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The Orwell Archive

The George Orwell Archive is the most comprehensive body of research material relating to the author George Orwell (Eric Blair) (1903-1950) anywhere.

Browse the Orwell Archive

Manuscripts, notebooks and personalia of George Orwell were presented in 1960 on permanent loan by his widow on behalf of the George Orwell Archive Trust, supplemented by donations and purchases. The aim of the Trustees of the Archive was to make a research centre for Orwell studies, by bringing together all [Orwell's] printed works, including newspaper items; private correspondence; other private papers in the possession of his widow; printed matter other than his own which will help later generations to understand the controversies in which he was involved; and tape recordings or written statements by all with first hand experience of him of any consequence.

The collection

Collection descriptions

Manuscripts and typescripts (Orwell/A)

Manuscripts and typescripts of George Orwell and related material, 1917-1959, including early unpublished material such as short stories, plays and poems.


Literary notebooks (Orwell/B)

Literary notebooks, 1939-[1949], of George Orwell, comprising notebook 1939-1947 containing notes for 'The quick and the dead' and 'The last man in Europe'; notebook [1947-1948]; notebook [1949].


Spanish Civil War material (Orwell/C)

Spanish Civil War material, 1936-1939, of George Orwell, including an exercise book containing Orwell's notes and extracts from the 'Daily Worker' and the 'News Chronicle', 1936-1937; press cuttings on Spain from various newspapers including some French newspapers, 1937-1939; travel documents, 1937-1938, including a medical certificate, issued safe passages, and a customs declaration; printed material, 1937-1939, including press statements issued by the Independent Labour Party (ILP), catalogue for Spanish exhibition, handbills advertising appeals for aid to Spain and a Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) protest meeting; press cuttings from the 'Manchester Guardian' of letters concerning the POUM trial, 1938.


General notebooks (Orwell/D)

General notebooks of George Orwell, 1943-[1950], comprising payment notebook, 1943-1945, with list of articles and payment received; pamphlet notebook [1945-1946], containing classified index to pamphlet collection; essay notebook [1947-1949], containing index of reprintable essays; notebook [1949], containing alphabetical list of names with comments; address book [1950].


Political diaries (Orwell/E)

Political diaries, 1938-1942, of George Orwell, comprising typescript diary, 1938-1939, of time spent in Gibraltar, Tangier, Marrakech, and at the Villa Simont; manuscript diary, 1939, of events leading up to World War Two; typescript war diary, 1940-1941; manuscript and typescript copies of war diary, 1942, the manuscript version with a few newscuttings and the typescript version with a few additional entries.


Domestic diaries (Orwell/F)

Domestic diaries, 1938-1940, 1946-1948, of George Orwell, comprising five manuscript diaries, dated 1938-1939, 1939-1940, 1946-1947, 1947, and 1947-1948, some with a few newscuttings. The diaries cover the time Orwell spent in Gibraltar, Tangier and Marrakech, and later in London, Edinburgh and the island of Jura, Scotland, commenting on the weather, vegetation and day to day activities.


Letters from Orwell (Orwell/G)

Original letters, 1911-1949, from George Orwell, comprising letters about his literary activities and political views, and letters to family and friends. Recipients include Alex Comfort, Cyril Connolly, Tosco Fyvel, Rayner Heppenstall, Dwight Macdonald, Max Plowman, Sir Herbert Read, Sir Richard Rees, Sir Steven Runciman, and Fredric John Warburg (Chairman of Secker & Warburg Ltd, publishers). 


Personalia and ephemera (Orwell/J)

Personalia, 1903-1971, of George Orwell, including certified copies of baptism (1903), marriage to Sonia Mary Brownell (1949), and death (1950); personal items, 1933-1950, including Independent Labour Party membership card [1938], National Service Registration card and Medical Grade card, 1941; biographical data, 1922-1971, being photocopies of records from the India Office (Judicial and Public file, 6079) relating to Orwell's service in the Indian Imperial Police; personal papers relating to visit to Morocco, 1938, including registration certificates issued to Orwell and his first wife, Eileen, by the British Consulate, Marrakesh, and by the Moroccan authorities, 1938; printed travel guides to Gibraltar, Tangier, Marrakesh and the Atlas mountains [1938]; voyage papers from Morocco visit, 1938-1939; photographs and postcards of Morocco visit [1938-1939]; manuscript of radio talk 'Some books' by E M Forster, broadcast on 19 August 1942 in the Far Eastern Service of the BBC; miscellaneous items [1936-1950], including notes, Christmas cards, luncheon menus, and press-cuttings.


Photograph collection (Orwell/T)

Photographs by various photographers, 1893-1984 and undated, relating to George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair), comprising a mixture of original prints, and prints copied from various sources. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs of Orwell himself, 1903-1945, at home and at work, including some at the Hawthorns (Hayes) and at the BBC. The collection also includes photographs of his family, including his parents, Ida and Richard, and their home in Southwold, his sisters, Marjorie and Avril, his first wife Eileen, their son Richard, and his second wife Sonia; friends and acquaintances; his homes, including Canonbury, Notting Hill Gate, Wallington and Jura; places he visited, including Burma, Spain and Morocco; his signatures; his grave; and a commemorative plaque at Hayes.


Orwell Journalism

The Archive has a collection of almost all Orwell's known published articles, in photocopy and in microfiche form. They are classified by the title of the journal, newspaper or other publication in which they appeared.


Orwell book and printed material collection

The Orwell collection consists of rare and early editions of Orwell’s works, translations of his works into other languages, books from his own library and reference material. It complements the Orwell Archive.