The Zeal of Thy House Archive
Scope and Contents
The Zeal of Thy House archive contains 18 folders of materials relating to the religious play of the same title by Dorothy L. Sayers. Printed copies of the play are found in folders 1-2, 17-18, and in the list of books in the separated materials listing. The books, while remaining part of the Zeal archive, are now stored in the Wade Center book holdings, and may be retrieved by the archival staff upon request.
Correspondence relating to the play (from play supporters, friends of Sayers, the actors, and persons related to the logistics of the play) is located in folders 3-7, 10. Musical scores from the play are in folders 8-9. Financial records, including theater returns from the play’s tour, are stored in folders 5-6, 10-15.
Folders 5-6 came from a multi-tabbed folder entitled “The Zeal of Thy House (Tour)” and placement of the original tabbed divisions are noted in each of the folders. A photocopy of the original folder is found in the front of folder 5.
Photographic materials are found in the following folders: 5, 7, 19.
- Created: 1930-2002
- Other: Majority of material found in 1937-1939
Conditions Governing Access
Copies or publication of materials by Dorothy L. Sayers require permissions from the Sayers Literary Executor.
Biographical or Historical Information
The Zeal of Thy House is a religious play written by Dorothy L. Sayers for the Festival of the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral in 1937. The invitation for Sayers to write the play came in 1936 from Margaret Babington, the Canterbury Festival organizer, at the suggestion of Charles Williams, who was already an admirer of Sayers's work. The subject of the drama focuses on the story of William of Sens, the architect appointed to rebuild the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral in the 12th century. The play's first performance was on June 12, 1937 in the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral. Zeal was published in 1937 by H.J. Goulden in a slightly shortened acting edition, and then in a full trade edition by Victor Gollancz that same year.
Other plays commissioned by the Festival of the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral included: The Coming of Christ by John Masefield (1928), The Young King by Laurence Binyon (1934), Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot (1935), Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury by Charles Williams (1936), Christ's Comet by Christopher Hassall (1938), The Devil to Pay by Dorothy L. Sayers (1939), Peasant's Priest by Laurie Lee (1947), and Thor, with Angels by Christopher Fry (1948).
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 ia-ie. Lot 290 ib included the 5 books in the separated materials listing.
1.00 box : 20 folders, 5 books
0.5 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The Zeal of Thy House archive contains materials relating to the religious play of the same title by Dorothy L. Sayers, including printed copies of the play, correspondence, music, and financial records from when the play was touring in 1938-1939.
Source of Acquisition
01/1a, 07/61, 81/182
Books (ask the archivist for retrieval):
Nicoll, Allardyce. STUART MASQUES AND THE RENAISSANCE STAGE. London: George G. Harrap & Company Ltd., 1937. (flyleaves signed by the cast of the Westminster, Garrick and Duke of York’s theaters on June 13 for Dorothy L. Sayers on her birthday)
Sayers, Dorothy L. THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE. Preface by Laurence Irving. London: Victor Gollancz, 1946 (14th impression).
Sayers, Dorothy L. THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE. Preface by Laurence Irving. London: Victor Gollancz, 1949 (16th impression, flyleaves signed by the cast of a Zeal performance).
Sayers, Dorothy L. THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE. (Friends of Canterbury Cathedral Edition / Acting Edition). Canterbury: H.J. Goulden, Ltd., 1937.
Sayers, Dorothy L. THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE. Preface by Laurence Irving. London: Victor Gollancz, 1939 (6th impression, endpaper signed by the cast of a Zeal performance; unpublished song penciled by Sayers on rear endpaper).
Other Descriptive Information
Includes photographs. There is an acquisition file for this collection. Materials in this archive are also described in the following locations: DLS / MS-270, 271, and the Wade Center book holdings. There is a research copy of this collection.
Processed by Laura Schmidt
- The Zeal of Thy House Archive
- Laura Schmidt
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