Nicolson Papers

Scope and Content

About 900 letters and papers relating to the editing and publication of Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (eds), The Letters of Virginia Woolf , 6 vols (London: Hogarth Press, 1975-80); 26 letters from Leonard Woolf to Vita Sackville-West; correspondence with the Hogarth Press about the publication of the Letters ; reviews of vol. 4; and letters about the transfer of Monks House, Rodmell, to the National Trust.

Administrative / Biographical History

Nigel Nicolson (b. 1917) is the younger son of (Sir) Harold Nicolson (1886-1968), diplomatist and author, and Victoria Mary (Vita) Sackville-West (1892-1962), writer and gardener. He edited his father s diaries and letters, 1930-62 (3 vols, 1966-68) and in Portrait of a Marriage (1973) Nigel recounted the story of [their] union, unorthodox in some respects, which was cemented by a mutual understanding and deep affection probably unsurpassed by any literary partnership ( Dictionary of National Biography on Vita). One unorthodox respect was Vita s passionate relationships with other women, among them, in the late 1920s and 1930s, the novelist Virginia Woolf (1886-1941). That contributed to Nicolson preparing an edition of Virginia s letters, assisted by Joanne Trautmann, which was published by the Hogarth Press in six volumes in 1975-80.

In 1992 he presented to the University of Sussex some 900 letters relating to the editorial project, as it might be of interest to future researchers to show how Joanne Trautmann (Assistant Editor) and I set about our task, and because many of the letters are from people connected with Bloomsbury and knew the Woolfs intimately.


Nigel Nicolson arranged the correspondence alphabetically, both in the order of the files, and the order of the correspondents within the files.

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Nigel Nicolson, 1992


Prepared by John Farrant, July 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website .

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.

Related Material

This collection is closely paralleled by SxMs 70, A. O. Papers, being correspondence relating to the editing by Anne Olivier Bell s research for the biography, and editing of the diary, of Virginia Woolf.

The other collections at the University of Sussex relating to the Woolfs and to the Bloomsbury group are:

SxMs 13 Leonard Woolf Papers

SxMs 18 Monks House Papers (papers of Virginia Woolf and related papers of Leonard Woolf)

SxMs 56 Charleston Papers (Clive Bell, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant)

SxMs 58 Birrell Papers (Francis Birrell)