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University of Sussex Special Collections

Brief History

The University of Sussex holds a number of internationally acclaimed archival, manuscript and rare book collections, mostly relating to twentieth-century literary, political and social history. Our special collections include the papers of Rudyard Kipling, the New Statesman Archive, a series of collections relating to the Bloomsbury Group, including the Monks House Papers (Virginia Woolf), the Mass-Observation Archive and over 100 other manuscript collections. We also hold the University’s own archival and administrative records.
Special Collections was established in 2000 bringing together the administration of the University’s manuscript and rare book collections with the Mass Observation Archive and is currently housed in the University of Sussex Library. Special Collections will move to The Keep, a historical resource centre which will house the University’s collections alongside the archives of East Sussex Records Office and Brighton & Hove Museums. The Keep is due to open for research in late 2013.


  • Bartlett Papers: William Walter Bartlett was an active socialist from the late 1880s until about 1910. He was a speaker for the Independent Labour Party and for the English Land Restoration League, and stood in elections to the St. Pancras Board of Guardians, the London County Council, Brighton Borough Council and an unidentified urban district council; he also wrote an appreciation of Tom Paine.
  • The Common Wealth Party Archive & associated papers: Papers and records relating to the Common Wealth Party; personal papers of founders Sir Richard Acland and Hugh Lawson. Papers of Kathleen Allsop & Catherine Williamson.
  • The New Statesman Archive: Spanning the years 1944 to 1988, the New Statesman Archive records in minute detail the magazine’s affairs, its conduct with politicians and thinkers of the day, and its correspondence with contributors and critics.
  • The Leonard Woolf Papers: The papers of Leonard Sidney Woolf (1880-1969) amply demonstrate his many interests and professional concerns, both in conjunction with wife Virginia and in his own career as author, publisher and political worker. All phases of Woolf’s work as novelist, journalist, editor and publisher are represented. 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.

Contact Details

Tel : 01273 678157
Web :
Link for OPAC :

Opening Times

Monday – Thursday 09.15-17.00.


Free admission.


Nearest train station is Falmer. Buses and taxis available from Brighton & Lewes.

Access Details

Full disabled access.