Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 14:30 UK

Exhibition charts life of Peter Pan creator JM Barrie

Fan letter to Wendy
JM Barrie's fan mail included a marriage proposal for Wendy

An exhibition charting the life and career of Peter Pan's creator has opened at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The JM Barrie exhibition, which is open throughout May, celebrates the 150th anniversary of his birth.

It features rare letters, first-edition books, plays and theatre programmes.

Fan mail from children, including a marriage proposal from a six-year-old boy to Peter Pan's companion Wendy, is also on display.

Amongst the treasure trove is a rare booklet of one of his earliest short plays, Caught Napping (1883), written when Barrie was working as a journalist, and his first ever book, Better Dead, published at his own expense in 1887 at a £25 loss.

Stephanie Breen, curator of the JM Barrie exhibition, said: "The display will enable people to catch a real glimpse of the life and times of the man behind Peter Pan, seeing first-hand personally penned items alongside eye-catching literary rarities.

"The stories behind some of these items are fascinating too, such as the fact that Caught Napping was drafted in an attempt to impress an actress, and for his first ever book, Better Dead, he enlisted the help of an old school friend to design the front cover."

The first American edition of the novel Peter and Wendy from 1911, which later became Peter Pan, is on display along with a letter from Barrie to the play's costume and set designer, William Nicholson, following the opening of the play in 1904.

He wrote: "It is a huge success - biggest bookings they've ever known."

JM Barrie's memoir of his mother, an early edition of his book My Lady Nicotine and two privately printed booklets for the amateur cricket club Allahakbarries, which Barrie founded in order to indulge his love of the game, also form part of the display.



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