The J. B. Priestley Archive

Scope and Content

Correspondence files, publishers' agreements, press cuttings, memorabilia. Personal effects (including pipes) and photographs. Scripts for plays, films, and TV programmes. Most of this material dates from the 1940s onwards. Notices and minutes of the J.B. Priestley Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

The prolific writer, broadcaster and critic J.B. Priestley (1894-1984) is perhaps best known for his "time plays", such as An Inspector Calls and for his best-selling novels, most notably The Good Companions and Angel Pavement. However, his huge output of work also included essays, autobiography, social history, time theory and verse. Priestley also was active in politics, expressing his concerns (for instance about the nuclear arms race) through commentary and campaigning. Born and brought up in Bradford, his works often reflected his Yorkshire background, and his connections with the city were later marked by a public statue and the naming of the J.B. Priestley Library at the University of Bradford. He was married three times: in 1919 to Emily Tempest, who died in 1925, to Jane Wyndham Lewis, and in 1953 to the archeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes.

Access Information

Available to researchers, by appointment.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Tom Priestley, son of J.B. Priestley, in March 1990 and subsequently.


In English

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be supplied or produced at the discretion of Special Collections staff, subject to copyright law and the condition of the originals. Applications for permission to make published use of any material should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian in the first instance. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

The University of Bradford Archive includes correspondence with J.B. Priestley (Box X1254) and photographs (at the opening of the J.B. Priestley Library).

A collection of books, typescripts, notes and letters was transferred by the Priestleys to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, to join the major collections on modern authors. The transfers were made in 1962, 1965 and 1985.