GLAM Meeting – 11th April

The next GLAM meeting will be held in the Brotherton Library Gallery at the University of Leeds on April 11th 2016.

The meeting will discuss the results of our literary rights survey, include speakers from Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Brontë Parsonage and will wrap up with our business meeting.

If you have any queries about the meeting or would like to attend, please contact Joanne Fitton (


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Archivist as Interpreter – BL event

A reminder of the Archivist as Interpreter event being held at the BL on Friday 4th March. This event will explore the ways in which archivists and cultural heritage professionals interpret their collections.

For more information and to book a place at the event, please see here.

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Alice in Wonderland at the BL

Don’t forget that the British Library exhibition on Alice in Wonderland in the Front Hall Gallery is still open to explore until April 17th. Curated by Helen Melody, the exhibition celebrates 150 years since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Find out more about the exhibition here and more about a range of events being put on by the BL to compliment the exhibition on their Events Calendar.

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Heritage Lottery Funding allows exciting expansion of Seven Stories literary collections

Here at GLAM we are thrilled to announce that in November 2014 Seven Stories was awarded £341,500 from Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Collecting Cultures’ programme (the only institution in the North East to have received funding in this round). The funding has enabled Seven Stories to make several artwork purchases.  It has also supported acquisition-related costs of a number of archives received by donation, including the following:

Beverley Naidoo Archive

The archive of the award-wining author of Journey to Jo-Burg (1985) includes material relating to her published novels, short stories and anthologies, draft material and correspondence, as well as her non fictional titles and research into equality, diversity and multiculturalism in children’s literature.  The collection also includes educational resources, fan mail and responses to Beverley’s work.  This archive has already been the inspiration for a fantastic theatre in education project with Shotton Hall Academy in County Durham.

Elisabeth Beresford Archive

The archive of Elisabeth Beresford (The Wombles) represents her entire career and includes manuscripts, proofs, correspondence, notes, research papers, and publicity material relating to most of her titles for children. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the papers relate to the Wombles books, television series, merchandise, and continuing legacy. However, Beresford’s earlier career as a writer of adventure stories (such as her Magic series) is also strongly represented as well as her other writings for print and television, of which she produced a considerable amount throughout her life.

Michael Morpurgo Archive

The collection comprises draft manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and related correspondence from Morpurgo’s first publication It Never Rained (1974) to his most recent An Eagle in the Snow (2015).   Highlights include material relating to the adaptation of War Horse from book to stage to screen; research notes and drafts of Morpurgo’s many talks and lectures including his iconic Dimbleby lecture, ‘Set our Children Free’ (2011); manuscripts of unpublished early work; typewritten manuscripts from Ted Hughes of the poems he wrote for All Around the Year (1979), an early collaboration with Morpurgo.

The Morpurgo archive will be showcased in a major exhibition, to be launched at Seven Stories on 1 July 2016.

Research for the Michael Morpurgo exhibition is being supported through a new Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Seven Stories and Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, and funded by InnovateUK and the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC).  This is the first KTP involving an English department; to date the KTP scheme has usually been used to support collaborations in the field of science and technology.


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GLAM Survey of Rights in Literary Collections LIVE!!

The long anticipated GLAM survey of rights in literary collections is here!
The survey has been designed in survey monkey for all members to participate. It will be open for 6 weeks (closing 19th January). Please follow the link below:
Results will be reported on the GLAM website and fed back to members at the next meeting on 11th April in Leeds.
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Pansies! Nottingham acquires a newly-discovered Lawrence typescript!

With the assistance of the ACE/V & A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the National Libraries, The University of Nottingham recently purchased a Typescript of D H Lawrence’s Collection of Poems ‘Pansies’, with an accompanying letter to Charles Lahr, both dated 1929.

This typescript quite significantly shows that Lawrence typed the Poetry collection a fourth time in order to elude the censors. These items have not apparently been seen by any of the various scholars working on Lawrence’s life and works since his death in 1930 and so this is a very exciting purchase!

Further work needs to be undertaken to ascertain its full significance.

Nottingham have now catalogued the Pansies typescript and the description is available on their online catalogue. To find a description of this, and more information about the acquisition, please visit the Nottingham blog here.

Please also check out the press release issued to celebrate the event!

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Romance, Research & Archives

See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

[See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As a cataloguer who has worked mainly on literary archives, the second highlight of the first few days of October (the GLAM meeting being, obviously, the first) was the 2nd October edition of the DBSA podcast (transcript here).

The DBSA podcast is hosted by Sarah Wendell, co-founder of the romance novel review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Normally focusing on interviews with romance authors, editors, and readers, this episode featured an interview with Rutgers University (New Jersey) digital archivist Caryn Radick, and raised some fascinating questions about the intersection between the romance genre and the archives world.

It’s probably fair to say that the usual concerns of a literary archivist are on collecting, cataloguing and outreach – how do we acquire archives, and how best to describe and promote them?  Interestingly, Caryn Radick has flipped this script and is working on a project investigating how romance writers use archives for research.

