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Unique Sussex archives brought to life in new book

* 5 November 2002 *

Unique Sussex archives brought to life in new book

The unique archives and collections held at the University of Sussex library are brought vividly to life in a highly illustrated book to be launched next week.

The collections featured in Poets and Polymaths range from the Bloomsbury archives, including the papers of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, to the New Statesman archives, the Rudyard Kipling papers and the Frank Muir and Denis Norden collection of radio scripts.

The library also holds the Mass-Observation Archive, a unique sample of public opinion and experience spanning 1937 to the mid-1950s and from 1981 to the present day.

"The collections offer glimpses into the life stories of real people, from the most junior diarist writing for Mass-Observation to the most eminent literary figures," says Dorothy Sheridan, head of special collections. "Our aim is to present these collections in a creative and interesting way to enhance and inspire academic research use."

"I have tried to usher the personalities behind these special collections to the fore," adds Neil Parkinson, who compiled and edited the book.

Many of the collections owe their location at Sussex to Lord Asa Briggs, who was Vice-Chancellor from 1967 to 1976. "Historians depend on archives, written and oral, and how to interpret them is one of their major tasks," says Lord Briggs in his foreword to the book. "I like to feel that scholars, young and old, will continue to come to Sussex because it is a very special place on the historical map."

Visitors to the University of Sussex library come from all over the world, with the Bloomsbury collections of particular interest to visitors from North America and Europe and the Kipling papers to those from the Indian sub-continent.

Poets and Polymaths is launched on 14 November. The project was funded by a Research Support Libraries Programme award.

* Notes for editors *

Press Office contacts:
Peter Simmons or Alison Field,
University of Sussex,
Tel. 01273 678888,
Fax 01273 877456,
email or

Neil Parkinson can be contacted on 020 7373 5226.
Dorothy Sheridan can be contacted on 01273 873489.

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