped together at top, first leaf detached, some soiling, red levant morocco solander case, gilt spine.

The manuscript comprises: 18 4to sheets of typescript (clearly from Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office) on laid paper ruled in ink, with heavy authorial revisions; 6 small folio sheets of lined paper entirely in Wilde’s holograph; and 6 folio sheets of laid paper with watermark ‘A. Pirie and Sons 1893’ also in holograph. Most typescript and all autograph sheets bear text on rectos only. The original numbering  still visible on the typescript sheets shows that the previous typescript, before being dismantled for this revision, consisted of only 21 sheets. 

Wilde’s deletions in the typewritten sections are extensive …

The manuscript may well represent the same stage of revision as the previous lot [see above no. 7]; this act apparently required far more extensive changes, necessitating the inserted leaves. The same layers of corrections are evident: dark brown ink, pencil and blue-black ink. Wilde’s numbering in upper corners, certainly added at the completion of his revisions, is also in the blue-black ink.

provenance: Richard Butler Glaenzer (sale, Anderson Auction Company, November 28, 1911, lot 175). The two replaced leaves were added by Glaenzer and bear his initials at upper Corner.“

[sold for $16,000, see Christie’s’ price-list]

Marjorie Wiggin Prescott

Fine Books and Manuscripts of the Greatest Rarity and Interest, Including the Further Property of a Prominent Pennsylvania Collector, American Art Association, New York, Dec. 1-2, 1924, lot 363

Original Autograph and Typewritten Manuscript of, – ‘Act IV, An Ideal Husband.’ Manuscript of about Seven-Thousand Words, of which about Seventeen Hundred Words are in the Autograph of Oscar Wilde. Written on 30 folios and 4to leaves, some written on both sides makiing in all 34 pages. Sixteen pages are in the Autograph of Wilde, and the remainder are typewritten. Enclosed in a full red levant morocco solander case, with inner cloth protecting folder. [1894]

A Manuscript of Great Importance, with Many Manuscript Corrections and Additions in His Autograph. About 1700 words are in ink, in the autograph of Wilde, written on 11 folio sheets and on the verso of 4 of the typewritten sheets. Throughout the manuscript, both written and typewritten, are many emendations and corrections by Wilde; some of the typewritten pages are entirely rewritten on the verso with dialogue, and in some cases there are present two versions of the same passages.

The situations which rapidly follow one another in this Last Act have been worked over by the author, and even the printed version in the Collected Works differs from the present Original Manuscript.

Formerly in the John B. Stetson, Jr. Library, with bookplate.“

“A. and Typed MS of Act IV, An Ideal Husband. About 70,000 words, 34pp., fol. and 4to, about 1700 words, 16pp., being in his hand and these being written on 11 fol. sheets and on verso of 4 typed sheets. Typed and autograph corrections throughout. DD (363) $310.00“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXXII, 1926, p. 859)

Rare Books and Manuscripts, Many of Superlative Importance, Including the Property of a Prominent Pennsylvania Collector, American Art Association, New York, April, 22-24, 1924, lot 854

Original Manuscript of Act IV of his brilliant play, ‘An Ideal Husband.’ Written on 34 pages, 4to and folio, 16 of which are in Wilde’s handwriting, the balance being typewritten. Protected in a full crimson levant morocco solander case.

A Most Important and Interesting Manuscript, showing the many changes which were made by the author in polishing the dialogue and emphasizing the stage-play in this act. Some  of the typewritten pages are entirely covered on the verso with dialogue, and in some cases there are present two versions of the same passages. The situations which rapidly follow one another in this last act have been worked over by the author, and even the printed version in the Collected Works differs somewhat from the present manuscript.“

“MS., of Act IV of Play, An Ideal Husband. 34 pp., 4to and fol.: 16 in autograph. 18 typed. With numerous corrections, some on verso of typed sheets. In lev. mor. case. G., April 22, ’24. (854) $275.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXX, 1924, p. 839)

Gabriel Wells

purchased by Gabriel Wells for $500
(see
The New York Times, April 24, 1920, p. 32 [erroneously given as Act II])

The Oscar Wilde Collection of John B. Stetson, Jr., Anderson Galleries, New York, April 23, 1920, lot 136

“AN IDEAL HUSBAND. Original manuscript of Act IV of ‘An Ideal Husband.’ Written on 34 pp. 4to and folio, of which 16 pp. are in the hand of Oscar Wilde, and the remainder in typewriter. Enclosed in a full crimson levant morocco solander case.

