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The Devil to Pay Archive

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Wade-A-58

Scope and Contents

Printed copies of the play are found in folder 1, and in the book list at the end of the contents listing. The books, while remaining part of the archive, are now stored in the Wade Center book holdings, and may be retrieved by the archival staff upon request. Copies of the book covers are in folder 8.

Correspondence relating to the play is in folders 4-6, and was originally in a multi-tabbed folder (Lot 290, iiid) labeled “Notes on Mystery Plays / Devil to Pay / and Correspondence.” A copy of the folder’s cover is in the front of folder 4. One folder of material was removed from the folder relating to the York Mystery Plays, storage location to be determined. Folder 7 comes from Lot 290, id.


  • Created: 1938-1946
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1939


Conditions Governing Access

Copies or publication of unpublished materials by Dorothy L. Sayers require permissions from the Sayers Literary Executor.

Biographical or Historical Information

After the success of The Zeal of Thy House, The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral invited Sayers to write another play for the Canterbury Festival of 1939. Dorothy accepted, and the result was The Devil to Pay, a retelling of the story of Faust. The play moved to London in August 1939 and was performed in His Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket. The outbreak of war on September 3 brought the play's run to an end, and it has since then been seldom performed. The play was first published by Victor Gollancz Ltd. in London, 1939.

The material in this archive was acquired at auction from Sotheby's in London by the Wade Center in 2000. The original Sotheby's lot(s) included in this archive are: Lot 290 iiia-iiid and Lot 290 id (folder 7). Lot 290 iiib included the books in the listing at the end of the finding aid.


1.00 box : 8 folders, 4 books

0.3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This archive contains materials for the play The Devil to Pay by Dorothy L. Sayers, including copies of the play, correspondence, production notes, and financial returns.

Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

Researchers interested in this archive may also wish to consult the following resources in the Wade Center holdings:

A.C.H. "Another Triumph for Miss Sayers in Festival Play `The Devil to Pay'." Kent Messenger (June 17, 1939) dls-ARTICLE. AF-2415

Anonymous. "The Daniel Mayer Company presents The Devil to Pay by Dorothy L. Sayers." (His Majesty's Theatre: (n.d.): 10pp. dls-MISC. AF-17900

Canterbury Cathedral Chronicle. Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, various issues from 1931-1963. Stored in the Wade Center original periodicals holdings.

The Canterbury Festival: Souvenir Programmes. Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, includes issues from the years: 1936, 1937, 1947, 1951. Stored in the Wade Center original periodicals holdings.

Fairman, Marion Baker. The Neo-Medieval Plays of Dorothy L. Sayers. University of Pittsburgh, 1961. Dissertation

Friends of Canterbury Cathedral Annual Reports. Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, various issues from 1929-1964. Stored in the Wade Center original periodicals holdings.

Pickering, Kenneth. Drama in the Cathedral: The Canterbury Festival Plays, 1928-1948. Worthing, UK: Churchman Publishing with The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, 1985.

Reviews of the book and the performance of The Devil to Pay, see the Wade Center article file, Dorothy L. Sayers review section.

Sayers, Dorothy L. "The Devil to Pay." Church Times (August 4, 1939) DLS-LETTER TO THE EDITOR. AF-3745

The Zeal of Thy House Archive. Call no.: A-55

Other materials in the Wade Center holdings may relate to the topics in this archive. See the archivist for further research assistance.

Separated Materials

Books (ask the archivist for retrieval):

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Devil to Pay. (Friends of Canterbury Cathedral Edition / Acting Edition.) Canterbury: H.J. Goulden, Ltd., 1939.

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Devil to Pay. 2nd impression. London: Victor Gollancz, 1939. (Inscribed by DLS on the cover)

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Devil to Pay. 2nd impression. London: Victor Gollancz, 1939. (Cover advertisement reads: Now being performed at His Majesty’s Theatre)

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Devil to Pay. 1st edition. London: Victor Gollancz, 1939.

Other Descriptive Information

There is an acquisition file for this collection. Materials in this archive are also described in the following locations: DLS / MS-274, and the Wade Center book holdings. Materials relating to the York Mystery Plays were removed from Lot 290, iiid, and are now stored with the Sayers Manuscripts (DLS / MS-468). In the original materials archive, folder 4 is split into 2 folders (4a and 4b) for storage of the original tabbed folder in 4a. There is a research copy of this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Schmidt

The Devil to Pay Archive
Laura Schmidt
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Marion E. Wade Center Repository

Wheaton College
501 College Ave.
Wheaton IL 60187-5593 US