The Department of Documents holds over 17,000 collections of private papers, principally comprising unpublished diaries, letters and memoirs written by British and Commonwealth servicemen and women since 1914, and by civilians during the two world wars. These holdings include many important documents relating to war poets and writers, including the poems of Isaac Rosenberg, successive drafts of Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, R.C. Sherriff’s play Journey’s End and other significant literary manuscripts. The Department also looks after the Salamander Oasis Trust Archive, which mainly comprises poetry and prose written by members of the services in the Middle East and Italy during the Second World War.
|Description of acquisition (including extent)||Type of acquisition||Source of acquisition|
|1. An important collection of 51 superb ms letters and 6 ms postcards written by Siegfried Sassoon to his friend and former fellow officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Vivian de Sola Pinto, January 1919 – December 1966, reflecting both men’s professional interest in English poetry and literature while containing many references to their shared experiences during the First World War.||Purchase||AuctionFunded: Own resources|
|2. Ms draft (undated) written by Siegfried Sassoon for an introduction to the poetry anthology ‘Poems From Italy: Verses written by members of the Eighth Army in Sicily and Italy, July 1943 – March 1944’ published in 1945.||Purchase||AuctionFunded: Own resources|
|3. Ms autograph poem ‘Lord Kitchener’, dated 8 June 1916 and written by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges as a tribute to Kitchener who had drowned on 5 June when his ship HMS HAMPSHIRE struck a mine off the Orkneys and sank.||Purchase||DealerFunded: Own resources|
For further information or enquiries please contact the Imperial War Museum direct.