Galsworthy Papers

Scope and Content

The Galsworthy collection contains manuscripts by John Galsworthy, correspondence to and from and his wife Ada Galsworthy, and other family members; printed materials including exhibition catalogues; sales catalogues of Bury House, Sussex; documents regarding John Galsworthy's Nobel Prize; poems; Galsworthy genealogy records; and library and museum reports listing Galsworthy items. The collection also contains Galsworthy's personalia and images for 'Manaton Edition'; correspondence to and from John Galsworthy senior and Blanche Galsworthy (nee Bartleet); financial documents; Ada Galsworthy's correspondence, poems, prose, diaries and musical scores; and papers relating to the Galsworthy Estate. The collection also contains papers relating to Georg, Valda, Rudolf, Viola, and Lillian Sauter, including several boxes of Galsworthy and Sauter family photographs. Also included are playscripts, programmes, and theatre photographs; newscuttings, and memorial cards. There is also a cabin plan of RMS Titanic which may be of interest to researchers, although the exact connection to the Galsworthy family to this item is unknown.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Galsworthy, 1867-1933, playwright and novelist; educated at Harrow and New College, Oxford; called to bar (Lincoln's Inn), 1890; published early novels under pseudonym John Sinjohn; The Man of Property, 1906; began the Forsyte Saga sequence (published collectively in 1922) in which he wrote with an exact and not unsympathetic observation of Victorian upper-class commercial society, continuing the story of its supersession by a more easy-going generation in the trilogy A Modern Comedy, 1929; his remarkably successful plays including The Silver Box, 1906, Justice, 1910; and The Skin Game, 1920, state a theme with great simplicity of construction and dialogue; Nobel Prize for Literature, 1932.

Reference: The Concise Dictionary of National Biography Part II 1901-1950 (Oxford, 1967).


The items within JG(II) were arranged and listed by in 1977-1978 by Ben Benedikz, librarian, based on a brief handlist received from the executors of Mr R. H. Sauter. The papers were arranged by theme, people and document type. A paper handlist of the Galsworthy documents was produced in 1978 and widely distributed. In 2016 this paper handlist was typed into the cataloguing software 'CALM' to make it available via our online archive catalogue, and the descriptions enhanced. Although the listing and arrangement does not quite confirm to modern day cataloguing standards, the arrangement of the sections and the reference numbers have been kept as they were assigned originally by Ben Benedikz.

Access Information

Open to all registered researchers

Acquisition Information

The first deposit referenced JG was deposited in 1962 by John Galsworthy's nephew Mr Rudolf Sauter and the Trustees of the Galsworthy estate for a period of 20 years. Most of the collection was sold in 1979 at the request of the depositor. Other items from this deposit went to the University's Research and Cultural Collection department. One item from this first deposit remains at the Cadbury Research Library, and this has now been added to the JG(II) catalogue. Former reference: JG/1938, new reference: JG(II)/30.

Second deposit referenced JG(II), which this catalogue relates to, was bequeathed by Mr Rudolf Sauter in 1977.

Two other items bequeathed by Mr Rudolf Sauter in 1977 were originally added to the original JG catalogue rather than the JG(II) catalogue. It is unknown why. These were not sold at auction, and have now been added to the JG(II) list as JG(II)/31/1-2.

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details

Separated Material

A substantial part of the initial deposit was sold by Sotheby in 1979 at the direction of the Galsworthy Trust. The papers are now housed at Forbes Magazine, Forbes Building, 60 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011. The manuscript of Galsworthy's famous novel 'The Forsyte Saga' was donated to the library of the British Museum (now the British Library) by Galsworthy himself during his lifetime.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Director of Special Collections (email:

The copyright for items created by Rudolf Sauter himself is held by Mr Alan Meyer at Horsey Lightly Fynn (formerly Halsey Lightly & Hemsley) at Devon House, 12-15 Dartmouth Street, London SW1H 9BL. Mr. Meyer is one of the Trustees of the John Galsworthy Will Trust and is the Executor of Rudo Sauter's Estate.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Cadbury Research Library also holds the John Galsworthy Letters Additional collection (reference: JGLAdd), and a script of the version of 'The Forsyte Saga' broadcast on the BBC in 1967 is held in the book collection, 26 parts contained in 2 boxes (classmark: f PR6013.A5F67). We also hold numerous books by Galsworthy in our book collection.