• Title
    Papers of John William Dunne
  • Reference
  • Production date
    1875 - 1949
  • Creator
    • Dunne, John WilliamBiography
  • Scope and Content
    The papers document the entire professional life of John William Dunne, pioneer designer of tailless aircraft, writer on parapsychology, fly-fisherman, and children's author. They document his experiments and developments in aviation, with diagrams and calculations, drawings, paper models, papers about the experiments at Blair Atholl, correspondence including letters about patents, photographs, and more. There are also papers relating to his work for the military on bacterial warfare, and the manuscript of 'The Millennium', a play that he wrote on the subject. The second strand of Dunne’s work, that of a writer, arose from his interest in dreams and precognition. He published An Experiment with Time in 1927, a book that attracted great general interest and influenced many contemporary writers and thinkers, including H. G. Wells, J. B. Priestley, C. S. Lewis, Walter de la Mare, and Kipling. The archive includes the manuscript of this book as well as Dunne's later publications and extensive correspondence with other writers and the general public. Letters from many of Dunne’s readers offer details of their own dreams and psychic experiences. The archive also holds a selection of Dunne's fly-fishing equipment. Dunne was a noted fly-fisherman, fly-tyer, and fly-designer, and he wrote on the subject. This element comprises mainly tins and envelopes of coloured silk, fabric and feathers for fly-fishing, and miscellaneous hardware.
  • Language
  • Archival history
    It appears that Dunne did not set out to archive his papers for posterity, but was nevertheless inclined to preserve anything that might be useful for his future work. During World War II, for example, he returned to the design of aircraft, and no doubt used the material he had preserved from his early engineering days before World War I. It is also clear from the notes he attached to his drafts and calculations that he made use of old material when composing new articles or books. Following his death, his wife Cecily continued his work, most notably arranging publication of his posthumous work 'Intrusions?' (1955). She also gathered together and organised his papers, which appear to have been scattered throughout various items of furniture in their Banbury home. Even though this organisation has not always survived, wherever possible the original arrangement has been retained.
  • Level of description
  • Repository name
    Science Museum, London
  • Conditions governing access
    Open Access
  • Conditions governing Reproduction
    Copies may be supplied in accordance with current copyright legislation and Science Museum Group terms and conditions
  • System of arrangement
    The papers have been divided into three main categories: aviation papers, papers relating to Dunne's publications, and papers relating to fly-fishing. As the original arrangement has been retained as far as possible, there is occasional crossover of subjects within the categories.
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