Manuscript 1984




To Orwell Today,

Thanks Jackie, I fear it may never be found if the stories hold water.

I appreciate your help.

Best wishes,

Greetings again Rick,

Yes, there's no hope that Orwell's typewriter will ever be found because it seems that everyone agrees that the person it was given to sold it and no one has any idea when or to whom.

Upon receiving your email I re-read my article ORWELL'S TYPEWRITER A REMINGTON and noticed some interesting facts I'd forgotten about -- the most important being that Agatha Christie used the same typewriter as Orwell. Here's an excerpt from the reader:


"...Orwell is definitely seated at a Remington Portable, either a model 1 or 2... The typewriter placed in the window of the Jura house is another model altogether... Remington Portables of the kind Orwell used were quite common and are readily available on e-Bay.... By the way, Agatha Christie used the very same model Remington..."

Maybe you could look for Agatha Christie's typewriter and if it still exists you can take a photo to include in your new project of photographing typewriters belonging to famous authors. It would be another Doppelganger of Orwell's.

Also, when re-reading my article ORWELL'S TYPEWRITER MY GRANDFATHER'S I came upon other forgotten facts -- the most important being that after they took his typewriter away Orwell used a ball point pen to write and edit 1984:

...Halfway through the writing of "1984" Orwell got so sick he had to go to the tuberculosis sanatorium near Glasgow (Harymires Hospital) where the doctors literally ripped the typewriter out of his hands, refusing to let him use it. For five months he lay there on his back, writing in ball point pen until finally he was well enough to get up again and walk around the grounds. Two months later, in July 1948, he returned to Jura... But he didn't rest as he had been told to do but instead pushed himself to work on the book every day, too weak to leave his bed for any length of time at all. He did most of his writing and typing lying in bed.

Then finally, near the end of October, Orwell came downstairs one day and announced that the book was finished... Then began the final Herculean effort of Orwell's life, the typing (with a carbon copy) of the final manuscript of "1984". For the next six weeks Orwell typed a dozen or twenty pages a day (4,000 words), 7 days a week, sitting on the side of his bed with the typewriter on a chair in front of him. When it was finally done he packaged up the original and the carbon-copy and sent one to his literary agent, Leonard Moore and the other to his publisher, Fredrick Warburg. The date was December 4, 1948. "1984" was published six months later on June 8, 1949...

From the time he finished writing "1984" Orwell never had a day when he wasn't lying in bed, wasting away until he was literally "the thinnest a person can be and still live". He had given everything he had to the creation of "1984" and his typewriter had been "almost an extension of his mind". That's why it's so wonderful that we have the photos of Orwell and his typewriter...

Now perhaps, in adhering to your original project of photographing pens of famous authors, you could take a pic of Orwell's pen. Of course, like with the typewriter, there's no way of finding the actual pen Orwell used -- but seeing a replica would be better than nothing. Orwell's manuscript of 1984 -- which I own -- was photographed showing Orwell's typing and handwriting in ink:

MS Left Page MS Right Page

Maybe, through your powers of observation and knowledge of pens, you could figure out what brand of pen Orwell used. I believe, at that time, that ball point pens may have been a new thing.

If it hadn't been for Sonia going to Jura after Orwell's death -- and retrieving all his papers and books -- the 1984 manuscript would have been thrown into the wastebasket -- or down the memory hole -- like what Orwell did with all his other manuscripts. As she had done with the typewriter, Sonia donated the manuscript to charity and it was a miracle it was found years later.

All the best,
Jackie Jura, November 2022





Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~