Papers of Bruce Montgomery, 'Edmund Crispin', (1921-78)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Eng. b. 2046; c. 2356-8, c. 3824-992; d. 2435-8; e. 2782-9; Photogr. c. 32-3
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      192 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

The collection consists of many hundreds of letters written to Montgomery during the course of his life, reflecting in particular his triple involvement in the worlds of literature, music and film. A large quantity of his working papers is also preserved, and although the manuscripts of most of Montgomery's published works do not survive, there is a great deal of material relating to his activities as a composer, anthologist and reviewer, together with notes and drafts of unfinished and unpublished projects. These include several plays and essays written as an undergraduate, and among his Oxford papers are a series of cartoons drawn by Montgomery and Philip Larkin, and a set of Larkin's notes and essays on Chaucer. Between 1943 and 1945 Larkin also sent Montgomery drafts of the poems he was currently working on, whilst his own annotations appear on several of Montgomery's manuscripts.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Bruce Montgomery (1921-1978) was a detective novelist under the pseudonym of Edmund Crispin, and composer in his own name. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

It was a condition of the gift that letters from Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin should not be made available for research until fifty years after their respective deaths. Philip Larkin's letters, accordingly, will be released in 2035; Kingsley Amis's in 2045. A few other groups of letters are currently restricted.

Acquisition Information

The papers were given to the Library in 1986.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue is available in the Library.

Related Material

For Montgomery's music manuscripts see Music Manuscripts of Robert Bruce Montgomery (MSS. Mus. a. 4, b. 47-89, c. 438-47, 453).