Leonard Clark letters to Tom Turner

Biographical and Historical Notes

Leonard Clark

British poet, editor and educator Leonard Clark was born on August 1, 1905, in St. Peter Port, England.

As an educator Clark began his career in 1921, as a teacher in Gloucestershire and later taught in London. In 1936, he became an inspector of schools with the British Ministry of Education and served until 1970.

Clark wrote more than sixty books, including his own poetry and anthologies of poetry for adults and children, such as The Open Door: An Anthology of Verse for Children (1937). In addition writing poetry, Clark completed several autobiographies, edited poetry series such as Longman's Poetry Library and Poets for the Young, and contributed poems and articles to magazines and journals.

In 1970, Leonard Clark was made a knight of St. Sylvester. Clark died in London in 1981.

Sources

"Leonard Clark." Contemporary Authors Online. Gale Biography In Context. http://ic.galegroup.com (accessed February 7, 2013)

Tom Turner (1870-1949)

Tom Turner (1870-1949) was a British post office official and an ardent bibliophile.

He was named "Tom" rather than "Thomas" because his mother, against the advice of the parson, felt that he should be christened the name he would inevitably be called. Turner began working at the Bradford Post office at age 16 and remained there for 44 years, retiring in 1930 from his post as assistant superintendent.

Turner loved to collect books (although he did not like to be called a "collector") and amassed a library of thousands of volumes. Unlike many bibliophiles, he enjoyed sharing his books, lending and giving away as many as he kept for himself. He also loved to share with others the knowledge he had gained from his extensive reading, and he loved to talk about books. He befriended and regularly corresponded with several authors, notably L. A. G. Strong, whose The Sacred River: An Approach to James Joyce was dedicated to Turner. His library, containing over 8,000 volumes, was purchased by the University of Illinois in 1952.

Sources

Ray, Gordon Norton. Books As a Way of Life. (New York: The Grolier Club, 1988). 372-375.

Content Description

British poet Leonard Clark wrote to British poet and bibliophile Tom Turner regarding literary and personal matters.

These three letters, written by Leonard Clark, suggest that Tom Turner had encouraged Clark as a poet, and had also been supportive of Salamander Press, for which Clark was an honorary consultant.

In Clark's first letter, written on Salamander Press stationery, he thanked Turner for his assistance in securing work by Cecil Day Lewis, John Middleton Murry, Wildfrid Gibson and Walter de la Mare, for publication by The Salamander Press. On a personal note, Clark mentioned his plan to meet their mutual friend, L. A. G. Strong, and Turner's daughter Mary, in London the following week.

Clark wrote in his second letter of his hope to visit Turner in the near future, mentioned his visit with L. A. G. Strong and Mary Turner, and again thanked Turner for his encouragement.

In the final letter, Leonard Clark wrote that Walter de la Mare was working to have Clark's poetry published by Fabers. Clark planned to dedicate the book to de la Mare and Turner. In Salamander business, Clark conveyed that Frank Swinnerton and James Laver would be submitting work to Salamander Press.