The main sections of the archive are as follows
The first section brings together items that document Bob Copper's life away from his singing and writing career. The various notepads found in this section contain a mix of rough notes and diary entries. Bob didn't consistently keep a day to day diary and many of his diaries stop halfway through. Bob also liked to insert rough notes, press cuttings and other items into his notepads, the significance of these items is not always clear. Bob belonged to some clubs throughout his life and correspondence relating to those club memberships are also found in this section. Highlights include documentation relating to the honorary degree from the University of Sussex in 2000
Correspondence - Thematic
Bob Copper's correspondence is organised into two sections, though there is some overlap between these categories. This first section contains correspondence with individuals or organisations with whom Bob had ongoing contact. He kept these letters separate from the rest of his correspondence which is ordered chronologically. Bob also kept items together that related to a particular theme, for example, correspondence relating to the recording of the Copper Family CD: 'Coppersongs', as well as financial papers and household bills. Items within these files are in no particular order.
Correspondence - Chronological sequence
Following on from the thematic sequence is a chronological list of Bob's correspondence from the late 1940s to 2004. There is a very small quantity of letters from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Although the arrangement is chronological, in many cases dates can only be established by inference. Quite often there are items interleaved with a set of correspondence with no obvious relation, but an concerted effort has been made to keep the correspondence and these objects in the order that Bob kept them
This section comprises drafts, notes and correspondence relating to Bob's five books; A Song for Every Season, Songs and Southern Breezes, Early to Rise, Across Sussex With Belloc: In the Footsteps of "The Four Men", Bob Copper's Sussex, The Copper Family Song Book. Also included in this section are texts, both in typescript and handwritten, of unpublished works. Many manuscripts remain unidentified and these are collated at the end of the section along with miscellaneous other writings.
Songs and Performances
This section gathers together items relating to Bob's performing career including songs that were collected in the 1950s, radio plays and other live performances. There is a large amount of material relating to Christmas.
Published articles and notes relating to Bob's home village of Rottingdean.
Jim Copper, ,
The collection contains a small amount of items relating to Bob's father Jim. Jim Copper had a big influence in the folk revival in the 1950s and was the subject of a BBC Home Service programme 'The life of Jim Copper'. This section includes recordings of this programme and other notes farming life in the early 20th century.
Bob Copper made several trips to the USA during his lifetime.The section contains correspondence and details about various performances the Copper family made in the States.