As with so much of the archives at Downside, an item found can lead to an interesting story and the discovery of more material. As it is with our collection of Graham Greene books and archives. 

One of our volunteers has been working on the archives of Bishop David Mathew and his brother Rev. Fr Gervase Mathew OP, which were left to Downside. Inside one box of letters were some from the renowned author Graham Greene. This then led to a search of the library catalogue which threw up a number of books in the collections which had been given to Bishop Mathew or members of the Downside community. 

One book, Doctor Fischer of Geneva, or The Bomb Party, is inscribed to Bishop Christopher Butler. ‘Dear Bishop Butler, Perhaps this is short enough to be said during the advertisements on TV. Affectionately, Graham Greene.’ 

Others are inscribed to ‘David’, or Bishop Mathew who is buried here at Downside. ‘For David – I’m fine and trembling – but fine. From Graham. Christmas 1965. “I am not sure. I think so. but I am not sure…” p.187.’ This relates to a quote in the book which obviously had some private meaning between the two.

We also have a short print run first edition of The Return of A. J. Raffles belonging to Bishop Mathew. Only 250 copies were made, with numbers 81-250 being for sale and the rest being given to friends by the author. This one is number 29 and signed by Green. 

To find out more about the library collections click here.