SWW DTP Researchers benefit from a wide range of unique outstanding collections including those of the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth, Bath Spa’s Media Futures Research Centre, Bristol’s Penguin Archive, Cardiff Rare Books Collection, Reading’s collection of Children’s literature and its publishers’ archives, including Jonathan Cape, Hogarth Press and Frederick Warne, and Southampton’s archive of Jewish / non-Jewish relations held at the Parkes Institute.
Take a look below to see the full list of the collections available….
Reading holds many collections relating to the British book industry. These form a valuable resource for the study of all aspects of book production and printing.
The rare book collections include early printed books from the handpress era (pre-1851), private press books, modern literary first editions and other printed material. Subject strengths include the history of science, children’s literature, publishing and printing history as well as literature, classics and history.
The authors’ papers collections includes the literary manuscripts and other papers of many writers.
Part of the work of the British Council is to send British writers on trips abroad in order to help international artistic understanding.
The collection contains correspondence between writers on official visits abroad and representatives of the Council from 1955. The majority of the material dates from the 1980s and 1990s.
There are letters from a number of writers including Iris Murdoch, Arnold Wesker, Margaret Drabble, William Golding and Brian Aldiss. The collection also includes an account of the illness and death of the poet Bernard Spencer.
The Brunel Collection has been described as the finest collection of original Brunel source material, and it is appropriate that it is housed in the city where this extraordinary engineer began his career. Widely used, it is consulted by scholars from all over the world.
In November 2010 the Brunel Collection moved to the Brunel Institute at the SS Great Britain, a collaborative venture of the University of Bristol and the SS Great Britain Trust, at the Great Western Dockyard, site of the SS Great Britain. The Collection continues to belong to the University of Bristol, and access will be provided in conjunction with Brunel Institute and the University of Bristol.
The Celtic Collection brings together material relating to Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and contains approximately 25,000 books. Although the collection contains material on all subjects relating to Celtic countries, the two largest sequences are those on history and literature. The collection is housed on Level E of the Hugh Owen Library, Aberystwyth.
Cardiff University Library holds several collections related to children’s literature, including book collections ranging from the 18th-20th century, a collection of Welsh children’s journals, and a collection of children’s comics.
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, also known as the Crystal Palace Exhibition, was held in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851.
Reading’s collection contains around 150 printed books and periodicals, plus pamphlets and ephemera, approximately 50 prints, and some objects. It includes the Commission’s official catalogues and jury reports, handbooks, unofficial guides and accounts; serious contemporary comment on the likely influence of the exhibition on industrial design and development, and on society as a whole; less serious, sometimes satirical contemporary comments; popular, often pictorial material, souvenirs and similar pieces. There are also later, secondary works and works on the 1951 Festival of Britain and other international exhibitions and world fairs.
The Hartley Library is the University of Southampton’s main library and also home to the University Archives & Special Collections.
It offers five floor levels of printed books and journals and an extensive collection of online journals and e-books.
Isaac Rosenberg was born in Bristol in 1890, moving to East London in 1897. This promising early literary and artistic career was cut short by his death in 1918 whilst fighting in the 1914-1918 War.
The special collection includes typescript and other materials collected by Gordon Bottomley and Denys W. Harding as part of their research whilst writing ‘The collected works of Isaac Rosenberg’, London: Chatto and Windus, 1937. The collection includes works of Isaac Rosenberg, and correspondence with members of the Rosenberg family, and members of the literary and art world. The collections may include some material in Rosenberg’s hand. Also included is correspondence with Mrs Annie Wynick, sister of Rosenberg. Typescript catalogue available in the University of Bristol Special Collections.
John Lewis (1912-1996) was a typographer and graphic designer who, with Michael Twyman and Maurice Rickards, pioneered the study of printed ephemera. He was the author of several books, including Printed ephemera: the changing uses of type and letterforms in English and American printing, which was published in 1962.
The collection at Reading consists of some 20,000 items illustrating the history of printing from the fifteenth century to the present, the earliest item being a leaf from a book printed by William Caxton. Much of the material can be described as printed ephemera and includes a huge range, from bottle labels to examples of fine printing.
Cardiff holds one of the strongest academic collections of sound recordings in the UK. The collection represents the standard musical canon of musicological research, but also supports emerging areas such as ethnomusicology, popular music, and 19th and 20th century Russian, French, Welsh and German art music; there is also a good selection of jazz represented in the vinyl section of the collection.
American-born Nancy Astor (1879–1964), née Langhorne, succeeded her second husband Waldorf Astor as Conservative MP for Plymouth in 1919, becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. She continued to represent the Plymouth constituency until her retirement in 1945. This extensive collection of her papers at Reading includes political correspondence 1919–1945, general correspondence 1900–1964, and a large number of volumes of newspaper cuttings 1908–1964.
The collection consists of several hundred scrapbooks and loose items, being advertising material for arts events, mainly theatre, cinema and opera, in and around London, 1970s-1990s. It was collected by Philip Ormond as a record of material distributed by his company, Theatre Dispatch.
