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Ref No EUL MS 113
Repository Special Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Date c 1920-1997
Title Papers of A L Rowse: research, literary and personal manuscripts
Extent 300-400 boxes approx
Creator Name Rowse; Alfred Leslie (1903-1997); historian, critic and author
Admin History Alfred Leslie Rowse (1903-1997), historian, poet, diarist, biographer and critic, was born in Tregonissey near St. Austell, Cornwall, to Dick Rowse (china-clay worker) and Annie Vaston. He attended St. Austell grammar school and won a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, gaining a first class honours degree in history in 1925 when he was also elected Fellow of All Souls, Oxford (the first man from a working-class background to do so). It was during this period that he established so many of the social contacts with academic, political and literary circles within which he was to move for the remainder of his life. He stood unsuccessfully for parliament at Penryn and Falmouth in 1931 and 1935. He became Sub-Warden of the All Souls but was defeated in his election as Warden in 1952, shortly after which he retired to Trenarren, his Cornish home, for the remainder of his life.

He began to publish relatively late in life, with his first commercial full-length historical monograph 'Sir Richard Grenville of the Revenge' being published in 1937. 'Tudor Cornwall' (1941) further strengthened his reputation and readership. He produced a tremendous output of works on both history and Shakespeare between the 1950s and 1980s, and published 65 of his 105 books after the age of 65.

He was awarded an Honorary doctorate by the University of Exeter in 1960, was elected to Athenaeum under Rule II in 1972, received the Benson Medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1982 and was made a Companion of Honour in 1996, a year before his death in 1997.
Description Manuscripts (literary and historical): Rowse wrote his books in longhand, so copies of many drafts survive. Also held are manuscripts, typescripts and proofs of various published and unpublished works including articles, poetry, short stories, memoirs, research materials, lecture notes and autobiographical material.

Additional papers, including manuscript and typescript journals, 1970s-1980s and undated, as well as manuscript notes in the style of 'Private Lives' on Nancy Astor, David Mathew, Gervase Mathew and R W Ketton-Cremer were added to the collection in 2006 (EUL MS 113 add.2)

Journals and notebooks: Rowse kept these from childhood at sporadic intervals throughout his life, with particularly intense periods of writing from the 1950s to early 1970s. There are also typescript copies of the run of journals and excerpts, calendars and engagement books and personal notebooks.

Correspondence: Rowse was a dedicated correspondent and exchanged letters with an extensive range of people. He also arranged occasionally to have his own letters returned, so often both sides of the correspondence are available for consultation.

Further correspondence in the form of a letter from Rowse to Mrs Rita Tregellas Pope relating to the death of mutual friend Paul Smales, Cornish activist and lawyer was added to the collection in 2004.

Lecture notes: these are currently unsorted.

Pamphlets: these are currently unsorted.

Personalia: these are currently unsorted.
Arrangement The collection is arranged according to the following sub-fonds:

EUL MS 113/1 manuscripts (literary and historical)
EUL MS 113/2 journals and notebooks
EUL MS 113/3 correspondence
EUL MS 113/4 lecture notes
EUL MS 113/5 pamphlets
EUL MS 113/6 personalia

This arrangement is loosely based on Rowse's own description of the papers in 1981. It is anticipated that further sub-fonds may be added as cataloguing progresses. Part of the collection was partly sorted during Ollard's research on the collection.
Access Conditions Usual EUL arrangements apply. Please make enquiries well in advance of any visit if you intend to consult unlisted items from the collection.
Copyright
Language English
Finding Aids Listed. Part listed only (a rough handlist is available for journals and some of the manuscripts, by Ian Mortimer, Archivist, 2003; revised by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 2006. The 'Private Lives' were indexed by Charlotte Berry, Jul 2004). Large parts of the personal correspondence and manuscripts sections of the collection remain indexed by name but not listed, together with lecture notes, pamphlets and personalia: please enquire with the archivist well in advance of any visit to access the collection.

 

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