Helene Hanff : 1917 to 1997
About this site:
This site is my personal tribute to Helene
Hanff - who inspired me in many ways.
I corresponded with Helene for 9 years and
met her in 1994. I am proud to have been
able to consider her a personal friend until
her death in 1997.
Buy HH's books & the film:
Helene Hanff is best known for her 'little book of letters' - "84 Charing Cross Road - which
journals her 20 year correspondence with Frank Doel, the manager of a London bookshop
from 1949 to 1969. In 1970, the letters were published in the United States as a book, and in
1971 this was released in the United Kingdom. As a result of the book's publication, Helene
visited London and was able to walk around the then-closed bookstore on Charing Cross
Road. The diary of her first trip to London was later published under the title "The Duchess of
Bloomsbury Street". The book of "84" was turned into a stageplay which played on the West
End in London and Broadway in New York, and later evolved into a TV play, then a movie.
I first "met" Helene Hanff when I saw the movie in 1988, and I then bought all of her books. I
met her in person in November 1994 in the lobby of her apartment building, where we
chatted for around an hour or so and she introduced me to two of her friends - Nina and
Richard - who featured in several chapters in her books. I had taken with me my copies of all
of Helene's books, and she graciously signed each one, and I gave her a gift of a book about
the authors who are commemorated in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey in London. The
above photo of Helene was taken at that meeting. Learning of her death in 1997, I decided to
create a website about her, gathering together anyinformation I could find about the author,
her life and her books via the internet, the BBC's archives, televisual libraries, local theatre
groups, her family and friends. My website went online in October 1997, and this is the
newly revamped version of the site.
Over time, I've collected copies of all of the books that Helene Hanff wrote for adults, for
school children and for toddlers, and I've been contacted by around 60 different theatrical
groups around the world who have performed the play of "84 Charing Cross Road". Several
times over I have stood on the hallowed pavement in front of the building which used to
house the Marks & Co shop - in its various guises from the 1980s to the present day, when it
has in turn been the Covent Garden Record Store, an empty storefront, an All Bar One wine
bar, and now a Restaurant. Photos will be included on this site.
The original version of this site is currently still available, whilst I continue to transfer
information over. Please feel feel to browse this site and email me with any comments!
Welcome to the newly revamped Helene Hanff Website.
The Definitive Helene Hanff Website
(Buying through either
of these links will give
me, an Amazon
affiliate, a tiny
percentage of sales.)
Books for Children / Teenagers:
Books for Adults: