Correspondence and literary papers associated with the New Statesman, 1914-1919 and 1960-1983

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 Brotherton Collection MS 20c New Statesman
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      4 boxes; manuscript, typescript, press cuttings, and printed material (some photocopy).

Scope and Content

Comprises: (1) 3 boxes containing editorial correspondence from the First World War period (1914-1919), including some 600 autograph typescript and manuscript letters to Clifford Sharp and almost a thousand carbon copies of replies by him and his editorial staff, including John Collings Squire, concerning a wide range of social and political issues of the time, notably, government policy, war strategy, Russia, Yugoslavia, conscientious objection, the suffragette movement, socialism, and education, correspondents including G.B. Shaw, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Arnold Bennett, W.B. Yeats, H.G. Wells, and Walter de la Mare; and (2) 1 box (Box 4) containing more recent literary material spanning the period from 1960 to 1983, namely (a) book reviews, with some articles and other prose submissions, all principally typescript but with frequent editorial markings and sometimes associated correspondence; (b) poems submitted for publication, typescript, again with frequent editorial markings and in some cases associated correspondence; (c) correspondence relating to Stevie Smith, including correspondence between her and Anthony Thwaite; and (d) a small amount of miscellaneous correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

The New Statesman is a British weekly periodical representing the political and social views of the left as a counterbalance to the long-established right-wing Spectator (1828-). It was founded in 1913 by members of the Fabian Society, notably Sidney and Beatrice Webb and George Bernard Shaw. Its first editor was Clifford Sharp, although during his absence on military service in 1917-1918 John Collings Squire became its acting editor. Its influence increased during the post-war years, and when Kingsley Martin became editor in 1931 it merged with two competitors, The Athenaeum and The Nation, to become known until 1957 as The New Statesman and Nation. By 1945 its weekly circulation reached 70,000, and in its heyday in the mid 1960s circulation exceeded 90,000, so that it was indisputably the leading voice in British political commentary. The periodical has always had a significant literary content and interest in addition to its social and political emphasis, so that many prominent literary figures have over the years become associated with it in its correspondence columns, book reviews, and published poetry.


In the 1914-1919 period each correspondent was allocated a numbered file by the New Statesman office and the archive has been retained in this order.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased with assistance from the Purchase Grant Fund administered by the Victoria and Albert Museum on behalf of the Museums and Galleries Commission, 1996.


In English.

Other Finding Aids

The contents are described in detail in Handlist 150. The letters are included in the Library's Letters database [requires Adobe Acrobat ]

Corporate Names