The Kenneth Allsop Papers

Scope and Content

The collection comprises autograph, typescript, and printed papers, correspondence, drafts, and notes relating to five of Allsop's books: Silver flame (1950), Angry decade: a story of the cultural revolt of the nineteen-fifties(1958), Bootleggers: the story of Chicago's Prohibition era(1961), Adventure lit their star(second edition, 1962) and Hard travellin': the hobo and his history(1967); along with manuscript fragments of four unpublished novels.

Administrative / Biographical History

Kenneth Allsop (1920-1973) was educated at St Andrew's College, served in the Royal Air Force (1940-44) and had several jobs as a reporter before becoming a feature writer for Picture Post (1950-55) and the Evening Standard (1955-56), and Literary Editor and columnist for the Daily Mail(1956-64). He was a book critic for the London Evening News and contributed regularly also to The Spectator, Punch and Nova. His television journalism began in 1955 as a reporter and interviewer for Independent Television News. He joined the BBC as a studio interviewer and film reporter in 1960, and for seven years, 1965-72, reached a wide audience aspresenter of the BBC's nightly current affairs programme Twenty-Four Hours. In his book writing, he specialised in American affairs and sociology. He was Rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1968-71.

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Kenneth Allsop's widow, Betty Allsop, in November 1973.


Prepared by John Farrant, September 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner. The donor of this collection has retained the copyright.