D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) Collection, 1865-1999

Scope and Content

The Lawrence Collection contains in its various sub-groups extensive materials by and about D.H. Lawrence, ranging in date from his childhood to records of recent conferences and other scholarly activities of contemporary Lawrencians.

Original manuscripts by Lawrence, including his correspondence, give the Collection its primary significance. From its first development, a strength has lain in Lawrence's early work, particularly the poems of his Nottingham and Croydon years. Very substantial acquisitions of original material were made in the 1990s, more than doubling the Collection. Pre-eminent among these recent additions has been the George Lazarus Collection, with its rich coverage of Lawrence as a poet, novelist, short story writer, translator, essayist, correspondent and critic.

A particular strength in the core Lawrence Collection lies in the breadth of associated material. His local origin, attendance at the University College Nottingham, extended family contacts and friendship with many local people are all aspects of his life which have contributed to create a strong local heritage. This has been supported by local activities over the years, celebrating his life and work, which have in their turn generated papers for preservation.

As the Collection has grown, it has inevitably gained significance as a resource for research into Lawrence's family and extended circle of friends, who appear in it as correspondents, biographers and commentators.

Administrative / Biographical History

The D.H. Lawrence Collection is a complex gathering together of different groups of material by and relating to the writer. It reflects the practice begun by the University Library in the 1930s of combining all resources on Lawrence in a single subject Collection. Some of the sub-groups in the Collection are themselves natural archival units, while others are purely artificial and contain series of purchases and gifts of particular types of material.

The development of the Collection has been paralleled by the development of other D.H. Lawrence resources by the University, which also houses a Lawrence Special Collection of published works, including first editions, periodical literature and critical literature. There are significant overlaps between the printed and manuscript Lawrence Collections; the latter, for instance, includes published works which may be annotated or have strong associations with original material in the archival group. More recent manuscript acquisitions with a natural archival identity have been given their own reference codes, and are not part of the main Lawrence Collection.

The principal sub-groups used in the development of the present Collection are: Papers of Louie Burrows (La B); Correspondence of D.H. Lawrence (La C); Papers of J.D. Chambers (La Ch); Papers of Muriel May Holbrook (La H); Literary Papers (La L); Memoirs and Contemporary Correspondence (La Mc); Photographic Holdings (La Phot); Witter Bynner Collection (La Wb); Papers of the Weekley Family (La We); and the George Lazarus Collection (La Z). In addition, there are sub-groups containing audio-visual material (La Av); artistic works (La D); newspaper cuttings (La N); research papers of individuals (La R); and files concerning various exhibitions, publications and other forms of Lawrence scholarship (La S).


The Collection has been divided into different sub-groups according either to provenance or to subject/document type.

The gradual development of the Collection since the 1950s, and its rapid expansion at various points, led after some decades to an unhelpful complexity of finding aids and categories of material described. A particular problem lay in the runs of copy documents, of which the originals in some cases were subsequently also added to the Collection. In 1993-94 the arrangement of the entire Collection was reviewed and a new structure created, incorporating most of the original categories and adding some additional ones. Several sub-groups saw substantial change and re-numbering of material. (The Department maintains a conversion list to guide researchers who encounter redundant references in citations.)

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers. Readers are, in most cases, expected to use surrogate copies.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Three Typescript Catalogues: 117 pp (1979), 51 pp (1983), 7 pp (1990).

At the National Register of Archives, London:

Three Typescript Catalogues: 117 pp (1979), 51 pp (1983), 7 pp (1990).

On the World Wide Web:

Catalogue available through the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue. This electronic catalogue supersedes, and is more detailed than the typescript catalogues, and users are advised to refer to the online catalogue in preference to the printed versions.

Separated Material

The location of Lawrence literary manuscripts in other institutions can to a great extent be identified through the checklist of manuscripts in Warren Roberts and Paul Poplawski, A Bibliography of D.H. Lawrence (Third edition; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Information on institutions with significant Lawrence holidays can be found through the Collections in Context - D.H. Lawrence Resources pages on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk).

Custodial History

Material in the Lawrence Collection has come from many different sources, and there is no single common provenance. More detailed information about provenance is given at lower levels of description.

Related Material

D.H. Lawrence student record in University Archives; UE 1/1

The University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections: Jack Hilton collection (Hil); Catherine Carswell collection (CC); Forster collection (For); Paul Bernard screenplay (Be); artworks of Peter Evershed (Ed); and the D H Lawrence Collection of Printed Books (DHLC)


Letters from D.H. Lawrence are published in James T. Boulton, ed. The Letters of D.H. Lawrence. Volumes I-VII. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979-1993.