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Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters

The Location Register has become established as a standard reference source for the study of English literature. It includes information about the manuscript holdings of British and Irish repositories of all sizes, from the British Library to small-town museums, and about literary authors of all genres, from major poets to minor science fiction writers and romantic novelists. Enid Blyton, Marie Corelli and Ruby M. Ayres are included in the same way as Doris Lessing, Dorothy M. Richardson and Virginia Woolf.

The Location Register has been regularly supported in its research by the British Academy, and since 2003 has been recognised with the status of Academy Research Project (ARP).

The original Location Register

The original Location Register of 20th-century English literary manuscripts and letters was published in two large volumes by the British Library in 1988. This was followed in 1995 by the publication, also by the British Library, of Location Register of English literary manuscripts and letters: 18th and 19th centuries. The printed volumes, edited by Dr David Sutton, won a number of awards, and led the Royal Society of Literature to present Dr Sutton in 2002 with its Benson Medal for outstanding services to literature. In 2006 he was named 'Archivist of the Year' by the Scone Foundation of New York, and in 2012 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Searching the Location Register and its supplement

The printed volumes, however, are now quite seriously out of date. From 1998 to 2003 work was conducted on a Supplement and revision of the 20th-century data, and the new version was made available here on the University of Reading website, with the helpful alias of

Searching the Register enables researchers to access a database which includes all of the 20th-century literary material, combining updated versions of the records published in 1988 with all the new records in the database added since 1998.

Updating the Location Register

Major modern literary collections have continued to arrive in British and Irish institutions since 2003, and a further full updating of the Location Register began in 2011. Funding was received from the Strachey Trust, the British Academy, the Arts Council of England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust for a new research project covering a wider range of authors, including authors born as recently as the 1980s. From late 2010, the Location Register database is live once again and its contents will be amended and extended each week during the period of new research from 2011 to 2022.

Names of included authors

The authors included in the new Location Register are listed, with brief biographical and archival details, in a file entitled The names of modern British and Irish literature (PDF). The research on The Names was funded by the Arts Council and the most recent version of the document (over 200 pages) can be accessed here.

Further information

All enquiries, including information about recent manuscript accessions, should be directed to David Sutton.