The archive consists of correspondence and papers generated by Dyson and his partner, Cliff Tucker, and dates mainly from the 1950s to the late 1990s. There is also a small quantity of Dyson and Tucker family papers, primarily consisting of family photographs and wills. There is material representing the wide range of Dyson's interests, from campaigning against progressive educational policies to the promotion of new poetry and literary criticism for schools and universities through his Norwich Tapes and Casebooks ventures. There is also material representing his liberal Christianity and his campaigning for homosexual legal and civil rights.
Dyson had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and within the collection there is a large amount of correspondence from publishers, theologians, non-conformist groups, politicians, agony aunts, literary critics, actors, poets and academics relating to Dyson's various interests.
Tony Dyson became close friends with several of the poet contributors to his periodical Critical Quarterly - particularly Ted Hughes, R.S. Thomas and Thom Gunn - and this is reflected in the archive. Included are first editions of their poetry collections, often with accompanying letters and/or inscriptions. In particular, there is a significant amount of correspondence between Dyson and Thomas, in which R.S. Thomas writes in a candid and deeply personal way. Also of interest are two manuscript volumes of Thom Gunn's poetry which he sent to Dyson: a typescript copy of his 1990 collection of poems, The Man With Night Sweats, and a manuscript copy of a collection of poetry, with Dyson's annotations. This was published in 1971 as Moly by Faber and Faber.
There is a significant amount of material relating to Dyson and Tucker's long-term campaigning for homosexual rights. There are papers relating to Dyson's open letter to The Times, which was sponsored by public figures and called for the implementation of the recommendations of the Wolfenden Report (i.e. the partial legalisation of homosexuality) and also relating to his editorship of the liberal periodical which called for homosexual rights, The Christian. However, other papers relating to these events were extracted by Dyson and gifted to the London School of Economics in the 1990s, along with all the papers relating to the foundation of the Albany Trust and the Homosexual Law Reform Society. There is a significant amount of papers and correspondence relating to Dyson's establishment in 1978 of the Campaign for Reason, the sponsorship of his Charter of Homosexual Rights by public figures, and a conference organised to discuss the issues. Of particular note is the presence of the minutes of the Campaign for Reason for early 1978. This includes a significant amount of correspondence from members of several Christian denominations including Anglican clergy and bishops and also gay Christian groups such as Quest (Catholic), Friends Homosexual Fellowship (Quaker), Open Church Group (Anglican) and the Metropolitan Community Church. Within the collection there is a quantity of rare pamphlets and printed ephemera by groups campaigning for homosexual rights during the 1970s. Organisations represented include: Quantum Jump; Third Way; Reach (ecumenical evangelical); Gay Christian Movement (ecumenical/Anglican); New Christian Publications; Campaign for Homosexual Equality; Albany Trust; Gay Research Group; Integroup; Centre du Christ Liberateur (Paris); Barcelona Gay Liberation Front; Gay Icebreakers; and Gay Activists Alliance. Other organisations represented in the collection include: the Committee Against the Blasphemy Law; the Sexual Law Reform Society; and the National Council for Civil Liberties. There is also a small amount of papers relating to an early gay counselling service which Dyson and Tucker established in 1970 called the Viva Trust and a conference about counselling organised in 1980.
Another item of interest is a manuscript work by the openly homosexual Catholic priest, Illtud Evans, who was a friend of Dyson and Tucker and went to college with the latter. Dyson helped Evans publish some of his writings. Related to this is correspondence between Tucker and the University of Wales, Lampeter, concerning research about Evans's attendance at what was then called St David's College and also his campaign to have a posthumous graduation for Evans, who was expelled from the college for admitting his homosexuality during the 1930s.
Amongst papers relating to literature, there are a significant number of letters from the publisher Macmillan relating to Dyson's editorship of the Casebook series and also correspondence regarding Casebooks and Dyson's commercial venture, Norwich Tapes, where literary critics, academics and sometimes poets were asked to talk about literary works and were recorded for educational purposes. There are also scrapbooks relating to Critical Quarterly (1959-1968) and a scrapbook and numerous newspaper cuttings relating to the Black Papers (a campaign against 'progressive' educational policies run by Dyson and Brian Cox) from 1969-1970. During the last years of his life, Dyson wrote a book which was in part a work of theology and philosophy and part autobiography, which he titled The Fifth Dimension. Present are typescript copies which Dyson produced, some with his manuscript corrections.
Represented among the papers of Cliff Tucker are professional papers relating to his interest in industrial relations and also the law, including the texts of several talks/addresses. Also present is correspondence relating to Tucker's long-term involvement with Toynbee Hall, including letters from John Profumo. Tucker had a great interest in the local history of Monmouthshire, where he grew up, and there are materials relating to this interest in the collection. Finally, Tucker and Dyson were a loving couple for over thirty years and included in the collection is a significant quantity of air mail correspondence exchanged during periods when Dyson was away teaching in North America, which gives a great insight into their relationship.
In 1990 and 1995, Dyson extracted from his papers items which he regarded as significant in the establishment of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, the Campaign for Reason and some correspondence relating to The Christian and New Christian publications. Along with some contextual notes, these were given to the Hall Carpenter Archives at the London School of Economics.
There are a number of academic disciplines for which this archive will be of value. Besides study of English Literature and Language (in particular, poetry), it is a rich source of information for the history of post-war gay rights campaigning and post-war Christian Theology as well as contemporary legal history. It is also of interest to the study of post-war education policy.