Literary papers and correspondence of Keith Douglas, with related material, including his paintings and drawings, and Douglas family photographs

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 Brotherton Collection MS 20c Douglas
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      5 boxes, 4 folders, and 104 vols; manuscript, typescript, photographs, press cuttings, and printed material (some photocopy). Includes many drawings and paintings and a metal cigarette case containing 5 badges.

Scope and Content

Comprises: (a) 1 box containing many miscellaneous documents associated with him, including some of his school reports, educational and army certificates, press cuttings concerning his life in the army, Oxford scholarship material, some autograph manuscript and typescript drafts and proofs of his poems, reviews of his poems and prose writings, correspondence with family members and friends, and a typescript Castellain family history dated 1881; (b) 1 box and 1 folder containing many drawings and paintings by him; (c) 1 box and 1 folder containing Douglas family photographs from his earliest childhood to the war years; (d) 2 boxes containing many parts of literary periodicals associated with him; (e) 1 folder of correspondence and lists concerning the acquisition of his archive for the Brotherton Collection, including references to the two exhibitions on Douglas mounted in the Bodleian Library in 1974 and then in the Brotherton Collection in 1975; (f) a metal cigarette case containing 5 of his badges; and (g) 2 bundles of miscellaneous folders associated with the collection and its acquisition from which material has been removed.

Administrative / Biographical History

Keith Castellain Douglas (1920-1944), the war poet and prose writer, was born in Kent, brought up near Cranleigh, Surrey, and educated at Christ's Hospital and Merton College, Oxford, where he edited The Cherwell and wrote stories and poems. At the outbreak of the Second World War he volunteered for the army, was trained at Sandhurst and Wickwar, and in 1941 was posted to Palestine. The history of his time in North Africa is told in his memoir Alamein to Zem Zem (1946). He returned to England in 1943 and in 1944 was sent to France. There he was killed in action in Normandy four days after the D-day landings. His Complete poems and a prose miscellany were edited in 1987 and 1985 respectively by Desmond Graham, who had also earlier written his biography, Keith Douglas 1920-1944 (1974).

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

Partly the gift of Mrs Marie Douglas, the poet's mother, and partly purchased from her, in both cases via Dr Desmond Graham between 1968 and 1976.


In English.

Other Finding Aids

The archive is described in detail in handlist no.147.

Additional Information

Some 104 printed books and pamphlets either owned by Keith Douglas or associated with him, including a few added in recent years, form a related part of the collection and are shelved with the above.