An important manuscript, showing the many changes which were made by the author in rounding out the events in this Act. Some of the typewritten pages are entirely written on the verso with dialogue, and in some cases there are present two versions of the same passages.“

The situations which rapidly follow one anther in this last Act have been worked over by the author, and even the printed version in the Collected Works differs from the present manuscript.“

“MS. of Act IV of ‘An Ideal Husband.’ 34 pages, 4to and fol., of which 16 pages are in the hand of Oscar Wilde, and the remainder typed. In lev. mor. case. Stetson, A., April 23, ’20. (136) $500.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXVI, 1920, p. 1039)

John B. Stetson, Jr. 

Two Hundred Books from the Library of Richard Butler Glaenzer, Anderson Auction Company, New York, Nov. 28, 1911, lot 175

“An Ideal Husband. Act IV, with some of the pages typewritten with autograph corrections; others, entirely in autograph, and many of the first inscribed on the reverse with full-pages of new dialogue (). 30 sheets in 3 sizes. Folio and 4to, in portfolio (First page and margins of overlapping sheets dustsoiled). [circ. 1884 [sic]]

Mostly unpublished. Revised draft of an early typed copy: both rejected, for both differ materially from Library-version in scene-order, dialogue, etc. … Fascinating manuscript.“

sold for $155
(Mason,
Bibliography, p. 436)

Richard Butler Glaenzer

9. Typewritten Manuscript

4 Acts

102 leaves

Act I
– 19 February 1894

Act II
– 19 February 1894

Act III
– 20 January 1894

Act IV
– 6 March 1894

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

W6721M2 I19

no digital copy

purchased in Dec. 1933, from A.S.W. Rosenbach

Wilde, Oscar.
An ideal husband.
[1894] Feb. 19, [1894]
Boxed; Rosenbach: 1912; English; Wilde W6721M2I19.
Reel: 23, Item No. 2“

“An ideal husband. 1894 February 19
Typescript. 102 leaves. In four notebooks. In full green morocco slip-case. Original typescript with corrections and emendations in Wilde’s hand, many of these being on versos.“

[Act III, see also no. ]

“An Ideal Husband.
Typescript. 102 leaves. 10×7-3/4 in. In four notebooks.
Original typescript with corrections and emendations in Oscar Wilde’s hand, many of these being on versos.
In full green morocco slip-case. 10
1/2x 8-3/4×1-1/4 in.“
(
Finzi 2455)

“… if Wilde was sent four acts in a parcel, only the first page of the whole play would be stamped; individual acts returned one by one would each bear a date stamp. …

The unpublished drafts do not constitute a series of complete texts in successive stages of revisions, but the disjecta membra of the play in different states.“
(Small and Jackson, p. 123)

A.S.W. Rosenbach

purchased for $300
(see
The New York Times, Nov. 4, 1933)

The Splendid Library formed by the late Edward Dean Richmond, American Art Association, Anderson Galleries, New York, Nov. 2-3, 1933, lot 388

Author’s Typewritten Copy of ‘The [sic] Ideal Husband’. Four Acts bound separately in contemporary wrappers, with wire sticking, 4to. Enclosed in a full green straight-grain morocco solander case, the back finely gilt tooled in pointillé. 

An important manuscript, with emendations and corrections, comprising over 900 words in the autograph of the author, in pen and pencil, being substantially the same as the printed version. From the Clarence S. Bement and John B. Stetson, Jr., collections, with bookplates.“

“Typed copy of ‘The [sic] Ideal Husband,’ with emendations and corrections, comprising over 900 words in autograph, in pen and pencil, being substantially the same as the printed version. The four acts bound separately, 4to, cont. paper, wire stitching; in tooled mor. case (Bement-Stetson bookplates). N (388) $300.00“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XL, 1935, p. 656)

Edward Dean Richmond

“By a provision in his will his books and manuscripts are to be sold for the benefit of the Kips Bay Boys Club of New York.“
(
The New York Times, Oct. 29, 1933, p. 72)

Books – Manuscripts – Drawings of Superlative Importance Acquired by or for a Noted Philadelphia Collector, American Art Association, New York, April 16-18, 1923, lot 993

i.e. “Mr Hughes“
(
The Bookman’s Journal and Print Collector, vol. VIII, June 1923, p. 99)

Author’s Typewritten Copy of his play, ‘An Ideal Husband.’ Manuscript of about 30,000 words, typewritten on 98 quarto leaves, with almost Fourteen Hundred Additional Words in the Autograph of Oscar Wilde. Four acts, each bound separately in brown wrappers and stamped, – ‘Mrs. Marshall’s Type Writing Office 19 Feb. 94. 126, Strand,’ on front wrappers and half titles. Enclosed in full green straight-grain morocco solander case, gilt fillet borders, back gilt tooled au pointillé, with inner silk protecting wrapper. [1894]

Extremely Desirable Manuscript, with a Large Number of Autograph Corrections and Alterations by Wilde.  Agrees closely with the printed version although this was not the final typed version of the play, as the words ‘Note to typewriter,’ with instructions regarding placing of alterations have been written by Wilde on several leaves. The play was typed without title, lest this should be prematurely announced.

From the C. S. Bement – John B. Stetson, Jr., collections, with bookplate of each.“

“Author’s typewritten copy of his Play, ‘An Ideal Husband,’ MS. of about 30,000 words, typewritten on 98 quarto ll., with almost fourteen hundred additional words in the autograph of Oscar Wilde, four acts, each bound separately in brown wrappers and stamped, ‘Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office, 19 Feb., 1894, 126, Strand,’ on front wrappers and hf-titles, enclosed in full  green straight-grain mor. solander case, gt. fillet borders, back gt. tooled au pointillé, with inner silk protecting wrapper [1894], (993), April 16, American Art Association – $330.“
(
Book-Prices Current, vol. XXXVII, 1923 p. 841)

Colonel H. D. Hughes

sold to Hughes, Sept. 18, 1920
(see The Rosenbach, personal correspondence, Jan. 21, 2022)

“For $5700, in September [1920], he [Rosenbach] turned over to Colonel Hughes the richest lot of Wilde manuscripts ever sold, the originals of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, and An Ideal Husband, which he had bought for stock.“
(Wolf and Fleming, p. 135)

“Many of these items [of the Stetson sale] – fifty-one of Rosenbach’s purchases at the auction, in fact – were destined for Colonel H. D. Hughes, as is clear from the extensive listing in Rosenbach’s sales records. … Hughes, a collector for Pennsylvania, curiously paid off his sizable balance primarily through daily installments of $100.00.“
(Mitchell and Haas, see https://bit.ly/3xpXd8k)

A.S.W. Rosenbach

purchased for $400 

“At the sale of the Stetson collection of Oscar Wilde at the end of April, 1920, Dr. Rosenbach swept the board almost clean, taking virtually every item of real importance. He had been a Wilde enthusiast since his college days, when it was avant-garde to be mauve. His enthusiasm had been shared by Colonel H. D. Hughes of Philadelphia, who spent over $10,000 at the sale, wisely entrusting his bids to the Doctor.“
(Wolf and Fleming, p. 135)

The Oscar Wilde Collection of John B. Stetson, Jr., Anderson Galleries, New York, April 23, 1920, lot 135

“AN IDEAL HUSBAND. Author’s typewritten copy of ‘The [sic] Ideal Husband.’ The Four Acts bound separately, enclosed in silk cover, and preserved in a full green straight-grain morocco solander case, the back beautifully tooled in pointillé.

With manuscript additions by the author, being substantially the same as the printed version. With bookplate of Clarence S. Bement.“

“Author’s MS. typed, of ‘The [sic]  Ideal Husband.’ The Four Acts bound separately in silk cover, in mor. case. (Bookplate of C. S. Bement). Stetson, A., April 23, ’20. (135) $400.00“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXVI, 1920, pp. 1039/1040)

sold for $400
(De Ricci,
The Book Collector’s Guide, p. 634)

John B. Stetson, Jr. 

?A.S.W. Rosenbach, 1912

Wilde, Oscar.
An ideal husband.[1894] Feb. 19, [1894] Boxed; Rosenbach: 1912; English; Wilde W6721M2 I19.
Reel: 23, Item No. 2
(Clark Library)

Clarence S. Bement

10. Typewritten Manuscript
(“Comedy in Four Acts“)

4 Acts

96 folios

Act I
– 10 March 1894

Act II
– 10 March 1894

Act III
– 16 January 1894

Act IV
– [n.d.]

British Library
London

Add MS 37947

digital copy:
https://bit.ly/2IJOs0T

presented by Robert Ross in 1909

(together with mss of “Lady Windermere’s Fan“ [see no. 5], “A Woman of No Importance“ [see nos. 5 and 6], “An Ideal Husband“ [see no. 4], “The Importance of Being Earnest“ [see no. 5], plus additional mss, i.e. “The Sphinx“ [no. 8], “De Profundis“)

“Typewritten copy of a draft of Oscar Wilde’s play, An Ideal Husband, with autograph corrections.

96 folios

British Library binding“

British Museum stamps

Title page stamped “Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office, 126, Strand, 10 Mar. [18]94“

Act II stamped “Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office, 126, Strand, 10 Mar. [18]94“

Act III stamped “Mrs Marshall’s Type Writing Office, 126, Strand, 16 Jan. [18]94“

Act IV stamped “Miss Dickens’s Type Writing Office, 3 Tavistock Street, Wellington Street, Stand, W.C.“ [no date]

“Typescripts of all the acts, variously dated, marked for changes: 

Acts 1 and 2, both nearly complete but lacking final page(s). Coversheet (title page) and first page of act 2 date stamped 10 March 1894. No date on act 1, which may or may not be contemporaneous.

Act 3, date stamped 16 January 1894, with a stage diagram in pencil facing the first page. 

Act 4, undated, heavily marked for changes, and significantly different from the licensing typescript (listed below [see no. 18]), including the sequence of action rearranged.“
(Riquelme,
p. 310)

“37947. An Ideal Husband: typed copy with autograph corrections, nearer to the printed version than any of the above MS. drafts. / Paper; ff. 96. Quarto.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, p. 436)

“A further typescript (BLTS), now in the British Library, based on the revised state of C [Clark Memorial Library, see no. 9], was itself altered.“ 

“The changes to BLTS … include notes on groupings and business such as Wilde might have jotted down during rehearsal.“
(Small and Jackson, pp. 123-4)

Robert Ross

11. Typewritten Manuscript

1 leaf

Magdalen College
Oxford

MS 300

no digital copy

bequest by E. H. W. Meyerstein

“An early typescript of Acts I and II of Oscar Wilde’s play Lady Windemere’s Fan, under the title of ‘A Good Woman’ … [see LWF, no. 7]

It also includes a loose leaf from the TS of An Ideal Husband – a late transcript version (p. 20).“

E. H. W. Meyerstein

receipt made out for its purchase by Meyerstein on 11 December 1952 [i.e. 1950, see below. Meyerstein died on 12 Sept. 1952]

Maggs, 11 Dec. 1950

“As details on the wrapper and an enclosed catalogue entry indicate, the typescript was purchased from Maggs Bros. Ltd, for £135, on 11. December 1950 (and not for £150 in 1952, as stated in the Magdalen College catalogue).“
(Duncan, p. 231)

Maggs, 3-4 April 1950

[purchased for £105 0 0, see Sotheby’s price-list]

Valuable Printed Books, Important Literary Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, etc. … and A Very Remarkable Series of Manuscripts of Oscar Wilde, Sotheby’s, London, 3-4 April 1950, lot 208

Lady Windermere’s Fan, under the title of A Good Woman: Acts I and II, Early typescripts, heavily corrected throughout by the author, in pencil, with many re-written passages and additions in his hand, and numerous deletions, on 68 ll., the two Acts bound separately in brown paper wrappers. 4to (2)“ 

[facsimile page of end of Act I, see sale catalogue, facing p. 29]

“A Highly Important Series of Manuscripts of Oscar Wilde, Formerly the Property of A. B. Clifton, Partner with Ronald [Robert] Ross in the Carfax Galleries, And now Sold by the Order of Michael Sadleir, Esq.“
(Sotheby’s, London, 3-4 April 1950, p. 28)

“The 10 manuscripts fetched in all £1,592 …They were being sold for Mr Michael Sadleir who bought them shortly after the War.“
(
Northern Whig, 4 April 1950, p. 4)

Michael Sadleir

?unknown book dealer

?Madeline Clifton

[see “The Importance of Being Earnest“ no. 4]

Arthur B. Clifton

“These ten Wilde items, sold by a well-known English collector, had formerly belonged to A. B. Clifton, partner of Robert Ross in the Carfax Galleries; it is to be presumed that they were obtained either by purchase or gift. Many years later they were discovered in an old trunk belonging to the estate of Mrs. Clifton, the wife of the original owner.“
(Dickson (ed.),
The Importance of Being Earnest, p. xv)

