Anyone for Tennessee?

It’s slim pickings typewriter-wise in the Op shops in and around Perth. But at least I did come away with something interesting on a recent visit to a Salvation Army store.

The find in question was a $4 copy of “Tennessee Williams – Memoirs” published by W.H. ALLEN (First British Edition, 1976).

As well as being a good read, this book has lots of great photos, including a number of interesting  “writer with his typewriter” photos.

Scrutiny with a magnifying glass confirms that the typewriter pictured above (and below) is a Royal (Quiet Deluxe?). See  The Classic Typewriter Page: Writers and their Typewriters for more information about the typewriters used by Tennessee Williams  (you’ll find him down near the end of the list).


A colourful chapter of Tenn’s memoirs describes how a jilted lover “… ripped to shreds all of my  clothes, demolished my typewriter, but for some reason left my manuscripts undamaged”.

Later on in the book he relates how “I split for Barcelona in my town-coupe Jaguar with a thermos of martinis and wrapped that elegant car around a tree when a truck swung out of a side road and my car wouldn’t hold the road when I turned to avoid it and my portable Olivetti flew out of the back seat and hit me right smack on the back of the head, knocking me out for I don’t know how long.”

Below we see Tennessee and an Olivetti Studio 44 in happier times (I’m assuming this picture was taken before the car accident!).


Needless to say, Tennessee was a great writer. “Streetcar” is brilliant of course, and “Fugitive Kind” is one of my favourite movies.

Apparently the stage play it was based on was a flop. Wish I could write a “flop” like that. Maybe when I get my Studio 44…!

8 thoughts on “Anyone for Tennessee?

  1. Thanks Ton. In fact your “Olivetti Studio 44 meets its match” post won me over to them. I just want one – preferably the taupe variant.


  2. Studio 44 is way up my list of best typewriters, Tennessee Williams had great taste. ( :
    That said, I agree with Rob and would rank it among the lowest for head smacking. Since I am loyal to all things Olivetti, I’ll choose Valentine for that purpose; it will hurt my bank account more than my head.


  3. Trying to think what typewriter I WOULD like to be hit round the head with. A Studio 44 comes near the bottom of the list. Then again, think of the dinner party conversation starter. It just wouldn’t be the same if it had been, say, a Lettera or a Hermes Baby.


  4. I think what I love about writers-with-their-typewriter shots is that this kind of picture just wouldn’t have the same effect if it were a modern writer-with-his-computer shot. Maybe some older computer might work — something really distinctive-looking — but a writer probably won’t use any one given computer for very long (a few short years). You just know those typewriters stuck around for a while….


  5. Never doubt the durabuility of an Olivetti. That may well be post accident.
    Mind you, the S44 isn’t likely to ever make my list of top 10 machines..


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