W. Forster's D.H. Lawrence collection was, after his death, sold at auction and consequently was split and widely dispersed. The items now held by the University of Nottingham are a small fraction of his personal collection, which originally included Lawrence manuscripts and correspondence alongside a significant printed collection. The present Forster collection contains a wide range of papers, reflecting Forster's activity both as a bookseller and as a dedicated D.H. Lawrence collector. A small number of items relate to Forster's more general bibliographical interests. There is, in particular, a small file concerning Richard Aldington, another author whose work was collected by Forster.
The first series of papers (For F) is made up of Forster's own working papers. This series contains his correspondence on Lawrence matters with fellow Lawrence enthusiasts and other booksellers. Also present are booksellers' catalogues, auction catalogues, invoices for Lawrence purchases by Forster and issues of his own sale lists, advertising for sale numerous Lawrence works as well as related volumes, periodicals, pamphlets and items of ephemeral interest. In addition there are papers relating to his membership of Lawrence societies and items concerning the Cambridge University Press edition of the letters and works of D.H. Lawrence, mainly given to Forster by the Lawrencian scholar Keith Sagar.
The second series comprises papers specifically about D.H. Lawrence (For L). Although few original manuscripts are present, the group does contain a set of proofs for the book of poetry entitled 'Bay' and a typescript of Lawrence's volume of poetry entitled Pansies, containing a foreword, unknown and unpublished prior to Forster's acquisition of the typescript. Also present are letters of a number of Lawrence's contemporaries, including Catherine Carswell, Helen Corke, Frieda Lawrence, Ernest Collings, Norman Douglas and Martin Secker, as well as a group of over 30 photographs of and relating to Lawrence.
More recent items within this series include papers relating to stage, television, film and radio productions of works by Lawrence, including posters, photographic stills, programmes and handbills. Publishers' publicity material, dating back to a pamphlet produced by Thomas Seltzer in 1922, trace the reception of Lawrence's works. Similarly, artistic interpretations of Lawrence and his works, papers relating to conferences, festivals, exhibitions and courses, critical works, biographical papers and ephemera, including commemorative items such as a bottle of 'D.H. Lawrence Special Ale', all reveal the continuing significance of Lawrence, both in academic research and popular culture.
A final series is made up entirely of newspaper and magazine cuttings (For N). These include an extensive group of cuttings acquired through Forster's subscription to newsclippings services together with miscellaneous cuttings and newspapers collected by and given to Forster in the course of his Lawrence collecting. These cuttings range from the early 1960s to the 1990s and record news coverage on Lawrence from all over the world.
Extensive runs of periodical and pamphlet literature, rich sources for early appearances of Lawrence texts and reviews, have been, where appropriate, absorbed into the D.H. Lawrence printed collections and can be searched via The University of Nottingham Library online Catalogue.