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William Gerhardie: Correspondence and literary papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8292

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of around eight thousand items of correspondence and more than forty boxes of drafts, notes and other working material, personal and financial documents, press cuttings, many of them annotated, and photographs. The majority of Gerhardie's surviving literary papers date from his most productive period, from the mid-1920s to the late 1930s. His earlier and later work is less well represented. His letters include significant correspondence with fellow writers, in particular Hugh Kingsmill and Morchard Bishop (the pen-name of Oliver Stonor), both of whom wrote frequently to Gerhardie about their own lives and work. Gerhardie also corresponded at length with Katherine Mansfield and Edith Wharton, and photocopies of these letters are in the collection. There is a large set of letters to and from members of the public, prompted by Gerhardie's novels and newspaper articles. A considerable part of his writing and correspondence reflects his interest in paranormal phenomena and ideas about survival after death, and the collection provides an insight into the widespread public interest in these subjects, especially during the 1930s. Gerhardie's correspondence with his family reflects many aspects of recent European history, as his family was dispersed throughout Europe after the Russian Revolution. The First World War in Russia, the Stalinist period, and the Second World War in Britain, France and Russia are well represented in this respect.


  • 1900-1970 (circa)


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


55 archive box(es) (55 boxes (one of which is a large folder of photographs))

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Bertram Rota Ltd, 30 October 1981.

Related Materials

Cambridge University Library holds other papers relating to William Gerhardie, MSS.Add.8841 and 9598. His collection of books, some of which are annotated, is held in the Rare Books Department.


An account of Gerhardie's life can be found in Dido Davies, William Gerhardie: a biography (Oxford, 1990).
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom