BROOKE, Margaret (1849-1936). Ranee of Sarawak.
Fine collection of letters from acquaintances of the Ranee of Sarawak, mainly concerning her books about life in Sarawak, ca 1898-1934, ca 78.
Sir Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke (1829-1917), naval officer and second raja of Sarawak ... married quietly at Highworth on 28 October 1869 their daughter Margaret Lili Alice de Windt (d. 1936), aged twenty-one, sister of Harry de Windt (1856-1933), the explorer: they had five sons and one daughter. She was tall, fair, good-looking, intelligent, and a talented pianist. She did not find her marriage easy, with Brooke's parsimoniousness and austerities, and his failure to appreciate her talent. They went out to Sarawak in early 1870 and their first three children were born there, only to die of cholera on the return voyage through the Red Sea in September 1873. They subsequently had three more sons, who survived. From the mid-1880s the raja and the rani were estranged and led separate lives. There had been conflict over money matters and her health had never been good in Sarawak. Her last visit there was in 1895 when the raja was not present. [R.H.W. Reece in Oxford DNB]The collection comprises:
Mary Ponsonby (campaigner for women's rights), two Autograph Letters Signed on b.e.s, 8 pages 8vo, Ascot and St James's Palace, 24 October 1898 and 27 December 1901. Thanking her for a note and a gift.
John Ponsonby, two Autograph Letters Signed, 3 pages 16mo and 2 pages 8vo, Chelsea Park Gardens, 4 April 'Easter Sunday' and 5 July, no year Thanking her for a medal and commenting on a speech by Edward Lyttelton, and accepting her condolences for the death of Maggie.
Maggie [Magdalen] Ponsonby, Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page 8vo, no place, no date Advising her that Longman would be interested in meeting her to discuss publishing her book.
?Ponsonby family member, Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages 4to, St James's Palace, 23 July 1934. Relating news of a holiday.
Lord Headley (civil engineer and convert to Islam), 4 Autograph Letters Signed, 10 pages 4to, Portland Place, 3 and 28 January, 26 and 27 February 1935. Discussing the practicalities of producing specially bound presentation copies of the Quran.
Elizabeth Haldane (public servant and author), 3 Autograph Letters Signed, 8 pages 8vo, Perthshire and Westminster, 9 September 1922, 'Sunday', no year, and 11 April 1934. Reporting on the improved health of her brother Richard, and requesting to meet while in London.
?Guy Fleetwood-Wilson (signed 'Guido'), 6 Autograph Letters Signed, 13 pages 8vo, Portman Square and Tunbridge Wells, 11 November 1934 to 24 August 1936. Complimenting her on her book, '... There is such a delightful undercurrent of humour running through it and not a trace of bitterness anywhere. Your account of your honeymoon is the most delightfully amusing thing I have ever read. ...', reporting on a visit to Florence, commenting on the situation in India and on his ill health, and recommending that she try a belt to cure her sciatica.
Bishop of Sarawak, Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages 8vo, Sarawak, 13 October 1904. Thanking her for her condolences over the death of his wife.
John Moulton, Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages 8vo, Sarawak, 18 June 1924. Commenting on inaccuracies in the Exhibition handbook, and expressing hope that she may visit Sarawak again in the future.
'... Personally I think the part about the second Rajah was far too short, out-of-proportionately so. For although Sir James Brooke will always stand out - and rightly so - as the Founder of Sarawak and incidentally of a unique regime, the second Rajah as the Builder should receive equal appreciation. ...'Charles Hose (colonial official and ethnologist), 5 Autograph Letters Signed, 28 pages 8vo, Diss, Norfolk, 27 and 29 May 6 and 11 June 1913. With Autograph Letter Signed with envelope to Miss Jean Brooke, date stamped 13 January 1934. Supplying the descriptions of certain birds and lizards local to Sarawak for the book she is proposing to write, and discussing his research into beri-beri disease.
Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak, Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 8vo, Sarawak, 21 May 1873. Expressing sympathy for her ill health.
Averil Le Gros Clark, 2 Autograph Letters Signed, 8 pages 8vo, Sarawak, 6 April and 20 June, no year Discussing details of providing illustrations for the Ranee's book, congratulating her on a new great grandson, and relating local news.
'... I have 8 adorable little Malay girls aged from 9 - 12 years who come once a week and spend the morning hard at work ... learning to embroider. They are pathetically eager to learn, and go home and try all sorts of things on their own during the week - usually frightful flowers in nightmare colours - but it keeps them occupied... 'Edward Thompson (teacher and writer), Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages 8vo, Oxford, 22 October 1937. Thanking her for her letter, and inviting her to visit them in Oxford.
C. Bampfylde, Autograph Letter Signed, 5 pages 4to, Seaford, 17 June 1913. Discussing progress of the Ranee's book, and supplying information to various research queries.
H.J. Deshon [Harry Deshon, one of the Raja's officials who became a friend], Autograph Letter Signed, 1½ pages 4to, Bath, 11 October 1923. Thanking her for sending a copy of her book.