The University of Reading holds the Beckett Collection, which is the world’s largest collection of resources relating to the Nobel Prize winning author, Samuel Beckett. The collection originated in an exhibition organised by James Knowlson in 1971. Beckett and his friends donated material for the exhibition, which formed the nucleus of the archive that is now housed in the same building as the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) behind the London Road campus. Beckett continued to support the collection with great generosity until his death in 1989, donating manuscripts and other items including livres d’artiste and paintings by his friends Gerr van Velde, Henri Hayden and Avigdor Arikha. One of the collection’s latest acquisitions is the original Murphy manuscript, which comprises 6 notebooks of material relating to Beckett’s first published novel. The Knowlson Collection In the summer of 2008, the University significantly increased its Beckett holdings with the acquisition of the James and Elizabeth Knowlson Collection. This includes original manuscripts, interviews with friends and colleagues of Beckett’s, over 6500 letters to more than 160 recipients, including nearly 200 to James Knowlson himself, Knowlson’s research files and an extensive library.
The Syon Abbey collection (held by the University of Exeter) is the library of the Bridgettine nuns of Syon Abbey, now based at South Brent, Devon, whose community is unusual in being able to trace an unbroken tradition reaching back to their Abbey’s foundation in 1415. The order became a major focal point of religious activity in the sixteenth-century and was well-known for its publication of religious literature. The collection contains many sixteenth-, seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century Catholic hagiographical, devotional, polemical, and historical works, and is a remarkable testimony to the role of print in post-Reformation Catholic religious communities. As well as containing numerous individual titles of interest, the Syon Abbey collection as a whole is a rich source of study for ecclesiastical history; for the history of libraries and reading habits; and for its significance to researchers interested in the history of women’s learning and reading, because of the original stress placed on encouraging informed spirituality amongst the sisters. Numerous books in the collection bear manuscript annotations by the nuns, some with several pages of manuscript prayers and notes bound in with the text. Other books contain letters about their provenance. The collection also includes several manuscript volumes on the history of Syon Abbey created by Canon John Rory Fletcher, whose transcriptions of a number of medieval manuscripts once belonging to Syon are also present.
The Tennyson collection at Cardiff includes an almost complete set of published editions of Tennyson’s works of poetry for the pre-1900 period, revealing how the poet constantly revised his work even after publication. This set is accompanied and supported by biographical and critical studies, periodical literature and newspaper articles. Musical settings of some of the poems are also held. The highlight of the collection is a group of exceptionally rare, hand-coloured, pseudo-medieval volumes.
Also held is the 40 volume published version of the Tennyson Archive – thousands of photographs of manuscript material held in Britain and America, including material from Harvard, Princeton, Virginia, Yale, Huntingdon, Philadelphia, N.Y. Public Library, Harry Ransom Centre Texas, Bodley Oxford, Cambridge University, British Library, Trinity Cambridge, London University, and the Fitzwilliam Museum.
‘The Group’ of poets, predominantly academics, began in 1955. Members included Fleur Adcock (born 1934), Taner Baybars (born 1936) , Martin Bell (1918-1978), Alan Brownjohn (born 1931), Kevin Crossley-Holland (born 1941), Christopher Hampton (born 1946), Philip Hobsbaum (1932-2005), Ted Hughes (1930-1998), George MacBeth (1932-1992), Alan Marshfield (born 1933), Adrian Mitchell (born 1932), Peter Porter (born 1929) and Peter Redgrove (1932-2003).
The collection consists of many of the stencilled worksheets containing members’ work which were circulated amongst the group before each discussion. The Library also holds the papers of some members of the Group in separate collections.
The Theatre Collection is an accredited museum and one of the world’s largest archives of British theatre history and Live Art. The museum’s acquisition policy focuses on British theatre history, with particular strengths of theatre in the South West, Victorian theatre, Post-World War II theatre, Live and Performance Art, scenery and costume design and other related artwork.
Within the Theatre Collection is held the Beerbohm Tree Collection, comprising of two major archives of international importance, the Herbert Beerbohm Tree Archive and the Tree Family Archive, plus several smaller collections and individual items acquired by purchase and donation. It is one of the largest collections held by the Theatre Collection and its remarkable breadth and depth is almost unparalleled in British Theatre archives. It attracts worldwide attention from scholars.
The two major archives complement each other and add a depth to our understanding of this period. The Herbert Beerbohm Tree Archive comprises production, financial and business records whilst the Tree Family Archive, adds a personal dimension about their life and work such as correspondence, diaries and other ephemera. The Collection continues to grow through purchase and donation of archival material.
Wellington Papers Database forms the principal collection of the papers of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). It contains approximately 100,000 items, the Duke’s political, military, official and diplomatic papers covering all aspects of his career. The collection includes some 15,000 papers for the period up to 1805; approximately 25,000 for the period 1806-18; a further 30,000 papers cover the period 1819 to the end of 1832 and there is a similar quantity for the period 1833-52.
Over the centuries the ballad has played an important and influential role in Welsh social and cultural life. Broadside ballad production was in its heyday in Wales in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although not usually poetry of the highest order, this popular verse is an invaluable field of study for anyone interested in the language, literature, history, religion and music of modern Wales. These poems are also an indispensable source for the study of the daily life and world-view of the common people of Wales in the modern period.