G K Chesterton Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 58 Add MS 73186-73484
  • Alternative Id.
      (ark) ark:/81055/vdc_100000000036.0x00009b
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English French Spanish
  • Physical Description
      299 volumes (556 parts)

Scope and Content

Correspondence and papers of Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936); Partly copies. Partly typewritten, signed and printed.

Consists largely of drafts and printer's copy of Chesterton's works and compilations made after his death, correspondence received by Chesterton, and press cuttings. In the descriptions Chesterton's works are referred to by title alone, and the two major biographical works by Maisie Ward in which many poems, etc., were first published, i.e. M. Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (New York, 1943, London, 1944), and M. Ward, Return to Chesterton (New York and London, 1952) are referred to as Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton and Return to Chesterton respectively, and the page references given are those of the London editions. The Ignatius Press, San Francisco, is in the course of publishing The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton in about fifty volumes, with a concluding biblio-graphy by Geir Hasnes; these are referred to as C.W., followed by the appropriate volume and page numbers. John Sullivan's bibliography, to which reference is made in the text as 'Sullivan', followed by a reference number, is in three parts: G. K. Chesterton: a Bibliography (1958), Chesterton Continued (1968), Chesterton Three (Bedford, 1980).


British Library arrangement.

Access Information


Not Public Record(s)

Acquisition Information

Purchased in 1990 from the Dorothy Collins Charitable Trust with the aid of a grant from the Shaw Fund. The two portraits at Add. 73371 B and C were presented by the Trustees of the Estate of Dorothy Collins in 1992.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Custodial History

The collection was initially made by Chesterton's father, Edward Chesterton, and then arranged and maintained by his secretary and literary executor, Dorothy Collins, from her appointment in 1926 until her death in 1988. In making copies of letters to correspondents and in copying texts for posthumous compilations Dorothy Collins often used the versos of original or later typescripts of works and letters, and she also used press cuttings extracted from the albums of cuttings as copy for compilations; these leaves are usually placed with the copy for the compilation or, in the absence of such copy and if the original article can be identified, with the original typescripts of articles. The content of the side of the leaf not chosen for arrangement is described or indexed only if it can be identified, is not represented in the collection in another form, or is relevant to Chesterton's life or writings.

Related Material

Printed material received with the collection is placed in the Library's collections of printed books, bearing shelf-marks beginning "Chest", a film of an interview in the American television series 'The Catholic Hour' in 1961 is placed in the Library's National Sound Archive.

Some personal possessions of Chesterton's, e.g. his hat and spectacles, with scenery and figures for his toy theatre and Dorothy Collins's card index files to the collection as arranged by her, have been placed on deposit with the G. K. Chesterton Centre at Plater College, Oxford, to which enquiries on those materials should be addressed.