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He That Should Come Archive

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Wade-A-56

Scope and Contents

Printed copies of the play are found in folders 1-3, and in the book listed at the end of the contents listing. This book, while remaining part of the archive, is now stored in the Wade Center book holdings, and may be retrieved by the archival staff upon request. Correspondence relating to the play is in folders 4-5.


  • Created: 1938-1954
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1938-1939


Conditions Governing Access

Copies or publication of unpublished materials by Dorothy L. Sayers require permissions from the Sayers Literary Executor.

Biographical or Historical Information

He That Should Come is a religious nativity play that Sayers wrote at the invitation of the BBC, and was first broadcast on Christmas Day, 1938. The setting of the play is in the inn at Bethlehem and revolves around the discussions leading up to the birth of the Messiah. The play was first published in 1939 by Victory Gollancz Ltd, London.

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 iia-iie. Lot 290 iic included the single book in the listing at the end of the finding aid. Folder 1a contains material found in Sotheby's Lot 290 ix.


1.00 box : 7 folders, 1 book

0.3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The He That Should Come archive contains materials relating to the religious play of the same title by Dorothy L. Sayers, including printed copies of the play and correspondence.

Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

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

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

Reviews of the book and the performance of He That Should Come, see the Wade Center article file, Dorothy L. Sayers review section.

Sayers, Dorothy L. He That Should Come: A Nativity Play for Broadcasting. Incomplete. 25 pp. AMs. with revisions, signed. (DLS manuscript #109)

Sayers, Dorothy L. He That Should Come: A Nativity Play for Broadcasting. Music by Robert Chignell. 24 pp. pc. AMs. (DLS manuscript #261)

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

Separated Materials

(ask the archivist for retrieval):

Sayers, Dorothy L. He That Should Come. London: Victor Gollancz, 1939. (1st edition, contains inscription from DLS which reads: “I.A.S. from DLS” – presentation copy to her cousin, Ivy Shrimpton)

Other Descriptive Information

There is an acquisition file for this collection. Materials in this archive are also described in the following locations: DLS / MS-272, 273, and the Wade Center book holdings. There is a research copy of this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Schmidt

He That Should Come 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