The interview ranges widely-topics covered include what an archivist does; the research resources that might be of interest to romance authors; how to find and access archives, and how they differ from (and can be more intimating than) libraries. The discussion also touches on digital archives and online access; the way that certain people’s voices are just not captured in the archival record; novels and TV shows that feature archives and manuscripts (namecheck: Dracula); and, importantly, whether the often-denigrated romance community is being adequately documented.*

On the original question of the kinds of archival research that romance authors do, Caryn’s research indicates that:

A lot of them just really, said they really want to get those details of time and place correct, but they also like to get a voice that represents the time period or place that they’re looking at.?One of the things I really appreciated was there was a certain amount of reverence and enthusiasm for using archival materials which reflects what it was like for me when I was first getting into the profession. The aspect of, wow, this is a diary that somebody wrote in the nineteenth century, and I can’t believe you’re letting me touch this.”

 Caryn is a terrifically eloquent advocate for archives (the podcast is worth a listen for that alone) and Sarah Wendell, for her part, is a very sympathetic interviewer. In fact, Sarah’s summary of what archivists do by way of accessibility and outreach is one of the best elevator pitches I’ve ever heard for the profession:

So part of your job is, we have all this old stuff, and we need to make it available to people who are curious about all of this old stuff, and it’s not just for us at the university; everybody can have access to all of our old stuff.

 I found this multi-faceted approach to the ways that the romance genre interacts with archives very stimulating. Just some of the things I was left wondering…

 ->How are we doing when it comes to collecting genre fiction archives and documenting those communities?

->Would it be helpful to create a list of literary archives sorted by genre?

->It’s now common to use story-telling when interacting with kids, but could we do more to market our story-rich research collections to creative writers? (One outlet or inspiration for that kind of outreach might be Two Nerdy History Girls, a history/writing blog by Loretta Chase and Isabella Bradford, two well-known historical romance authors.)

->The eternal bugbear: what can we do to make archival research less scary?

And if you’ve been wondering yes, but what have romance writers ever done for us? well, it turns out that there are, indeed, archivist romance heroines. Take a listen to find out more…

(Lucky librarians: this list by Wendy the Super Librarian has librarian heroines covered.)

*If you’re interested in the reception of romance as a genre, Kelly Faircloth’s article How Romance Novelists Got Such a Silly, Sappy Rap is an excellent introduction and her article on How Harlequin Became The Most Famous Name In Romance is a must read for anybody interested in publishing history.

Charlotte Mash, Project Archivist, Bodleian Library

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Noël Coward Archive

The Cadbury Research Library has just finished hosting a four-week internship focusing on the Noël Coward archive held there. The internship was funded by the Coward Foundation and the successful applicant was Lucy Mounfield.

The Coward archive at Birmingham is extensive but not fully catalogued. We do have a basic box listing available on our online archive catalogue as a PDF document. Lucy’s internship was divided into a number of small projects including:

Indexing the telegram log books in the collection. Listing the names of correspondents and adding keywords to aid research:

  • Repackaging and basic conservation work
  • Compiling a Noël Coward Resource Guide
  • Writing promotional articles for UoB Careers Network and CRL Newsletter
  • Curating an online exhibition re Coward, using the CRL Flickr page
  • Assisting our Conservator prepare materials for display in our upcoming physical exhibition titled ‘Noël Coward: an entertainer abroad’ which will open next week

We are hoping this is the first stage in trying to obtain funding to fully catalogue the whole of this important, albeit under-used, collection.


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Previous & Next GLAM Meetings!

The meeting held at the British Library 22nd May 2015 on the theme of acquisition was well attended, with a very informative and lively session from Andrew Motion and Peter Rankin. Thanks to members who shared their experiences on negotiations with donors and depositors. Chatham house rules applied to the day but we hope some members will share edited highlights in the next GLAM edition of ARC. More details of the ARC edition will be sent to members in the next few weeks. We do hope that members will have lots of literary archives stories to make it as successful as it has been in previous years.

Minutes from the 2014 Aberystwyth and British Library meetings can be found here.

We do hope that members can join us for our 10th year celebration at the John Rylands in Manchester on 1st October. At the meeting we will be looking back at a decade of GLAM, alongside the following two discussions:

Literary societies & archives, with talks from Anne Price-Owen and Nia Daniel from the David Jones Society and Antoinette Fawcett and Fran Baker from the Norman Nicholson Society

Recent developments in copyright in the UK and the EU

We will then proceed with our usual AGM meeting.

For all those wishing to attend, please contact Joanne Fitton ( by 18th September.

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Authors & their Papers

A message from David Sutton, Chair of GLAM:

Authors and their Papers has reached this, its latest form, in a pleasingly collaborative way.  The absence of such a document, especially for literary authors, became a theme for discussion during the workshops run by the Diasporic Literary Archives Network, and a first draft was assembled by DLAN members.  That draft was then edited and expanded from the perspective of literary archivists, by members of GLAM, and from the perspective of authors themselves, by staff of the Society of Authors.  Following positive discussions at the GLAM meeting in Aberystwyth in September 2014 and the DLAN meeting at Yale University in October 2014, the new expanded version was given an extensive editorial revision by members of staff of the National Archives.  We feel that it is now nearing its final version, but there is still time for GLAM members to offer further comments and suggestions.  Please send your views and ideas to me directly (at  Many thanks.

The Authors & their Papers publication is available here.

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