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English Literature, Language and Linguistics: Archives and Special Collections

Useful news and help with information resources within and beyond the Library for anyone studying in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University.

What are Special Collections?

Special Collections are unique and rare resources held by Newcastle University's Robinson's Library.  We hold both archives and rare books.

Due to their rarity and their sometimes fragile condition, these items are not on the normal library shelves, but they are available to everyone in the Special Collections reading room.

What Collections are Available in the Robinson Library?

This guide will point you in the direction of some collections which are particularly relevant to your subject area.

For a wider look at more of our collections, and to see tips on ordering and using archives and rare books, there is also a Special Collections LibGuide ...

Rare Books Outside of the 'Rare Book Collections'

Not all of our rare books are in 'collections' with particular relevance to your subject area, we also have hundreds of rare and unique books which were acquired by the library individually, across a range of subjects, which might also be valuable to your research.

Just a few to get you started ...

We have plenty more ...

All of our rare books are on the library catalogue, so start your search by entering your topic area, author, or title into library search in the normal way.

To view items within the Special Collections department, you can then refine your search by clicking on the Special Collections Location.

Heslop (Richard) Collection of Dictionaries and Papers

Collection of c. 250 dictionaries consists of a 1916 bequest by Richard Oliver Heslop (1842 - 1916), philologist and antiquary, together with a few later additions. Also contains papers comprising Heslop's research material for his work Northumberland Words, published by the English Dialect Society in 1892-1894.

Type of Material: Rare Books  Archives

Subject Areas:  Language and Linguistics  International History

More on Heslop (Richard Oliver) Collection of Dictionaries and Papers...

Manuscript Album

A collection of letters, gathered over time with no particular subject focus.  The letters were chosen however for their historical significance, and the collection includes letters by Horatio Nelson, A.E. Houseman, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Garibaldi, and Mary Shelly to name but a few, as well as by people of local significance like Thomas Bewick, Richard Grainger, and George Stephenson.

Type of Material: Archives

Subject Areas:  History  Modern Languages  Politics  Literature

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Iron Press Archive

IRON Press is a North East-based independent press which publishes poetry, fiction and drama from the region and elsewhere, with a particular focus on publishing new authors.

The press began as IRON Magazine which was established in 1973, and was funded by Northern Arts. It featured art work, reviews, short stories and poetry. The magazine ran for 26 years, ending in 1997. Across 82 editions, it published more than 1200 writers world-wide.

IRON Press published its first book in 1976, Three North-East Plays by C.P. Taylor, Tom Hadaway and Leonard Barras. The press has been funded by Northern Arts, and Arts Council England North. It seeks to publish four or five new titles annually, as well as hosting festivals and literary events in the North-East.

Type of Material: Archives

Subject Areas: Literature, Publishing

More on the Iron Press Archive...

IRON Press Collection

Books published by independent publisher IRON Press based in Cullercoats. Includes copies of IRON magazine which ran from 1973 and 1997 publishing art work, reviews, short stories and poetry. The book collection comprises of poetry, fiction and drama and is particularly strong in work from local authors.

Type of Material: Published book collection

Subject Areas: LiteraturePublishingCreative Writing

More on IRON Press Collection...

Flambard Press Archive

​Flambard Press was a North East-based independent press which published a range of poetry and fiction, as well as some non-fiction and visual-art books. It was particularly focused on publishing new and neglected writers in the North of England, as well as promoting live literature.

Type of Material: Consists of editorial material relating to published works by Flambard Press. Also contains documents relating to the marketing of teh company.

Subject Areas: Literature, Publishing

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Flambard Press Collection

Books published by Flambard Press, independent publisher based in Hexham which ran from 1990 - 2014. Includes poetry, novels, short stories and non-fiction and is strong in work by local authors. 

Type of Material: Published book collection

Subject Areas: Literature, Publishing, Creative Writing

More on Flambard Press Collection...

Using archives in English Literature research

Take a look at this great new video of Newcastle University English Literature researchers explaining how they are using our archives in their research.

Bloodaxe Books Archive

The Bloodaxe Books archive comprises of material dating from the creation of the publishing press in 1978, specialising in poetry. This largely consists of editorial material detailing the production of publications from its many internationally renowned authors, who have won virtually every major literary award given to poetry, from the T.S. Eliot Prize and Pulitzer to the Nobel Prize, including Tony Harrison, Benjamin Zephaniah, Irina Ratushinskaya, Miroslav Holub, Anne Stephenson and Simon Armitage.

The Collection also includes marketing, business and financial records.

Type of Material: Archives

Subject Areas:  Literature  Creative Writing  Business

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Chaplin (Sid) Collection

Papers of writer Sid Chaplin (1916-1986) covering the years 1930-1990 and relating to his writing career and other involvements throughout his life. His work strongly reflected his formative years in the pit villages of County Durham, his time in the coal industry and his other interests, particularly the history and culture of the North-East. The material comprises typescripts of Chaplin's published and unpublished novels, short stories, poetry, plays and articles, television and radio drama, diaries and notebooks, newspaper cuttings, photographs and correspondence. There are typescripts and publisher's proofs for Chaplin's four full-length novels, as well as for his first publication The Leaping Lad (1946), which inspired a generation of writers from the industrial north of England emerging in the late 1950s.

Type of Material: Archives

Subject Areas:  Creative Writing  History  Literature  Local History  Social History

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Common (Jack) Papers

Papers of Tyneside-born writer Jack Common (1900-1968), with a particular interest in depicting working class life in the area. They include published and unpublished typescripts and manuscripts of his work, including Kiddar's Luck, his fictionalised childhood autobiography, published in 1951. There are Common's diaries, notebooks, research notes, news cuttings, photographs, and correspondence; with correspondents including his friends George Orwell, and E.M. Forster.  Also includes articles and draft articles for his contribution to the socialist journals The Adelphi and New Britain.

Type of Material: Archives

Subject Areas:  Creative Writing  History  Literature  Local History  Social History

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MacSweeney Papers

Personal papers of North East poet Barry MacSweeney (1948-2000), who was an important figure in the Modern Poetry Revival. Includes manuscripts and published works, correspondence, literature reviews, poetry publications, photographs and newspapers articles.

Type of Material: Archives

Subject Areas:  Creative Writing  Literature

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Whyte Papers

The papers of Frederic Whyte (1867-1941) form a literary archive although it contains a large amount of correspondence. The letters date largely from the late-Nineteenth and early-Twentieth Centuries and include correspondence with publishers, editors and literary agents. Correspondence also includes letters from Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw and correspondence with H.G. Wells.

Type of Material: Archives

Subject Areas:  Creative Writing  Literature

More on Whyte (Frederic) Archive...