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Correspondence and Papers of Helen Frances Grant (1903-1992), Lecturer in Spanish at Cambridge University, and Fellow of Girton College

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8251


  • Creation: 1926-1985

Conditions Governing Access

Letters in Section VI: General Correspondence, are restricted for fifty years.

Biographical / Historical

Helen Frances Newsome was born in Clifton in 1903. After spending some years in secretarial work, including a short spell in the employ of the author and poet Walter de la Mare, she read French and Spanish at Somerville College, Oxford, graduating in 1930. She married the economist Alec T. K. Grant in the same year.

During the 1930s, Grant combined an assistant-lectureship in Spanish at the University of Birmingham with tutorial work for Somerville and St Hilda's Colleges in Oxford. She made several visits to Spain, including one at the height of the Civil War, graphically described in Section II of these papers. On the outbreak of World War II Grant joined the Foreign Research and Press Service, based at Balliol College, Oxford. Subsequently looking for more challenging work, based in London, she transferred to the BBC's Spanish Service in 1941. The war years, and in particular Grant's time at the BBC, are well represented in this collection. Although clearly enjoying her work at Broadcasting House, Grant found it difficult to reconcile official respect for Spanish neutrality with her own dislike of the Franco regime. Her open political sympathies - she was a life-long socialist - and a very public disagreement with her superiors led to dismissal from the Corporation soon after the War ended.

Fortunately, the years at Birmingham now stood Grant in good stead. Her academic work had long been held in high regard by J. B. Trend, Fellow of Christ's College, and Professor of Spanish at Cambridge University. Trend secured her appointment to a Spanish Lectureship at Cambridge from early 1946. A Girton College Fellowship followed eight years later. Grant retired in 1971, and died in 1992.


2 archive box(es) (2 x boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The present collection was sorted and presented to the Library by Helen Grant in November 1979. The order she adopted has, wherever possible, been preserved.

Language of description
Uncoded languages
Script of description
Code for uncoded script

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom