This archive consists, principally, of letters sent to the Manchester journalist and newspaper editor John Howard Nodal (1831-1909). In addition to letters relating to Nodal's associations with a number of Manchester newspapers and literary journals the archive also contains letters relating to Nodal's position as Honorary Secretary of the English Dialect Society, President of the Manchester Literary Club and Chairman of the Manchester Arts Club.
The collection contains 154 items, of which 129 are letters written to Nodal (JHN/1). The remainder of the collection is made up of newspaper cuttings and other miscellaneous items accumulated by Nodal. Most of the letters are associated with Nodal's varied journalistic and literary duties; offers of reviews, thanks for notices, requests for advice. Other significant groups are associated with Nodal's work for the English Dialect Society (see particularly the letters from Nodal's successor as Honorary Secretary, Joseph Wright, JHN 1/129) and with a paper Nodal was preparing for the Library Association on Special Collections of Books in Lancashire and Cheshire, 1880 (see JHN/1/26, 1/30, 1/35, 1/65/2, 1/71/1-2, 1/76, 1/78, 1/88, 1/103, 1/104). Correspondents include: the authors Isabella Banks (Mrs G. Linnaeus Banks) (JHN/1/6), William Harrison Ainsworth (JHN/1/2), Edwin Waugh (JHN/1/125), Bram Stoker (1/112), Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine (JHN/1/23), Alexander Ireland (JHN/1/6), Sydney Grundy (JHN/1/47) and Francis Espinasse (JHN/1/37); the actor Henry Irving; the artist/illustrators Randolph Caldecott (JHN/2/3) and Edward Hull (JHN/1/63); and the antiquarian book collectors Richard Copley Christie (JHN/1/26) and John Parsons Earwaker (JHN/1/35). Very little in the archive concerns Nodal's family life. Amongst the few exceptions are a letter from Nodal's first wife, Helen, to their daughter, Mildred (JHN/2/7), and a newspaper notice of Helen's death in a domestic accident (JHN/3/1/20). The Nodal archive has research potential in a number of fields but most particularly around the development and political concerns of regional journalism in the late nineteenth century; also the literary and artistic community of north-west England during the late nineteenth century; the period's interest in recording and preserving regional dialect speech; developments in local government in Manchester; the Manchester Ship Canal scheme and the creation of special book collections in nineteenth-century Lancashire and Cheshire.