RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 113/2
TitleJournals and notebooks
DescriptionThere are several parts to Rowse's famous 'diary'; it is not a straightforward manuscript, or even a straightforward diary. He began it when he was a schoolboy, and numbered each volume sequentially. However, after volume 24 he discontinued this sequence. Later he claimed to have destroyed all items prior to volume 15, which he renumbered no 1. However, at least two items survive from this cull, volumes x (27 Dec 1920-2 May 1921) and xiii (18 Dec 1921-Easter Day 1922).

The main sequence then starts with volume 1 (old style vol xv) on 20 Sep 1922. These continue in school exercise books until 14 Sep 1925. There is then a volume missing, which Rowse explains in his list as due to illness. The run then recommences on 15 Sep 1926 and continues through to Mar and Apr 1927. It appears that when travelling abroad, Rowse left his journal behind and began a new volume. Thus there is a separate 1927 volume for Germany. The next volume is described as 'Spring 1929 + 1930-1-2-3 1934-5' [1929-1935].

Rowse states in a 1963 note that 'from 1931 I kept my diary very infrequently - all my spare time devoted to P.F. - Nothing about it in the diary! reveals how little it concerned my inner life'. There is patchy coverage through the thirties, contained in a single volume and on about fifty loose sheets, and even patchier coverage for the forties, and only in Dec 1952 does the main run begin again properly. Thereafter about twenty volumes cover the period to July 1973, when Rowse seems purposefully to have stopped writing. Later entries were written on an ad hoc basis, and not added to the run of dummy books in which the main journal is written.

In addition to the main run of the journal, there are typescript copies of the whole run and revised excerpts, dozens of small notebooks which Rowse carried with him and which he used to help him write the journal, and calendars and engagement books.
Access StatusOpen
Creator_NameRowse; Alfred Leslie; 1903-1997; historian, poet, diarist, biographer and critic
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