Held AtGloucestershire Archives
Alt Ref NoD12912
TitleF W Harvey (1888-1957) of the Forest of Dean, poet, author, soldier, broadcaster and solicitor
DescriptionPapers of, and relating to, FW Harvey: poet, author, decorated WWI soldier (Distinguished Conduct Medal - August 1915), prisoner of war [POW] (August 1916-November 1918), BBC broadcaster, and solicitor.

Frederick William Harvey, the 'Laureate of Gloucestershire' came to national attention when his poetry describing his native Gloucestershire, written when serving in the First World War, captured the public imagination. His poetry, first published in 1916, also described the humour and tragedy of wartime army life. Will Harvey later combined writing with a legal career and became a popular broadcaster at the BBC. He was an accomplished singer, a lecturer, and was fluent in local dialects which he often used in poems. He was a passionate advocate for the Forest of Dean and its people, where he was widely loved for his generosity and kindness. Will was a formative influence on his great friend Ivor Gurney with whom he 'walked and talked' around the Gloucestershire countryside. They were often joined on their walks and at Will Harvey's home ('Redlands' at Minsterworth) by the young composer Herbert Howells. Gurney, Howells and other composers of the era set many of Will's poems to music. His works have a lyrical quality and many are infected with humour and pathos. His love of nature and belief in God as the creator of 'beauty' are common themes expressed in his work. Although eligible for a commission at the outset of the War Will joined his local Territorial battalion as a 'citizen' soldier. His writing skills emerged from his contribution to what was possibly the first trench newspaper of the First World War, The Fifth Gloucester Gazette. Selections from the newspaper and original work were published in a volume, A Gloucestershire Lad, to great acclaim in July 1916. Meanwhile, he had been decorated for gallantry and commissioned an officer. He was captured in August 1916 and the confines of his captivity produced two more popular volumes that were sent home and published. Will Harvey's younger brother Eric, a decorated officer in the same battalion, was killed in the final stages of the War, so Will's return was tinged with sadness. His spirits were raised through his renewed partnership with Ivor Gurney. In this period he wrote his only book of prose, Comrades in Captivity, a reflection of his life in seven prisoner of war camps, which included his observations on comradeship, escape attempts and depictions of daily routine. The mental decline of his friend Ivor Gurney and the need to support his family led Will to throw his weight behind his legal career as announced in the preface to his volume of poetry Farewell published in 1921.
Will Harvey's dissatisfaction with the Anglican Church and the socially reforming character of Catholicism in Edwardian England drew him and other intellectuals to join the Catholic Church. He was baptised at Chelmsford on November 1914. He aligned himself to the distributist philosophy of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton. In simple terms, he thought no man should have too much or too little. With some prescience in his writing, he anticipated the failings of socialism and capitalism in the twentieth century. The distributist movement never became a political force but it was a credo that steered him for the rest of his life. He rejected materialism, advocated for the poor and was steadfastly Catholic in his beliefs and outlook. His best work up until 1916 was captured in a volume The Augustan Books of Modern Poetry, a publication that reflected his status and reputation. Will's legal work - plus broadcasting, sporting life and love of socialising - meant that he only sporadically published after 1921, although his work continued to be included in numerous school textbooks, anthologies for children and anthologies of war and nature poetry. His most famous poem Ducks, was included in the BBC-produced volume The Nation's Favourite Poems.

The collection comprises the entirety of Harvey's papers that were discovered in his abandoned Yorkley home in 2010. It includes an abundance of original works, including over 450 individual manuscripts and typescripts of his poetry (D12912/3/1), an unpublished novel and two plays (D12912/3/2), and 46 previously-unknown essays and short stories.

Over 700 unique items of correspondence relating to FW Harvey are included and categorised as follows: D12912/1/1 - Correspondence relating to the family of FW Harvey - includes correspondence between Harvey and his family, mostly from family members to Harvey. Includes a significant amount of correspondence to him in German POW camps. D12912/1/2 - Correspondence between Harvey and other literary and musical figures - Includes correspondence between Harvey and figures such as his best friend Ivor Gurney, Herbert Howells, Herber Brewer, Marion Scott, John Haines, John Masefield, Evelyn Waugh, T. Sturge Moore, and others. D12912/1/3 -Correspondence between Harvey and Wartime Comrades. D12912/1/4 - Correspondence regarding publication of FW Harvey's works - all correspondence relating to publication of Harvey's poetry and attempts to publish prose, and includes a significant amount of items which detail publication of 'Gloucestershire Friends - Poems from a German Prison Camp', which is unique as the only collection of World War I poetry published while the prisoner was concurrently a POW. D12912/1/5 - General Correspondence relating to FW Harvey - Personal correspondence between Harvey and friends and acquaintances that do not fit into any other category. D12812/1/6 - Postcards, greeting cards, and correspondence cards relating to FW Harvey - From general correspondents, filed separately from other correspondence due to storage nature of the items. D12912/1/7 - Typed copies of FW Harvey's letters - Patrick Harvey's attempt to transcribe all of his father's letters [not comprehensive].