?Robert Ross

12. Typewritten Manuscript 

4 Acts

95 pages

13 March 1894

Billy Rose Theatre Division
New York Public Library, New York, NY

NCOF+ (Wilde, O. Ideal husband)

Record no. b14678088

no digital copy

accessioned by the library in 1944

“4 parts in 1 v. 26 cm.“

“Prompt-book, typewritten, with cast of characters.“

“Daniel Frohman’s name stamped on the title page.“
(Billy Rose Theatre Division, personal correspondence, March 12, 2020)

“… Frohman’s script (…), dated 13 March 1894 …“
(Small and Jackson, p. 126)

“… it has manuscript stage-directions in Act IV.“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 105)

“Daniel Frohman, the American impresario, was provided with a typescript evidently based on the theatre’s promptbook; unlike the revised BLTS [see no. 10], it includes stage directions of the kind that a prompter would require (lighing cues, warnings for the curtain, detailed grouping of supernumerary actors, etc.). Frohman’s copy (F) is now in the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.“
(Small and Jackson, p. 124)

Daniel Frohman

13. Typewritten Manuscript

4 Acts

over 100 pages

unknown

?John Simpson

?Rick Gekoski

J. O. Edwards

£16,1000 (incl. buyer’s premium)
(see Sotheby’s price-list)

[J. O. Edwards assembled his Wilde collection between 1987 and 1999, sold his collection to Rick Gekoski, who sold it to John Simpson whose Wilde collection was then sold at Sotheby’s in October 2004]

English Literature and History, Sotheby’s, London, 19 July 1994, lot 131

Typescript of ‘An Ideal Husband’, heavily annotated, Including autograph additions by Wilde, and used for the original production of the play, a professional typescript of the complete play produced at Miss Dickens’s Type Writing Office, 8 [3] Tavistock Street, Strand, extensively annotated as a production, rehearsal or prompt copy, in pencil and ink, in at least three hands, some text on tipped- or pasted-in slips of paper, annotated throughout with textual cuts and changes, additional dialogue, stage directions (many movements, groupings, and business), cues, rough stage plans, and other markings and information, also including a pencilled-in cast-list for the first performance, the nature and untidiness of the copious markings, as well as thumbing and soiling marks, show clear evidence of use in the theatre over a period, annotations on at least five pages being in the hand of the author, who has added or recast some lines by Mrs Cheveley in Act I  (facing p. 18), by Lord Goring in Act III (facing p. 12), by Lord Goring and Caversham in Act IV (p. 2, facing p. 2, and p. 22), over 100 pages, 4to, typed on rectos only, the versos often covered with annotations, well-thumbed, tears and hinge of first few pages, lacking a title-page, laid-in autograph declaration signed by R. J. Masterson guaranteeing this book ‘to be the authentic and original in manuscript with notes and corrections by Oscar Wilde – as sold for the sum of one hundred dollars – $100 – on May 1st 1903′, calf-gilt, labels on spine, hinges broken [1894-1895]“

Wilde was very much involved in the rehearsals, insisting, for instance, that the cast should convene even on Christmas Day. This involvement is evident in the copious annotations in the present text, clearly used extensively at rehearsals, where he has picked up the script to make various changes and additions totaling some twenty lines in his own hand.

The script, which bears vivid witness to the evolution of the play during the rehearsals, may be compared with several other recorded texts: namely, Wilde’s draft manuscripts in the Clark Library, Los Angeles [see nos. 1-3] and British Library (Add. MS 37946 [see no. 4]); his revised typescript of Act III only (Prescott sale, New York, 6 February 1981, lot 431 [see no. 7]); the corrected professional typescript by Mrs Marshall’s office dated 19 February 1894 in the British Library (Add. MS 37947 [see no. 10, but: only the Clark typescript, no. 9, has the date 19 February 1894]); and a partly autograph typescript of Act IV sold in New York on 28 November 1911 [see no. 8] (see Stuart Mason, Bibliography of Oscar Wilde, p. 436).

