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Howard Spring

Author Howard SpringRobert Howard Spring was born in Cardiff, South Wales in 1889. His father, an itinerant gardener from Co. Cork, and his mother lived in poverty with their nine children in a small 2 bedroomed house.

His father died while he was still at school. His mother would go out scrubbing other peoples doorsteps and taking in their washing to earn some money while he and some of the other children took to selling firewood and rhubarb. He also found a Saturday job for 16 hours a day at a greengrocer. When was 12 years old he left school and started work as an errand boy at a butcher's shop which he hated.

His next job was as office boy with an accountant four miles from home in Cardiff Docks, a journey he walked each day. He was there for a year and learned how to use a typewriter. He then found a post at the South Wales Daily News as a messenger boy and here he taught himself shorthand and attended night school to improve his education.

He grasped the opportunities for advancement within the newspaper and was soon taking copy from the various reporters before being invited to join the reporting staff himself. After failing to have his first novel accepted he tried his hand at short stories and with his first earnings bought himself an overcoat.

After nine years with this newspaper he transferred to the Yorkshire Observer in Bradford, adding book reviewing to his talents. In early 1915 he obtained a reporter's job at the Manchester Guardian where he was to work for 15 years. He was unfit for active service during WW1 but joined the Army Service Corps and held every rank up to and including that of Warrant Officer, mainly attached to the Intelligence Department. His one surviving brother was killed at Arras.

In 1919 he met his future wife Marion and they married in March, 1920. He spent some time in Ireland reporting on the troubles between Great Britain and Sinn Fein and was present* at the fall of the Four Courts and the bombardment of the rebel headquarters in Sackville Street.
* Source: Biographical note by publisher on dustjacket of first edition of 'Shabby Tiger'

Marion introduced him to Cornwall where she had spent her childhood holidays, a county which was to figure largely in his novels and to which they would eventually move.

By 1931 his work had been noticed nationally and he was invited to work for the Evening Standard in London and became their book reviewer, succeeding J. B. Priestley and Arnold Bennett. His only published book at this stage, Darkie and Co., had been written for his children and he had sold all rights in it for £50.00.

Reviewing new books gave him confidence to try writing a novel again and his first, Shabby Tiger (1934), was accepted by the publisher Collins. Its moderate success was enough to encourage the sequel, Rachel Rosing (1935).

His major success came with O Absalom! (1938), his first novel set in Cornwall. Renamed My Son, My Son! for the American market this title was later adopted for the UK reprints. This andhis next novel, Fame is the Spur (1940), received critical acclaim and film rights to both were sold, putting Spring on a sound financial footing. After the publication of O Absalom! he was able to give up journalism and he and his wife moved to Mylor in Cornwall.

In August 1941 he received a strange request to leave England for three weeks to an undisclosed destination. He agreed and it turned out that he was to accompany the entourage of Winston Churchill, with H. V. Morton, on the battleship Prince of Wales to Newfoundland for the meeting with President Roosevelt. He covered the incident in his second volume of autobiography 'In the Meantime' (1942) and there is a fuller account in H. V. Morton's 'Atlantic Meeting' (1943).

Hard Facts (1944) and Dunkerleys (1946) followed and in 1947 they moved from Mylor to Falmouth. Novels continued to appear at regular intervals and he was reviewing books for Country Life when in the early 1960's he had a minor stroke and lost the use of his right hand. He recovered enough to write his last novel, Winds of the Day (1964) but had a further stroke and died 3rd May, 1965.


The following is a list of the UK works of Howard Spring in date order, not a list of the books we are offering for sale. For the the titles we currently have in stock see here

Original works

 

	1969 Oxford University Press reprint	Darkie and Co.
First issue date: 1932
Genre/Series: Children's Book
Publisher: Oxford University Press, London
Synopsis: The adventures of 'Darkie', an eleven-year-old really called John and his dog Bingo, who run away from home and meet some extraordinary people,
Notes: The author's first published book
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1969 Oxford University Press reprint


	1950 Collins reprint	Shabby Tiger
First issue date: 1934
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: Set in Manchester, follows the lives of some of the inhabitants including artist, Nick Faunt, the beautiful but amoral Anna Fitzgerald and ambitious Rachel Rosing who features in his second novel of that name.
Notes: The author's first adult novel
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1950 Collins reprint


	1943 Collins reprint	Rachel Rosing
First issue date: 1935
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: Beautiful and calculating, the heartless social climber Rachel Rosing's story of her marriage, career as an actress and near fame until a final disaster.
Notes: Sequel to Shabby Tiger
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1943 Collins reprint


	1964 Faber and Faber edition	Sampson's Circus
First issue date: 1936
Genre/Series: Children's Book
Publisher: Faber and Faber, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Illustrated by Stephen Spurrier
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1964 Faber and Faber edition


Book Parade
First issue date: 1938
Genre/Series: Criticism
Publisher: Constable, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Book reviews
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Viking, New York, 1939

 

	1939 Collins reprint	O Absalom! (later My Son, My Son!)
First issue date: 1938
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: The story of William Essex, author and playwright and his friend, Dermot O'Riorden, an 'arts and crafts' interior decorator and their respective sons Oliver and Rory, from lowly roots in 19thC Mancester to public acclaim in London and holidays in Cornwall, their lives, loves, successes and failures.
Notes: The first US edition was named My Son, My Son! as another book 'Absalom, Absalom' had just been published. The US title was later adopted for UK reprints, filmed in 1940.
US Title (If different): My Son, My Son!
US Publisher: Viking, 1938

1939 Collins reprint


	1939 1st UK edition	Heaven Lies about Us
First issue date: 1939
Genre/Series: Autobiography
Publisher: Constable, London
Synopsis:
Notes: First volume of autobiography covering childhood years, 6 line drawings by Gill-Lancaster on pale blue leaves tipped in, later reprinted in sl. smaller format to match 'In the Meantime' and 'And Another Thing'.
A larger format edition was published by Collins in 1956, illustrated by Lynton Lamb.
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Viking, New York, 1939

1939 1st UK edition


Tumbledown Dick: All People and No Plot
First issue date: 1939
Genre/Series: Children's Book
Publisher: Faber and Faber, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Illustrated by Stephen Spurrier
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Viking, New York, 1940

 

All They Like Sheep
First issue date: 1940
Genre/Series: Criticism
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Anti-Nazi propaganda, 30pp card covers,
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

 

	1944 Collins reprint	Fame is the Spur
First issue date: 1940
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: The story of Hamer Shawcross, his youth as a poor Manchester boy and his political rise to Cabinet Minister during the first half of the 20th century, includes the birth of the Labour Party and the Suffragette movement.
Notes: Filmed in 1947 with Nigel Balchin writing the script.
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Viking, New York, 1940

1944 Collins reprint


	1942 1st UK edition	In the Meantime: Reminiscences
First issue date: 1942
Genre/Series: Autobiography
Publisher: Constable, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Second volume of autobiography covering early maturity, pictorial endpapers by L. S. Lowry,
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1942 1st UK edition


	1944 1st UK edition	Hard Facts
First issue date: 1944
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: The story of Daniel Dunkerley, printer and entrepreneur and Alec Dillworth, would-be poet, his sister Elsie, their respective families and Theodore Crystal, curate, set in Manchester from 1885.
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Viking, New York, 1944

1944 1st UK edition


	1946 1st UK edition	And Another Thing
First issue date: 1946
Genre/Series: Autobiography
Publisher: Constable, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Third volume of autobiography expanding on the earlier autobiographies and adding accounts of more recent times,
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1945

1946 1st UK edition


	1946 1st UK edition	Dunkerleys
First issue date: 1946
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: Sir Daniel Dunkerley, now of Manchester Square, London, his son Laurie, Alec Dillworth and his sister Elsie, and the Rev. Crystal, with a new generation of characters.
Notes: Continuing the story started in 'Hard Facts' (1944)
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1947

1946 1st UK edition


	1948 1st UK edition	The Houses In Between
First issue date: 1948
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: A family saga of Sarah Rainborough, from the opening of the Crystal Palace in 1851, to WW2, in London and Cornwall,
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1951

1948 1st UK edition


	1948 1st UK edition	There is No Armour
First issue date: 1948
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: Family saga of Edward Pentcost RA, from 1899 Manchester to Cornwall and London, 1946. A successful artist looks back on his life and family.
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1948

