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The Just Vengeance Archive

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Wade-A-60

Scope and Contents

The Just Vengeance archive contains materials relating to the religious play of the same title by Dorothy L. Sayers. Printed copies of the play are found in folders 1, 3, and 4, and in the books listed 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.


  • Created: 1946-1948
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1946-1947


Conditions Governing Access

Copies or publication of unpublished materials by Dorothy L. Sayers require permissions from the Sayers Literary Executor.

Biographical or Historical Information

The Just Vengeance is a religious drama that Dorothy L. Sayers wrote at the invitation of Lichfield Cathedral for a festival celebrating the cathedral’s 750th anniversary in June 1946. The play was performed several times during the festival, and later aired over BBC radio as well. It was published in book form by Victor Gollancz soon after its first performance in 1946. The subject matter of the drama centers around the moment of death for an airman shot down during World War II, and his resultant understanding of God’s Atonement for mankind.

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 va-d. Lot 290 vd included the books in the listing at the end of this finding aid.


1.00 box : 4 folders, 2 books

0.3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Just Vengeance archive contains materials relating to the religious play of the same title by Dorothy L. Sayers including: a script of the play, press cuttings of reviews, and materials relating to the Lichfield Cathedral festival, where the play was first performed in June 1946.

Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

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

anonymous. "The Just Vengeance Play Program and Friends of Lichfield Cathedral Membership Form." (Lichfield, UK: Lomax's Successors). (1946): 4pp. (AF-18281)

The Dorothy L. Sayers Papers, folder 528. Letters relating to The Just Vengeance, theater, etc., 1944-1946.

Fairclough, Alan. "Dorothy Sayers and Religious Drama in England: The Just Vengeance." Christian Drama 1 (November 1946): 3-9. (AF-5272)

Fairman, Marion Baker. THE NEO-MEDIEVAL PLAYS OF DOROTHY L. SAYERS. Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1961. Dissertation

Fox, George. The Journal of George Fox. ed. John L. Nickalls. (Cambridge: The University Press). (1952): 70-73. (AF-11354)

Hopkins, Antony. "The Just Vengeance." (London: J & W Chester). (1946): 42 pp. (AF-15952)

THE JUST VENGEANCE. Incomplete. (n.d.) 63 pp. AMs. in 53 lvs. with revisions, signed. (DLS manuscript #121)

THE JUST VENGEANCE : Miscellaneous material. Versos of some pages include abandoned DLS material such as an essay on translating Dante (MS-216), and a letter to "Mr. Gollancz" concerning a lawsuit. (n.d.) 23 pp. in 14 lvs. with revisions: 21 pp. AMs., 1 p. TMs., 1 p. AMs. sketch; plus AMs. fragment. (DLS manuscript #122)

THE JUST VENGEANCE. Miscellaneous material. Handwritten announcement for B.B.C. adaptation of "The Just Vengeance." Marginal pencil notes on Ruskin, Luther, Church. (n.d.) 4 pp AMs. in 2 lvs. (DLS manuscript #622)

Lambourne, Norah. "Recollections of Designing for the Religious Plays of Dorothy L. Sayers." Costume, the Journal of the Costume Society n.25 (1991): 1-17. (AF-12103)

Reviews of the book and the performance of The Just Vengeance, see the Wade Center article file, Dorothy L. Sayers review section.

Reynolds, Barbara. Chapter 6 of The Passionate Intellect. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1989.

The Barbara Reynolds Papers

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

Separated Materials

Sayers, Dorothy L. THE JUST VENGEANCE. London: Victor Gollancz, 1946. 1st edition

Sayers, Dorothy L. FOUR SACRED PLAYS. London: Victor Gollancz, 1948.

Other Descriptive Information

There is an acquisitions file for this collection. There is a research copy of this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Schmidt

The Just Vengeance 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