£15,000-20,000.“

“Typescript, An Ideal Husband [n.d.]. c. 100 pp, 4to. With annotations by Wilde. With guarantee by R. J. Masterson that the corrections are by Wilde. In calf gilt. Illus in cat S July 19 (131) £14,000.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. 100, 1994, p. 265)

?sold on May 1st, 1903

said to be sold for $100 (see above: description, Sotheby’s, 1994)

not in Mason, Bibliography

not listed in Catalogue of a Valuable and Interesting Consignment, Anderson Galleries, April 29-30, May 1, 1903

no other records found, and no records for R. J. Masterson 

14. Typewritten Manuscript

4 Acts

unknown

[possibly identical with nos. 13 or 15]

English and American First Editions, Autograph Letters and Manuscripts: Selections from the Libraries of Francis K. Swartley, Richard Greene Holbrook, Alfred L. Bernheim , Irving S. Underhill; … and Other Properties, American Art Association, Anderson Galleries, New York, Dec. 9-10, 1936, lot 738

Typewritten Manuscript of ‘An Ideal Husband’. The Four Acts bound in full polished calf 4to volume. 

A Fine Wilde Item. With numerous autograph corrections, emendations, and interlineations on every page, and on the verso of a number of the type pages. These corrections appear to be in the autographs of two or three persons, a few bearing a resemblance to Oscar Wilde’s writing. The manuscript was probably used by the stage director or one of the cast.“

“Typed MS, Play, ‘An Ideal Husband,’ the four acts. Numerous autograph corrections, emendations, and interlineations, many on verso of pp., in several hands. Bound 4to, cf. DD (738) $25.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XLIII, 1937, p. 616)

15. Typewritten Manuscript

106 leaves

[189-?]

Robert H. Taylor Collection
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

RTC01 (no. 172)
[189-?]

no digital copy

placed on deposit in the Princeton University Library in 1972, and received as a bequest in 1985

“1 v. (106 leaves), 26 x 21 cm.

Author’s typewritten copy with autograph annotations, undated.

‘Mrs Dickens’s Type Writing Office, 3, Tavistock Street, Wellington Street, Strand, W.C.’ – Stamp, preliminary leaf.

‘Mrs Farebrother 5 Upper Bedford … W.C.’ – Written in pencil, preliminary leaf.“ 

Robert H. Taylor

?Mrs Farebrother

16. Prompt Book

[1894-5]

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 

“Tree’s performance scripts of A Woman of No Importance, now housed at the University of Bristol, and [Lewis] Waller’s newly discovered prompt book for An Ideal Husband, held by Princeton University, offer stage texts of each work interlined and overwritten by author and actor-manager. Each provides blocking diagrams, set sketches, lighting cues and property lists that enable us to establish with some confidence the look and feel of theses plays during their first runs.“
(Kaplan, “Wilde on the Stage“, p. 250)

Lewis Waller

17. Typewritten and Autograph Manuscript,
Annotated Proofs

4 Acts

103 pages and 4 pages in Wilde’s autograph

1899

Lewis Collection
Texas Christian University Library, Fort Worth, TX

LEWIS D-475a

no digital copy

1958, donated by the Amon Carter Foundation

“Printer’s copy transcript, with extensive holograph corrections and additions, of An Ideal Husband, 1899.

Heavy laid paper for typescript (103 leaves in purple ink), 25,3 x 21 cm. No watermark.

Lined notebook paper, cut to same size, for MS additions (4 leaves).

The verso of most typescript leaves has MS notes, corrections, and additions.

Collation with the first edition reveals no significant discrepancies.

Provenance: Ex libris Henry William Poor. Bound in full calf, gold tooled, spine lettered WILDE’S / IDEAL / HUSBAND / AUTHORS / TYPE WRITTEN / COPY / WITH / MS-ADDITIONS“
(see Kendall Jr., item 96, p. 142)

“The title page has in Wilde’s hand, An Ideal Husband. Below is typewritten “A Comedy in Four Acts“, which has been crossed out. The verso is blank and the next leaf is one of the leaves of notebook paper. It has in Wilde’s hand, An Ideal Husband / By the author/ of / Lady Windermere’s Fan. Below that it reads, “Leonard Smithers & Co / London. / 1899.“ The next leaf, also notebook paper, has the dedication: “To / Frank Harris / a slight tribute to / His power and distinction / as an artist / His chivalry and nobility / as a friend.“
(Texas Christian University Library, personal correspondence, Feb. 3, 2020)

“The typewritten first page originally had just the title “A Comedy in Four Acts.“ It was then crossed out by Wilde, and he then wrote An Ideal Husband.“
(Texas Christian University Library, personal correspondence, Feb. 4, 2020)

“As first typed, the Lewis script consists of about 100 pages. There are corrections and emendations on every typewritten page, and in addition there are about 35 pages in Wilde’s autograph. All of the preliminary pages – half-title, title, dedication, scenes of the play, and dramatic personae – are in Wilde’s handwriting. All in all, there are three paper stocks and several pages pasted together, all bound in a quarter volume, full calf.“
(Lich, pp. 48-9)

“The typescript itself, which is annotated throughout is 103 leaves. In addition, there were four leaves of notebook paper with annotations that were interleaved during binding.“

“Many of the typewritten pages have been annotated in Wilde’s hand so I imagine that Lich is referring to those here.“
(Texas Christian University Library, personal correspondence, Feb.3-4, 2020)

“Bound typescript of all acts with extensive markings and interpolations in Wilde’s hand in pen constituting revisions that Wilde made while reading the play for publication in 1899. Wilde apparently borrowed this typescript from Lewis Waller, the actor who played Sir Robert Chiltern in the original production, and then returned it once the printer had set up the pages for the first edition.“
(Riquelme,
p. 311)

Amon Carter Foundation

Amon Carter, Sr.

Amon Carter purchased the Lewis Collection after W. L. Lewis’ death in 1952. It was then on loan to TCU from 1955 to 1958.
(Texas Christian University Library, personal correspondence, Jan. 29-30, 2020)

W. L. Lewis Collection

“OSCAR WILDE. Printer’s copy typescript, with extensive holograph corrections and additions, of An Ideal Husband, 1899. 

Heavy laid paper for typescript (103 leaves in purple ink), 25.3 x 21 cm. No watermark. 

Lined notebook paper, cut to same size, for MS additions (4 leaves). 

The verso of most typescript leaves has MS notes, corrections, additions. 

Collation with the first edition reveals no significant discrepancies. 

Provenance: Ex libris Henry William Poor. Bound in full calf, gold tooled, spine lettered WILDE’S I IDEAL I HUSBAND I AUTHORS I TYPE WRITTEN | COPY I WITH I MS ADDITIONS.“

(see Kendall Jr., p. 142, item 96)

William Luther Lewis

“… purchased both the presentation copy [to Lewis Waller, see below] ($75) and the typescript ($400) from [Michael] Papantonio on a single invoice dated 30 September 1942.“
(Lich, p. 54n)

[presentation copy from Oscar Wilde to Lewis Waller, see The Library of Henry W. Poor, part III, Anderson Auction Company, New York, Jan. 14, 1909, lot 1002]

Michael Papantonio

“The typescript Ideal Husband was ‘from the estate of Mrs Strait’ and went from  Michael Papantonio to W. L. Lewis, September 1942.“
(Kendall Jr., p. 191)

Mrs Strait

“The typescript Ideal Husband was ‘from the estate of Mrs Strait’ and went from Michael Papantonio to W. L. Lewis, September 1942.“
(ibid.)

James F. Drake

“James F. Drake secured this [typewritten manuscript] also for $200, on order.“
(
The New York Times, Jan. 15, 1909, p. 12)

Catalogue of the Library of Henry W. Poor, part III, Anderson Auction Company, New York, Jan. 12-14, 1909, lot 1012

“An Ideal Husband. By the author of ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan.’ The author’s original typewritten manuscript, with the title, and a large number of corrections and additions in his autograph. 4to, full polished calf extra, gilt top.

The autographic corrections are unusually numerous, several pages being entirely in the author’s hand.“

“Typewritten manuscript of Lady Windermere’s Fan [i.e. An Ideal Husband], with the title, corrections and additions in his autograph. 4to, cf. Poor, A., Jan. 12, ’09 (1012) $200.00“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XV, 1909, p. 936)

“The Wilde autograph was his original typewritten manuscript of ‘An Ideal Husband,’ with the title and a large number of corrections and additions in his handwriting. Several of the pages are entirely in Wilde’s autograph. It is in polished calf binding. James F. Drake secured this also for $200, on order.“
(
The New York Times, Jan. 15, 1909, p. 12)

“Another manuscript draft of the play was sold by auction in New York for $200 on January 15, 1909.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, p. 436)

Henry William Poor

bookplate

Lewis Waller

“You said you would publish An Ideal Husband. That is delightful of you. The manuscript is in Lewis Waller’s possession, type-written. I will write to him for it. … My own manuscript as all my things – disappeared at the seizure of my house.“
(letter from Oscar Wilde to Leonard Smithers, ?29 Oct. 1897,
Complete Letters, p. 975)