1948 1st UK edition


Christians Awake
First issue date: 1949
Genre/Series: Short Story
Publisher: St. Hughs Press, London
Synopsis:
Notes: No date in first edition, consists of Chapter 12 of Tumbledown Dick
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

 

Christmas Honeymoon
First issue date: 1949
Genre/Series: Short Stories
Publisher: St. Hughs Press, London
Synopsis:
Notes: First separate publication, no date in first edition
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

 

Jinny Morgan
First issue date: 1952
Genre/Series: Drama
Publisher: Evans Brothers, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Acting edition
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

 

	1953 1st UK edition	A Sunset Touch
First issue date: 1953
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: Set during and after WW2, Mr. Menheniot believes himself the last descendant of a old Cornish family. His dream is to regain Rosemullion, a formidable country house in Cornwall which the family lost in the eighteenth century, and he is suddenly in a position to purchase it.
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1953

1953 1st UK edition


	1953 1st UK edition	Three Plays
First issue date: 1953
Genre/Series: Drama
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Contains the plays Jinny Morgan, The Gentle Assassin, St. George at the Dragon
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1953 1st UK edition


	1955 1st UK edition	These Lovers Fled Away
First issue date: 1955
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: A family saga, the story of writer Chad Boothroyd starts in Cornwall at the end of 19th C and ends in the Home Counties at the end of WW2,
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1955

1955 1st UK edition


	1957 1st UK edition	Time and the Hour
First issue date: 1957
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: A saga starting from Bradford of 1912 to the Yorkshire Dales and London, a story of young people growing up between the two World Wars,
Notes: Includes some of the characters introduced in 'Hard Facts' and continued in 'Dunkerleys
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1957

1957 1st UK edition


	1959 1st UK edition	All the Day Long
First issue date: 1959
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: Story of Maria Legassick, born 1876, youngest daughter of a Cornish vicar, her two sisters, Louisa and Bella and her brother Roger, set to start with in Cornwall where it also finishes,
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1959

1959 1st UK edition


	1961 1st UK edition	I Met a Lady
First issue date: 1961
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: A family saga of George Ledra from his childhood in Manchester, 1901 to Cornwall and London just after WW2, and his friendship with the Chown family and Robert Meagher who eventually became Lord Meagher,
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Bros., New York, 1961

1961 1st UK edition


	1964 1st UK edition	Winds of the Day
First issue date: 1964
Genre/Series: Novel
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis: The life story of Alice Openshaw who was born at the end of Victoria's reign, orphaned when she was twelve, in domestic service in Manchester and then Cardiff and her struggle to get on in life,
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher: Harper and Row, New York, 1964

1964 1st UK edition


	1972 1st UK edition	The Autobiography of Howard Spring
First issue date: 1972
Genre/Series: Autobiography
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Collected edition of previous volumes of autobiography with a foreword by A. L. Rowse,
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1972 1st UK edition


Eleven Stories and a Beginning
First issue date: 1973
Genre/Series: Short Stories
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis:
Notes:
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

 

Associated works


	1939 1st (and only) edition	Christmas Honeymoon (in The Queens Book of the Red Cross)
First issue date: 1939
Genre/Series: Short story
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton, London
Synopsis:
Notes: This book was a fund raising volume for nursing charities published shortly after the outbreak of WW2, of stories and illustrations by many popular authors and artists of the day and includes this short story
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1939 1st (and only) edition


	1964 1st UK edition	Memories and Gardens by Marion Howard Spring
First issue date: 1964
Genre/Series: Autobiography and gardening
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis:
Notes: By Howard Spring's wife, an account of her interest in gardening as well as memories of their shared interests
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1964 1st UK edition


	1967 1st UK edition	Howard by Marion Howard Spring
First issue date: 1967
Genre/Series: Biography
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis:
Notes: An affectionate memoir using much material from his own autobiographies but also adding her own personal memories
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

1967 1st UK edition


Frontispiece by Marion Howard Spring
First issue date: 1969
Genre/Series: Autobiography
Publisher: Collins, London
Synopsis:
Notes: Marion Howard Spring's autobiography of the years before she met her future husband, Howard Spring
US Title (If different):
US Publisher:

 

End of list:

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