Overview of literary archive and manuscript holdings in UK and Irish institutions

GLAM’s initial project was a major survey relating to the collecting of literary archives and manuscripts in Britain and Ireland, including the following components and aims:

  • To gather details of collecting policies relating to literary archives and manuscripts from different institutions, with the aim of investigating the feasibility of producing national collecting strategies for Britain and Ireland, and identifying significant gaps in collecting.
  • To gather information on significant literary archives and manuscripts acquired by institutions during the previous 5 years, in order to: identify patterns in current collecting; draw conclusions about the relative importance of gifts, deposits and purchases to the development of collections; and highlight problems which have occurred in attempting to acquire.

The survey report is now available to download here. [PDF]
See the Survey page for an overview of each participating institution’s literary holdings.

The information provided here is based on responses to a question in the GLAM survey of 2006-7 which asked respondents to provide a headline statement describing the quality, size and significance of their institution’s literary archives and manuscript collections in 100 words or less. It therefore offers a high level overview of literary holdings in a range of repositories across the UK and Ireland, including national archives and libraries, universities, museums, author centres, and one or two local authority archives. It is hoped that this resource will be augmented over time in order to build up a comprehensive picture of the range and diversity of literary collections in the UK and Ireland, covering a wide chronological range and a wealth of literary periods. Institutions not covered by the survey are invited to contribute comparable statements about their literary collections.

Please contact David Sutton in the first instance: d.c.sutton@reading.ac.uk.

Survey Results


East of England
East Midlands
North East
North West
South East
South West
West Midlands

Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland




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