I have recently had the pleasure of cataloguing an extensive new chunk of the papers of Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Lord Norwich, and of his wife, the super-glamorous Lady Diana Cooper. We don’t have too many collections which describe parties in Venice where the hostess appears on a balcony wearing nothing in particular, and accessorised with a tame leopard on a leash!
Postcard of Mussolini from the Duff Cooper Papers. Reference: DUFC 1/15/2.
The rest of Duff Cooper’s papers came in years ago, back in 1986, but as often happens, his family retained a lot of the more personal material until just last year. In this case, this included most of Lady Diana’s papers, particularly her correspondence and diaries from Singapore, Algiers and Paris in the 1940s, some very interesting files relating to Duff’s political work in Algiers and Paris during and just after the war, a lot of literary and personal papers, including Duff’s letters to his mother from France during the First World War, and all of his famous diaries. John Julius Norwich published an edited version of the diaries in 2005, but as that is one volume, and the originals run to more than 30 volumes, you can see that there will be a lot for scholars to get their teeth into!