University of Manchester Literary Society Minute Book

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 ULS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 item; a hardbound volume there is some damage to the spine of the volume.
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

Minute Book of the University of Manchester Literary Society, 10 November 1905-26 January 1912. Some meetings were held jointly with other societies. The minutes include a very brief account of papers delivered.

Administrative / Biographical History

The first literary society at the University was the Shakespere Society, established in 1874. This appears to have been defunct or inactive by the 1890s. A Literary Society appears to have been meeting in 1900, with membership restricted to male students. In 1903, there was discussion of creating a joint "Literary Circle", but this does not seem to have come to fruition. A Literary Circle did exist for female students, and this held occasional joint meetings with the Literary Society. The Society met at the Union, and its primary activity was to hear lectures by University staff, students and external speakers (among the speakers recorded in this volume were Hilaire Belloc and Annie Horniman). It also held an annual social tea.

There is no evidence that the Society survived the First World War, but a (joint) Literary Circle was founded in 1921, and published an arts magazine The Circle. This too appears to have been defunct by the 1930s and an English Society was refounded on similar principles in 1939.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The minute book appears to have been retained by a former secretary of the Society, Tom Partington, whose family later passed it to Professor David Smalley. Professor Smalley donated the volume to the Library on 19 March 2015.


It is possible that other records of the Literary Society may exist, but no further information is available at present.

Related Material

Reports of Society meetings can be found in the relevant issues of Manchester University Magazine (UMP/2/2 and UMP/2/3). The Library also has custody of the copies of The Circle (UMP/2/7).

Geographical Names