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Leonard Woolf Archive

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Collection Description

The Leonard Woolf Archive provides documentation of his early life, including Woolf’s schooldays and early career as a civil servant in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). His professional life as journalist, editor and publisher is represented in papers which relate to his affiliation with publications such as the Nation (of which he was literary editor in the 1920s), the New Statesman (see also the New Statesman Archive) and Political Quarterly (1931–59), of which he was co-founder. Much correspondence relates to his journalism and broadcasts. Leonard Woolf’s five-volume autobiography is represented through manuscripts and reviews, together with summarised diary entries and related correspondence. The day-to-day workings of Hogarth Press, Leonard and Virginia’s joint publishing venture are covered in documents such as accounts books and internal communications.

Plenty of material relates to Leonard’s involvement with Virginia’s writings. There is correspondence with agents and publishers regarding proposed corrections to her works. The Archive also holds various interviews with Leonard in which he discusses his wife. There are 208 letters of condolence to Leonard on his wife’s death, many of which are from readers and admirers unknown to the Woolfs but who felt moved to write; others are from figures such as T S Eliot, Kingsley Martin and Radclyffe Hall.

The files of correspondence include material from the usual Bloomsbury figures and others such as Leonard’s good friend Peggy Ashcroft, Kingsley Martin [link?] and Sidney Webb. Iris Murdoch and Rebecca West are among the less frequent but equally noteworthy correspondents. Woolf’s correspondence with Trekkie Parsons, his companion in later years, runs from the early 1940s to the late 1960s.

Archival history

The Leonard Woolf Archive was deposited in the Library on Woolf’s death in 1969. The copyright of Virginia Woolf is handled by the Society of Authors on behalf of the Virginia Woolf estate; Leonard’s heir, Mrs Trekkie Parsons, transferred copyright of Leonard Woolf to the University of Sussex when she deposited his archive in 1969. Mrs Parsons deposited the Monks House Papers at Sussex in 1973 to join the Leonard Woolf Archive. She subsequently presented both collections to the University.






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