Helene Hanff

(1917 to 1997)


Click the link to visit Moyer Bell's Helene Hanff site and to order her books:

Moyer Bell


Click a link on the right to order your copy of "84 Charing Cross Road" on DVD or VHS

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Welcome to my pages devoted to the life and books of Helene Hanff, an American author who captured the hearts of many readers worldwide, with her books '84 Charing Cross Road', 'Duchess of Bloomsbury Street', 'Underfoot in Showbusiness', 'Apple of My Eye', 'Q's Legacy', and 'Letter from New York'.

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Allow me to introduce myself, if I may. My name is Angela Garry, and I live in Derbyshire, England. Since I was about 15 (I'm now 37 - YIKES! WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?), I've been obsessed with the city of New York New York. In 1988 I saw the film of '84 Charing Cross Road', in which Anne Bancroft played Helene, and Sir Anthony Hopkins played Frank Doel, and which showed me the New York I so wanted to see. The film allowed me glimpses into the life of someone (Helene) who was lucky enough to live in New York, and shared my own obsession to see another city - only in her case, it was London. The film moved me deeply, and and when I was lucky enough to see the play of '84' in Exeter a few months later, in Helene's own words (describing a friend of hers who had just started reading Jane Austen) I "went out of my mind" for her books.

After buying all I could find at the time (i.e. the first five of the above list - 'Letter from NY' wasn't published until 1992), I read and re-read them until the covers almost fell off the books! I lent them to friends who all declared they were some of the best books they had read. Trouble was, my friends then felt obliged to steal the books from me and keep them for their own (again, to quote Helene, "Why is it that people who wouldn’t dream of stealing anything else think it's perfectly all right to steal books?").

Helene Hanff died in April 1997, a few days short of what would have been her 80th birthday. I met Helene when I finally got my wish to travel to New York in 1994, and found her to be just as warm and giving as her writing had told me she would be, and I feel honoured to be able to say that I met her. These pages are my personal tribute to her - a writer who inspired me in many ways, and whom (though I only met her once) through her writing I considered as a personal friend.


Main page - this very page...

A Life In The Day Of... - Helene talks to the UK Sunday Times in May 1988.

A very SPECIAL Announcement 1 - details of the biographical book about Helene Hanff on which I have collaborated with Stephen R Pastore As of July 2007, this work is still ongoing. There is no known publication date for this work as of yet.

A very SPECIAL Announcement 2 - details of the biographical book which I am currently working on about Helene Hanff........... As of July 2007, this work is still ongoing. There is no anticipated publication date for this work as of yet. Anyone who would like to contribute towards the work is very welcome to contact me using the email link below.

A Word From... - Tributes to Helene from those who knew her personally, played her on stage or screen, met her, etc...

Books From 84 - names and a few details on the various books (and music scores) that Helene ordered and received from the bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road. Will eventually contain links to internet bookshops where you can buy these...

Bookstores - links to internet bookshops selling Helene's books, and you can buy your books direct from this page.

Comparisons - comparing the various editions of Helene's books in the USA and UK).

HH on tape - sound clips from an interview between Dick Cavett and Helene Hanff.

HH's Music - an article by Helene, about the conductor Leopold Stokowski and his affect on her as a teenager.

Kids' Books - Helene's books for children.

Kids' Books - Terrible Thomas - the text of one of Helene's books for children.

LFNYPics - line drawings from the UK 1992 hardback edition of 'Letter from New York'.

Lit. Reviews - official reviews of Helene's books and the film of '84 Charing Cross Road'.

Meeting HH - pictures and description of when I met Helene in November 1994. Also includes other fans meeting Helene.

My Reviews - my own personal reviews of each of Helene's biographical books

Obituary - Helene's obituaries from UK newspapers and elsewhere on the 'Net.

Plaque - items relating to, and photos of the plaque on the wall of, the building now at 84 Charing Cross Road, London.

Productions - photos and details of theatrical productions of '84' worldwide, including the play's first run in London, 1981.

98 Plays Of 84 - links, rehearsal photos and details of productions of '84 Charing Cross Road' taking place in 1998 in the UK...

Quotes - some of my favourite passages from Helene's books.

The Movie - movie links around the web, relating to '84 Charing Cross Road'

UnderfootPics - line drawings from the first edition of 'Underfoot in Show Business' - scanned copies of drawings plus accompanying descriptions - provided by Mark Ellis Walker (citoyen@drizzle.com) from Seattle in the USA.

Web Links - other web pages which mention Helene Hanff.

Pack Of Lies - about the couple known by Frank and Nora Doel, who turned out to be Russian spies - now with some more info.

Writing to HH - personal correspondence with Helene Hanff, including scanned copies of her postcards to me and to other fans.


Sign G'Book or view other people's entries click View G'Book - in December 1997, I installed a Guestbook for these pages. Please feel free to sign it and add your comments about this site.

I have created a Helene Hanff email list for any fans who'd like to talk with others about Helene's life, works, influence, etc... If you'd like to join the list, please use the following link:

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A particular phrase of Helene's, which she wrote relating to her gratefulness to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (at the end of 'Q's Legacy') speaks volumes about my own feelings about the books which she herself wrote:

"If I live to be very old, all my memories of the glory days will grow vague and confused, till I won't be certain any of it really happened. But the books will be there, on my shelves and in my head - the one enduring reality I can be certain of till the day I die."

I, for one, will be forever grateful to Helene Hanff for writing her books - books which will remain with me, on *my* shelves and in *my* head till the day *I* die...


Since creating these pages, over 7,850 (most up-to-date figure, July 2006) Helene Hanff fans around the globe who have emailed me - offering their views, thoughts and feelings about Helene's life and work... If you'd like to contact me please do so. However, due to the sheer volume of email I have been receiving since setting up this site, please accept my apologies in advance if I am not able to reply to you for quite some time. You can click here to email me. I look forward to hearing from you!

This website was created on Wednesday 20th August 1997, and has been updated many times since then. The most recent update was on Sunday 2nd July 2006.

I added a counter to the website on Thursday 30th October 1997 and you are visitor number to this site. Thanks for visiting, and if you have any ideas/photos/articles/views which you think could be included in this website, let me know.


All items within these pages have been produced by myself, except where credited (i.e. newspaper articles; book covers for US editions sent by Mark Ellis Walker from Seattle in the USA; cast photos from the first-run production of '84 Charing Cross Road' in London 1981 sent by Adrian Hall in Chichester in the UK; photos from 1998 production of '84' in Toronto, sent by Doug Wilson in Toronto in Canada; and taped copy of a television interview (on the Dick Cavett show) sent by Susan Sieffermann in Decatur, Illinois, in the USA. My heartfelt thanks go to Mark, Adrian, Doug and Susan!