“… we may conjecture that when Waller received Wilde’s request [mentioned in Wilde’s letter to Smithers, see Complete Letters, p. 975], he sent the manuscript directly to Wilde. We know that some days after Wilde wrote Smithers on 20 [i.e. 18, ibid., p. 1130] March 1899 that he was sending the finished play (most likely this printer’s copy typescript which may have been a rehearsal copy as well) to Smithers for the first edition. Later this printer’s copy typescript was sent by Smithers to Waller – returned to him, one conjectures, because it was the copy Waller had made available in the first place – together with a presentation copy that Wilde had inscribed for Waller and sent back to Smithers …“
(Lich, p. 48)

[Presentation copy of An Ideal Husband inscribed: “To Lewis Waller in recognition of his beautiful acting and art in my play. Oscar Wilde“
(see The Library of Henry W. Poor, part III, Anderson Auction Company, New York, Jan. 14, 1909, lot 1002)
]

18. Bound Proof Sheets

1899

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

*PR5818  I191

no digital copy

An Ideal Husband by the author of Lady Windermere’s Fan. London, Leonard Smithers and Co., 5 Old Bond Street, W., 1899. 

Bound in dark yellow calf, by Riviere; gold tooled. Proof sheets with revisions and additions in Wilde’s hand. Loose leaf laid in bearing Oscar Wilde’s signature and the date March 3rd ’82. Bound in dark yellow calf, by Riviere; gold tooled.“

“An ideal Husband by the author of Lady Windermere’s Fan. London, Leonard Smithers and co., 5 Old Bond Street, W., 1899.

Proof sheets with revisions and additions in Wilde’s hand. 

Loose leaf laid in bearing Oscar Wilde’s signature and the date March 3rd ’82 [?Duchess of Padua]. 

Bound in dark yellow calf, by Riviere; gold tooled.“
(
Finzi 2456)

see Complete Letters pp. 975, 1130, 1130n, 1135, 1139

“Bound proof sheets with revisions and additions in Wilde’s hand. Glued into the front is a British Museum Newspapers and Parliamentary Papers application slip with writing in ink by Wilde that consists of the title with unused subtitle, ’a new and Original Play of Modern Life,’ and list of persons and original actors.“
(Riquelme,
p. 310)

“Proof sheets with revisions and additions in pen in Wilde’s hand. There are substantial additions on pp. 18, 121, 162-67.“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 137)

“The publisher … was becoming impatient for copy, and Wilde’s constant additions and alterations in the proofs were a source of acrimonious correspondence.“
(Robert Ross, “Preface“, 1914, p. 6)

Walter T. Spencer

Sotheby’s, ?8 June 1929

An Ideal Husband, 1899,  a set of proof sheets, with many additions and amendments – £145 (Spencer).“
(
The Times, 9 June 1929, p. 11)

19. Autograph Draft of Title

unknown

?Beaumont

Library of E. Platt, etc., Puttick & Simpson, London, May 27-28, 1914, lot 522

An Ideal husband, 1st edn., a MS. draft of the title, in Oscar Wilde’s autograph, inserted, 1899 (P. May 28; 522) Beaumont, £5 10s.“
(
Book-Auction Records, vol. 11, 1914, p. 472) 

20. Lord Chamberlain’s License Copy (typewritten manuscript)

British Library
London

Add MS 53566 A

2 January 1895

“Typescript of complete play with the Lord Chamberlain’s label, upper right corner of title page: ‘No. 1 Date of Licence: January 2nd, 1895.’“
(Riquelme, 
p. 311)

“The  licensing copy (LC) … approximates to the uncorrected state of C [W. A. Clark Memorial Library].“
(Small and Jackson, p. 123)

21. Library of Congress

Copyright Copy

Library of Congress
Washington, DC

Feb. 9, 1907

Dramatic Compositions Copyrighted in the United States, 1870 to 1916, Volume 2, Library of Congress, Washington, 1918, p. 2604

Autograph / Typewritten Manuscript

Philip and A.S.W. Rosenbach,
[
?1895]

“I remember my brother Philip telling me that directly after the trial, he went into a famous bookshop in London, looking for manuscripts of Oscar Wilde. … To his surprise he saw on a table the original drafts of Wilde’s three plays The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, and Lady Windermere’s Fan. … It was obvious that the sooner [the bookseller] got those manuscripts out of his shop, the better he would feel. So my brother bought them immediately …“
(Rosenbach,
A Book Hunter’s Holiday, p. 7)

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