Oliver Locker-Lampson (son of poet Frederick Locker-Lampson), Autograph Letter Signed in pencil, 5 pages 4to, Cromer, 5 November 1934. Complimenting her on her book.
Sir Frank Swettenham (colonial administrator whom she had met in Singapore and who became a close friend), 4 Autograph Letters Signed, 6¼ pages 8vo, London, 2, 6, 15 July and 14 September, no year Giving news of his health, and complimenting her on her book.
Sir Clive Wigram, Typewritten Letter Signed, ½-page 4to, Balmoral Castle, 8 September 1934. Writing on behalf of the King to thank her for a copy of her book.
Alfred Hartley, Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 8vo, Rosslane, 28 September 1930. Announcing their move from St Ives.
Roland Green, 7 Autograph Letters Signed, 21 pages 8vo and 4to, London, Essex, Norfolk, October 1922 to October 1936. Discussing artwork, bird life, and complimenting her on her book.
H.A. Benalon, Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 4to, Cornwall, 17 March 1919. Expounding on spiritual and religious topics.
Carice Blake (Elgar's daughter), Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 8vo, Petworth, 8 July 1930. Returning her handkerchief.
Ottwell Binns, Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages 8vo, Lelant, 12 August 1934. Thanking her for arranging the placing of an ancient cross in a more prominent position where it can be admired.
Dorothy Blessley, Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 4to, Weston-super-Mare, 28 August 1935. Complimenting her on her book and commenting on the similarities between their marriages.
'... It has given me courage to go on, for though a younger woman - I too am now a widow - and endured the same hunger pangs for a little appreciation and affection from my husband: for your description of the Rajah might have been my husband - it was the estate and conserving of capital that was always final - oh what they missed!... 'Helen Egerton, Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 4to, London, 22 June 1935. Complimenting her on her book.
?Harry Sobell, Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages 8vo, Wemyss Castle, 17 March 1903. Thanking her for a letter and exchanging news of mutual acquaintances.
?Angus Whitley, Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages 8vo, Halifax, 26 May 1958. Providing details of a brief acquaintance he had with her brother, Harry de Windt, when travelling to Colombo in 1894.
Ettie Rogers, Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages 8vo, Helston, 15 April 1934. Thanking her for a photograph and recalling their recent meeting with affection.
Carlino Placci, 2 Autograph Letters Signed, 5 pages 8vo, Viareggio and Florence, 28 February 1935 and 11 June 1936. Referring to the war and strained relations between England and Italy which has kept him from visiting, and requesting that she recommend an acquaintance, John Barcroft, to her son, as they are both living in Sarawak.
Dorothy Whipple (novelist), 3 Autograph Letters Signed, 6 pages 4to, Nottingham, 4 and 17 January, 3 February 1933. Thanking her for her compliments on her novel 'Greenbanks', and exchanging views on other books she might like.
Julian Dugaid, Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages 8vo, Fareham, 8 September 1931. Thanking her for her compliments on his book, commenting on an incident with a reader who did not like his views on Indians, and sending her photographs of a trip to hunt tigers.
H. Warrington-Smyth, 5 Autograph Letters Signed and Autograph Letter Signed from Annabel Warrington-Smyth, 16 pages 8vo, Calamansac, May 1932 to August 1934. Referring to various visits, trips, recitals and their writing projects.
Morton Fullerton, Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 8vo, Rue du Mont Thubor, 29 May 1934. Expressing concern that the photograph she promised to send has been lost in the post.
J.H. Driberg, Typewritten Letter Signed, 1 page 4to, Tavistock Place, 3 June 1932. Thanking her for a letter and her compliments about his book.
Raymond Blathwayt, 5 Autograph Letters Signed, 6 pages 4to, Frascati Nursing Home, Bromley, 21 December, 21 March, 26 May, 11 July no year, 16 September 1934. Referring frequently to a friend, 'Harry', and their respective books.
Percy Kahn, Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages 8vo, Golders Green, 31 August 1930. Referring to a pleasant afternoon spent singing, and suggesting a future dinner invitation.
Marya Seguel, Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages 8vo, Redruth, 17 December 1934. Thanking her for her encouragement and interest in her writing.William Reed, (violinist and composer friend of Elgar), Autograph Letter Signed ('Billy'), 6 pages 8vo, Royal Hotel, Bristol, 21 November 1930. Discussing their recording of the Bach Sonata No. 4 and future musical projects, and warning her that 'Edward' [Elgar] dislikes a musical acquaintance.
'... I had better warn you in case you write to him he dislikes Hengelberg for some reason - I think they had a tiff over some conducting or something at Amsterdam years ago ...'In her memoir /Good Morning & Good Night (1934), the Ranee recounts the story of how Elgar, a 'very great friend', introduced Reed to her to play violin and piano music. The two became regular musical companions and together also recorded Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' sonata in 1931. This is presumably now a very rare recording.
The image links to a larger or more detailed version.