• Title
    Sterling Library Manuscripts
  • Held at
  • Reference
  • Date
    14th century-c1991
  • Creator
    Sterling, Sir Louis Saul (1879–1958) gramophone company manager and industrialistMore Info on Creator
  • Scope and Content
    This collection mainly comprises literary manuscripts (many of them holograph), with correspondence and some other manuscript material.
  • Notes
    Sterling was an avid collector of books written in English and first began his collection in 1917. Sterling purchased the majority of books held in his collection during the 1920s and 1930s. The manuscript material in the Sterling Library is divided into pre and post 1900 manuscripts, and illustrated manuscripts. Sir Louis was a keen collector of modern manuscripts and this is reflected in the diverse range of 20th century authors represented in his collection. One would be hard pressed to find a single theme or movement which unites the authors he collected. Indeed, as with other parts of the Sterling Library the wide range of works which Sir Louis collected is one of the strengths of the collection. Many writers such as the novelists HE Bates, James Hanley and Rhys Davies whose published works Sir Louis collected were aware of Sterling's reputation as a collector of modern manuscripts, and so one often finds that the manuscript material and published works which make up the library complement each other very well. Sir Louis bought these works directly from their authors: indeed, HE Bates wrote to Sterling, offering him the opportunity to buy some of his manuscript material. This means that the 20th century manuscript material is often accompanied by a note by the author about the circumstances under which the work was written and published, letters from an author concerning the purchase of the manuscripts by Sir Louis, and even handwritten dedications from the writer to Sir Louis. The diversity of taste evidenced in the 20th century manuscripts is even more evident in the range of pre-20th century manuscripts.
  • Conditions of access
    Open for research. Access to individual items in Senate House Library archive collections may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details. At least 24 hours notice is required for research visits.
  • Extent
    123 files
  • Physical description
    Mainly MS on paper, with some printed material (e.g. newspaper cuttings)
  • Language
    English, Miscellaneous
  • System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged using the numbering system of the original Sterling Library catalogue (1954). SLV/1-34 are 'Literary Manuscripts Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries'; SLV/35-83 are 'Literary Manuscripts Twentieth Century' and SLV/84-85 are 'Musical Manuscripts'. Material relating to a particular author is grouped together (e.g. SLV/24-27 for Sir Walter Scott), with authors arranged in alphabetical order within the three categories. Additional material acquired or catalogued since 1954 has been added using the next available number. Series SLV/105 comprises letters and other items discovered in books in the Sterling Library.
  • Finding aids
    University of London Library, The Sterling Library: a catalogue of the printed books and literary manuscripts collected by Sir Louis Sterling and presented by him to the University of London, Cambridge, (1954). A pdf of the hard copy is attached to this description.
  • Related files
  • Related
    For illustrated manuscripts from within the sequence of illustrated Sterling Library books (classmarks: [S.L.] IV and [S.L.] IVa), see reference: SLIV. For papers of Sir Louis Sterling and the Sterling Library, see reference: LS. Sterling Library books are described on the main library catalogue.
  • Level of description
Share this record