Series D12912/2 includes Harvey's notebooks, which contain more manuscript poems and essays, and includes the full manuscript of 'Gloucestershire Friends - Poems from a German Prison Camp'. The family home in Yorkley served as his office for the last twenty years of his life, and also included in the collection are Harvey's professional and vocational papers (D12912/5). D12912/5/3 are his solicitor's practice court papers, which are restricted until one hundred year old. D12912/7 contains documents relating to his military service in the Gloucestershire Regiment in World War I, and in the Home Guard in World War II. Harvey created a collection of thirteen scrapbooks relating to himself and his interests, which offer extensive insight into his biography and interests and have been voluntarily and exhaustively catalogued by FW Harvey Society member Steve Cooper (D12912/6). Many books and periodicals owned by Harvey are preserved here, and include his personal copies of the '5th Gloucester Gazette', the World War I trench journal he helped to create (D12912/8). D12912/9 consists of twenty-eight scripts for BBC productions, most written by Harvey, and all featuring him, along with 279 items of related correspondence. Also included are many of Harvey's personal documents such as his birth certificate and passport, photographs, banking records, and programmes from events he attended (D12912/4).
Admin HistoryThis collection was the result of a collaborative project between the FW Harvey estate, the University of Exeter, and Gloucestershire Archives. The catalogue was created by James Grant Repshire, a University of Exeter PhD student supervised by Professor Tim Kendall, Head of English at Exeter, and Julie Courtenay, Head of Collections at Gloucestershire Archives.

Following FW Harvey's death on 13 February 1957, his estate, including his papers and his house "Highview " at Yorkley, were inherited by his son Patrick Harvey. Patrick Harvey maintained stewardship of the papers, and made some alterations to them, as can be seen with the occasional notes in his handwriting on several items in the collection [these are identified in the item description where they occur]. Patrick was highly protective of the papers, insisting to researchers that all of his father's papers had been destroyed following his death. Patrick Harvey died in 2007; the papers remained, unknown to anyone, at Highview.

In 2012 Harvey's daughter, Eileen Griffiths (née Harvey), and his granddaughter, Elaine Jackson (née Griffiths), discovered the papers at the home when preparing it for renovation. They contacted the FW Harvey Society regarding them, and appointed society members Roger Deeks and Teresa Davies as trustees to the FW Harvey estate in order to care for the documents. Deeks and Davies took control of the documents, and kept them at their homes, where they began tentative work on cataloguing them. In doing so they separated out parts of the unpublished novel, 'Will Harvey - A Romance', and many essays, short stories, and BBC scripts. However, most of the collection remained unsorted. They soon made contact with Professor Tim Kendall at Exeter University, who proposed creating a collaborative doctoral studentship to see the papers catalogued and preserved by a doctoral student working at the Gloucestershire Archives. He secured funding for the project through the University's REACT (Research & Enterprise in Arts & Creative Technology) programme. James Grant Repshire was selected as the doctoral researcher.

In September 2012 the Harvey papers were handed over to the Gloucestershire Archives (as accession 12912) , and Repshire began work on them. Though some sorting of the materials had already been done, most were still completely unsorted, and many documents had been taken apart and randomly placed among each other, including some lost pages of the novel. Repshire spent a few weeks gaining familiarity with the documents, before deciding on the best system for sorting them, which is reflected in the catalogue subseries. Documents were sorted into groups in order to best reflect Harvey's original intent for them, and to maintain as closely as is possible a correct chronological order within the series and subseries. Sorting and cataloguing the documents in this manner was a painstaking process, often involving such minutia as testing whether documents were once kept together by lining up old staple holes or stains on the documents. Many letters in Harvey's correspondence were undated; they have been placed in chronological order through conscientious analysis of context and style. Most of Ivor Gurney's letters to Harvey were undated; however, his wartime letters have been ordered to a high-level of accuracy by comparing German prison-camp censors' stamps on them with those found on dated letters from other correspondents, and combining this information with context. Many undated documents in Harvey's hand have been generally dated by analysing the gradual degradation of his handwriting over time, and combining with context. Wherever dates have been supplied, comments in the "notes" section of the catalogue entry explain what method was used to supply the date. Several groups of seemingly unrelated items were found fastened together by FW Harvey, these have been kept together to maintain provenance. These items are filed among subseries using the date of the earliest document in the group; this is noted in the "notes" section.

The Harvey Collection was catalogued as part of a partnership project funded by a REACT Award from the University of Exeter from October 2012 to October 2013. The completed catalogue was officially launched on 8 November 2013
Custodial HistoryDeposited by Elaine Jackson via The Harvey Society, 28 September 2012 (Steve Cooper, chairman of the Society, is acting on behalf of Mrs Jackson in dealing with requests for written permission)
Related MaterialSee also D12863 (papers relating to biography of poet F W Harvey); D10500 (papers of and relating to Ivor Gurney of Gloucester, poet and composer (1890-1937)); D12131 acc 13400 (copy of letter from John (Jack) C. Fielding to John Fielding written 1 October 1916, for Jack Fielding's speculations on Harvey's capture during the First World War)

Select Bibliography
Frances Townsend, The Laureate of Gloucestershire (Redcliffe Press, 1988)
Anthony Boden, F.W. Harvey, Soldier Poet (Alan Sutton, 1988; reissued revised and extended edition, Douglas McLean, 2010)
F.W. Harvey, Collected Poems 1912-1957 (Douglas McLean, 1983; 2nd edition 2009)
F.W. Harvey, A Gloucestershire Lad at Home and Abroad (Sidgwick and Jackson, 1916; reissued Douglas McLean, 1988)
R.K.R. Thornton and Anthony Boden (eds) F.W. Harvey, Selected Poems (Douglas McLean, 2011), note: includes a CD recording of 64 poems including five read by F.W. Harvey in 1938.

Access ConditionsThese records are open for research except for the legal papers comprising series D12912/5/3/1-27 which are closed until 100 years old. The collection is owned by the Harvey family (represented by Mrs Elaine Jackson) and so that its use can be monitored, researchers will need to complete an access form at Gloucestershire Archives before consulting any material.
Researchers wishing to make copies from the collection should apply to Gloucestershire Archives initially. Please note that written permission from Mrs Jackson is needed:
before making any digital copies; before copying more than 75% of any unpublished manuscripts in any way; before publishing any material; and before public performances, recordings or media broadcasts of any works
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