A Collection of Papers from the Archive of Publisher Victor Gollancz, Relating to the Publication History of <em>The Scottish Covenanters 1660-1688</em> by Ian B. Cowan A Collection of Papers from the Archive of Publisher Victor Gollancz, Relating to the Publication History of <em>The Scottish Covenanters 1660-1688</em> by Ian B. Cowan
Original Correspondence

A Collection of Papers from the Archive of Publisher Victor Gollancz, Relating to the Publication History of The Scottish Covenanters 1660-1688 by Ian B. Cowan

N.p. [London]: N.p., V.d.

A small quantity of typed and holograph correspondence, and associated materials, between and concerning Ian B. Cowan, his publisher, and interested parties, relating to the publication of The Scottish Covenanters 1660-1688, various sizes and dates, the whole housed in a manila folder. Some browning and general edgewear consistent with age, but a well preserved collection.


Ian B. Cowan [1932-1990] was born in Dumfries and attended Dumfries Academy and Edinburgh University. After leaving the R.A.F. in 1956, Cowan was an assisitant in Scottish History at Edinburgh for three years, before lecturing at Newbattle Abbey College and from 1962 at Glasgow University. He was made Reader in Scottish History there in 1977, and gained a personal Chair in 1983. He served as President of the Scottish Church History Society, Editor of the Scottish Historical Review, and Treasurer of the Scottish History Society.

Gollancz published Cowan's book The Enigma of Mary Stuart in 1971. Correspondence in the file shows that on 2 April that year Cowan and Giles Gordon, Editorial Director at Gollancz, met for a congratulatory lunch, at which the possibility of a book on the covenanters was first discussed. After many delays (see below) the book was finally published on 29 April 1976.

As well as the correspondence referred to above, the file also contains:

-- Typed book synopsis by Cowan, outlining preface, introduction, nine chapters and an epilogue. Signed by Cowan and dated 8 June 1971;

-- Typed letter from Giles Gordon, Gollancz Editorial Director, to Cowan, 23 June 1971, accepting the book for publication, stating terms, and setting a delivery date of 30 June 1973;

-- TLS from Cowan to Gordon, 25 June 1971, agreeing terms;

-- Memorandum of Agreement between Gollancz and Cowan, 5 July 1971, signed by Cowan and John Bush, Joint Managing Director of Gollancz, with an ALS cover letter from Cowan;

-- ALS from Cowan to Editorial Director Kevin Crossley-Holland (who replaced Giles Gordon at Gollancz in 1972), 20 December 1973, requesting a delivery extension to 30 June 1974. (The extension was granted.);

-- ALS from Cowan to Crossley-Holland, 10 September 1974, asking for a further extension. In his typed reply Crossley-Holland grants a final extension, to 31 March 1975, after which the advance should be repaid should Cowan fail to meet the deadline;

-- ALS from Cowan to Crossley-Holland, 14 October 1974, discussing (and undertaking to honour) a revised delivery date of 31 March 1975;

-- 2 ALS from Cowan to Crossley-Holland, 23 March and 28 April 1975, notifying him of completion of the book and discussing its length, the possibility of illustrations and other matters relating to publication. The later letter has a brief and favourable handwritten, but unsigned, reader's report. Receipt of the manuscript is acknowledged in a letter from Crossley-Holland dated 23 May, in which Cowan is congratulated '...on what we think to be a most successful piece of work.';

-- Undated reader's report, unsigned but with four sets of signed initials to front page: 'No doubt [Cowan's] book will be welcomed by students of the period, but for the general reader it is rather solid going.';

-- ALS from Cowan to Crossley-Holland, 11 June 1975, enclosing the draft blurb (present) for the book's dustwrapper;

-- Cowan's Biographical and Publicity Information Form, completed by Cowan (mostly typed, with some holograph additions and corrections), June 1975;

-- ALS from Cowan to Crossley-Holland, 17 July 1975, accepting Crossley-Holland's decision not to change the book's title to Martyrs or Fanatics?

Also present is a small collection of correspondence between Cowan and Crossley-Holland discussing pre-publication editorial and authorial corrections to the text, illustrations for the dustwrapper, compilation of the index etc., together with trial printings of the dustwrapper; correspondence between Gollancz and possible US publishers of the book; correspondence between Gollancz and potential suppliers of comment for quotation on the book's dustwrapper; discussion of author's copies, and Cowan's request for more; 3 b&w photographs (two different images) of the author.

The complete publication history of a work of one of Scotland's pre-eminent historians.

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