Grigson Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The core of the collection is the personal library of Jane Grigson. This collection, primarily of books and pamphlets, closely reflects the culinary themes that underpinned her writing. The collection also includes Grigson's personal notebooks (containing research notes), draft articles (many of which were published in The Observer newspaper) and a small amount of correspondence. In addition to this, the Jane Grigson Trustees continuously add book stock to complement and update the core collection.

A further collection of gastronomy books were donated by Prue Leith. The Prue Leith collection also contains a number of books that had belonged to the writer Maggie Black.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jane Grigson, nee McIntire, was born in Gloucester in 1928, but was brought up in Sunderland, and after taking an English degree at Cambridge in 1949, worked in art galleries, publishers, and as a translator. In 1953 she joined the publisher, George Rainbird, as a picture researcher, where she met her husband Geoffrey Grigson, who worked there as an editor.

Jane herself did not start out to become an expert in food and cookery. It was only years later, after she and her family began to spend several months of the year in France, that Jane developed a fascination with French cuisine. She ended up researching and writing 'Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery', which looks into the wealth of cooked meat products that are available in even the smallest French market towns. This work was received with much acclaim and, as a direct result, Elizabeth David recommended Jane to The Observer newspaper as their food columnist. She remained in this capacity for the next twenty one years.

As well as writing her columns and recipes, Jane also wrote eleven other books, including 'Jane Grigson's Fruit Book', 'English Food' and 'Good Things'.

Conditions Governing Access

Before your first visit to the Special Collections Reading Room please complete a Reading Room registration form. The form is also available from the Headington Library Enquiry Desk. Internal staff and students will be asked to show their University ID card, and external applicants should bring proof of address

Applicants are bound by the Reading Room regulations.

The Reading Room is open between 1pm and 5pm, Monday to Friday, during the University semesters (dates available here) and researchers can visit by prior appointment outside these times; Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. Please email us to arrange a visit or if you have any queries: libraryenquiries@brookes.ac.uk

Other Finding Aids

A full online catalogue for the archival material is available.

Please use the Library Catalogue, available at www.brookes.ac.uk/library, to search for the published items in this collection.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Eleanor Possart in 2008 and 2011, with the exception of the 'Articles' series which was catalogued by Annabel Gill, with the help of Matt Griffin, in 2011.

Appraisal Information

Duplicates removed

Custodial History

Jane Grigson's books and papers were placed on long term loan to the Jane Grigson Trust by her daughter Sophie. The collection was originally housed in London's Guildhall Library, but moved to Oxford Brookes University in 2005.

Further items have been donated by the families of Georgina Boosey, Lesley Chamberlain, Roz Denny, Sarah Freeman, Mr & Mrs Freemantle, Helen Gifford, Miriam Polunin.