Papers of Sir Victor Gollancz (1893-1967), publisher and humanitarian campaigner

Scope and Content

Correspondence and papers of Sir Victor Gollancz relating mainly to his personal interests, especially as a humanitarian activist and campaigner, 1928-1967. Topics include abolition of capital punishment, nuclear disarmament, Jewish affairs (including the Jewish Society for Human Service), German reconciliation, Europe, civil liberties, music, broadcasting and his own writings. Publishing is represented by correspondence about and drafts of Gollancz's own writings and anthologies, which were published under the Gollancz imprint, and some miscellaneous files and letters. There are also publications, press-cuttings and photographs. There is a small quantity of material on the Left Book Club. One additional box of personal papers containing the text of an apparently unpublished work based on letters received by Save Europe Now, and three files of letters of condolence of Lady Gollancz, Feb-Mar 1967, on her husband's death.

Administrative / Biographical History

Victor Gollancz (1893-1967) was educated at St. Paul's School and New College, Oxford. Having been judged unfit for foreign service during the First World War, he spent the period teaching at Repton. In 1920 Gollancz began his first job in publishing, working for Benn's publishing house. His own company, Victor Gollancz Ltd, followed in 1928. It was to become one of the most profitable and successful firms in British publishing history. Gollancz's flair for combining political propaganda with successful publishing also found its outlet through his promotion of the Left Book Club. His espousal of other causes, notably pacifism, re-conciliation with Germany and the abolition of capital punishment reflected his own profound religious sense, as did his books My Dear Timothy, More for Timothy, A Year of Grace and From Darkness to Light. In recognition of his help for, and sympathy with, the German people after the war, in 1953 Gollancz was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Order of Merit, and he continued to speak out against anti-German intolerance, most notably with regard to the Eichmann trial in 1961. He was knighted in 1965.

Reference: The Times ( 9 February 1967).

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

The archive was a gift to the Modern Records Centre. The initial deposit was made in 1977 by Livia Gollancz. Subsequent deposits were made in 1983, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1995 and 1999. Further records were donated in 2008 by Ruth Dudley Edwards, Gollancz's biographer.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Dr Ben Jeffryes, of 20, Station Road, Histon, Cambridge CB4 4LQ Email:

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Modern Records Centre also holds the archives of the publishing company Victor Gollancz Ltd (MSS.318).


Richard Storey Modern Records Centre Sources Booklet No 8: The Personal Papers of Sir Victor Gollancz (1893-1967) publisher, humanitarian and campaigner. (Coventry 1997).