Briggs, Asa (1921-2016)

The Asa Briggs collection consists of subject files, professional material, printed material, correspondence, manuscripts, financial material, notebooks, memorabilia, and other items.

The collection primarily consists of numerous research files containing various kinds of material arranged into subjects and topics by Briggs.  The files contain (in varying amounts for each file) research material, printed material, reports, schedules, business cards, notebooks, photographs, manuscripts by Briggs, manuscripts by others, and other material.  Most of the files pertain to British history (especially economic history; media and communications, including radio, television, and publishing; education; politics and political figures; and art, architecture, and other various topics.  These topics include research material regarding the social history of Britain (1984); Broadcasting and the BBC (1979-1995); Modern Europe (1996-2003); and the Longman publishing company (2008), among other subjects.

Professional material includes minutes from meetings and various committee reports that Briggs was involved with, as well as schedules for meetings, conferences, and engagement books; meeting minutes; curriculum vitae; notes concerning various conferences and symposia; and other items. The series also includes files regarding professional or charitable organization and publications.  There are files of applications to the Press Council, reviewed by Briggs; House of Lords Reports from 1946-2006; reports from the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem; and a report from the Commission on the Year 2000. 

Printed material includes runs of standard magazines including Nursing TimesTIME magazine, The House MagazineThe Parliamentary WeeklyParliamentary MonitorChina NowPunchPictorial KnowledgeThe Radio TimesThe Sunday Times MagazineThe Listener, and New Society. There are also files of newsletters and bulletins, programs, journals, brochures and pamphlets.  Briggs also saved files of newspaper and magazine clippings, sometimes full articles from various publications.  Again, they cover a broad range of interests including the British economy, food and drink, and reviews of books written by Briggs.  There are also some short pieces by Briggs in printed form.  They include six essays and articles for periodicals (1954-1990), three articles for magazines (1974; 2000), twenty-six miscellaneous essays, reviews, and speeches (1949-1979).    

Correspondence in the collection is extensive.  It includes both personal and professional letters from a number of authors, historians, political scientists, economists, broadcasters, politicians, and others, dating from the 1930s through 2013.  Notable correspondents include Richard Attenborough (actor, film-maker), Quentin Bell (author, son of Clive Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf), Peter Benenson (Founder of Amnesty International), Michael Caine (actor), Christina Foyle (bookseller, owner of Foyle’s Bookstore in London), Martha Gellhorn (journalist), Ernest Gombrich (author and art historian), Edward Heath (former Prime Minister), Elizabeth Longford (biographer), Peter Pears (opera singer), Tom Stoppard (playwright), Rosalyn Tureck (classical pianist), Leonard Woolf (husband of Virginia Woolf), and many others.

Manuscript material includes both short and book-length writings by Briggs.  Short pieces include lectures, speeches, reviews, essays, and radio transcripts.  Books include chapter drafts for various volumes, including Sound and Vision, The BBC: The First Fifty Years, Governing BBC, A Social History of England, Victorian Cities, The History of Broadcasting in the United KingdomThomas Moore; From Gutenberg to the Internet; The History of Birmingham;  A History of Longman and Their Books, 1774-1990: Longevity in Publishing; Michael Young: Social Entrepreneur; William Morris; The Age of Improvement; Go To It; Henry Hunt and the Evolution of the Mass Platform; Marks and Spencer: A History; Karl Marx: the Legacy; Marx in London; The Power of Steam; Toynbee Hall: the First Hundred Years; A Social History of England; Our Island Occupied; Victorian Things (galley proofs); A History of the Royal College of Physicians of London: Volume IV (editor's proof); A History of the University in Europe: Volume II; Our Island Heritage (proofs); Essays in the History of Publishing: A Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the House of Longman; and The Pride and Perils of Longevity: A History of Longman Publishers, and Their Books (1724-1994).  Some manuscripts are unidentified fragments or chapters of unidentified works.

Financial material in the collection consists of financial reports from 1985 to 2012, financial statements from 1968 to 2012, and invoices from 1972 to 2009, among other items.

Notebooks in the collection include composition books from the Keighley Boys’ Grammar School, with handwritten notes by Briggs, along with other various notebooks.

Memorabilia in the collection includes a button from The Trevor Baker All-Weather Show; an architectural drawing; a report card for Katharine Briggs; and a marionette cross, among other items.

Other material in the collection includes audio cassettes of various lectures and speeches; several reel-to-reel recordings; a number of compact discs related to education conferences and programs; a number of VHS video cassettes in which Briggs is featured; and legal material.

In addition to the material described above, many published volumes authored by Asa Briggs are present in our book collection.

The acquisition of the Asa Briggs Collection is supported in part by the Gladys W. and Paul C. Richards Fund.

Notable Figures
1. Briggs, Asa, 1921-2016
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. History and Biography Subject Guide