Literary papers and correspondence of James Kirkup, with related material

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 Brotherton Collection MS 20c Kirkup
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 box; manuscript, typescript, photographs, postcards, press cuttings, and printed material (some photocopy)

Scope and Content

Comprises: (1) Material acquired in 1964, namely, autograph manuscript and typescript drafts and copies of poems composed by James Kirkup between ca. 1955 and 1964, including 8 letters and 8 press cuttings, totalling some 284 ff. in all; (2) Material acquired in 1991, namely, autograph signed manuscript poem 'Black Shadows', about Martin Luther King, revised version (dated 1970), together with corrected typescripts of the poems 'Marsyas' (2 versions, 1990), 'Cain and Abel' (1990), 'Succuba' (2 versions, 1990), 'March of the Mutilated Torsos' (2 versions, 1990), 'Cullercoats, 1920', undated, 'Tyneside, 1936' (7 versions, 1990), 'A Gay Nursery Rhyme' (1976), 'Weight Lifter' (autograph manuscript and corrected typescript, 1990), and 'Westoe Village, 1838' (3 versions, 1990), some extensively corrected, with cancellations and manuscript additions, in black ink; and (3) Material acquired in 2004, namely, 3 autograph typescript letters with stamped addressed envelopes and 1 autograph manuscript postcard from Kirkup in Andorra to Herbert Ronson in Merseyside dated 1999-2000, with a signed typescript of a poem. Also enclosed with the letters are a coloured photograph of a bust and 3 photocopied obituaries written by Kirkup. There is a further letter from Kirkup to Ronson, with typescript poems, loosely inserted in a copy of Kirkup's book I, of all people that previously belonged to Ronson.

Administrative / Biographical History

James (Falconer) Kirkup, the travel writer, poet, novelist, playwright, translator, and broadcaster, was born in South Shields, Co. Durham, on 23 April 1918 and educated at South Shields High School and Durham University. He became the first Gregory Fellow in Poetry at Leeds University, 1950-1952, and subsequently filled numerous academic posts, mainly abroad and especially in Japan. He has won many awards for poetry and other branches of literature. For fuller details of his life and achievements see Who's Who.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

Acquired in three stages, first, by purchase from the author on 3 June 1964 with money from the Anna Gordon Keown fund, secondly, by purchase from Sotheby's on 31 July 1991 (part of lot 296), and, thirdly, via Liverpool University Library on 27 April 2004.


In English.

Custodial History

The material received in 2004 formerly belonged to Herbert Ronson.

Additional Information

Some 16 printed books by James Kirkup, 6 of which he has signed, were received as part of the 2004 acquisition and are shelved with the above.

Personal Names