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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 75, Winter 1998

Another Smoking Gun; No July 1963 Oral Contract Original Article

C. S. Lewis introduced Roger Lancelyn Green to Walter Hooper on 17 June 1963. On 1 August Hooper wrote to Green. Once this letter was delivered, it was Green’s property; and he or his heirs eventually placed it in the Bodleian Library. (If Green had returned the letter to Hooper, it would probably reside in the closed cache of papers Hooper sold to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)
For some obscure reason, Hooper headed his letter to Green “c/o Prof. C. S. Lewis, The Kilns, Kiln Lane, Headington Quarry, Oxford.” Then he began with a friendly “Dear Roger.” In his first paragraph he broke the news, in case Green had not heard, that Lewis had been seriously ill for almost three weeks (since shortly after 11 July) and had entered Acland Nursing home on 15 July. Lewis would return to the Kilns when there were arrangements for home nurses. ; “There have been good days as well as bad ones. Major Lewis is expected home in a fortnight. Until that time I have been handling Jack’s correspondence. When I was with Jack yesterday he brought up the subject of ‘Lewisiana’, knowing that both you and I are collecting his work. Even though the thought never occurred to me Jack felt that I should write you in order to determine whether, as he says, we are ‘competitors or collaborators.’ I can only say for myself that I have been collecting Jack’s works because: (1) I greatly enjoy everything he writes; (2) I admire Jack immensely; and (3) Because I thoroughly enjoy collecting. It has been in the back of my mind to someday, perhaps, turn my collection over to the University of North Carolina.”

Hooper’s own words written on 1 August contradict his later claim that on 14 July he was hired to be Lewis’s permanent secretary:”Major Lewis is expected home in a fortnight. Until that time I have been handling Jack’s correspondence.”