Document ReferenceFor
TitlePapers associated with D.H. Lawrence collected by W. Forster, bookseller and Lawrence collector, 1933-1997
ExtentAbout 40 boxes
AbstractThe collection contains papers of W. Forster (1914-1997), bookseller and dedicated D.H. Lawrence collector. It includes correspondence, catalogues and other papers relating to Forster's own activity as Lawrence collector and bookseller. In addition to this are items of specific D.H. Lawrence interest, including contemporary correspondence, literary papers, ephemera and an extensive group of newsprint cuttings.
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryW. Forster (1914-1997), known as 'Bob', was a London bookseller and prodigious D.H. Lawrence collector. He was born Vladimir Voronin in Moscow, August 1914. Forster came to London in 1921 where he was brought up by his maternal grandmother, Lily Forster, adopting her surname. He went to primary school in Essex and then on to Maldon Grammar School, leaving at age 14 to pursue a variety of occupations before joining his uncle's firm, Orion Booksellers, in 1942. In 1952, he began dealing in books from 83a Stamford Hill, London, specialising in bibliographical works.

Forster first became interested in Lawrence in the post-war period, after reading about the suppression of 'The White Peacock'. His personal enthusiasm for Lawrence and his wide bibliographical knowledge and contacts enabled him to build up an impressive specialised stock of Lawrence materials, alongside his other more general holdings. His collecting was not restricted to the primary editions, but extended to a wide range of printed material relating to Lawrence, including criticism, pamphlets, journals, reviews, and newspaper cuttings; in addition, Forster collected ephemeral material, such as theatre programmes, posters, photographs, leaflets and artworks. Following his death, his collection was sold at Bloomsbury Book Auctions.

Bob Forster's association with The University of Nottingham began in 1960 when he was among those who lent material for the first major Lawrence exhibition held at the University. In subsequent years he and his wife, Eileen, visited the University on a number of occasions, particularly in connection with the activities of the D.H. Lawrence Research Centre.
Custodial HistoryForster's extensive Lawrence newsprint collection was given to the University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections in early 1998. The bulk of the collection was purchased by the University later that year. This acquisition included extensive runs of printed material, primarily periodical literature. These publications have supplemented the Department's special collection of Lawrence literature and its general literature holdings.
DescriptionW. Forster's D.H. Lawrence collection was, after his death, sold at auction and consequently was split and widely dispersed. The items now held by the University of Nottingham are a small fraction of his personal collection, which originally included Lawrence manuscripts and correspondence alongside a significant printed collection. The present Forster collection contains a wide range of papers, reflecting Forster's activity both as a bookseller and as a dedicated D.H. Lawrence collector. A small number of items relate to Forster's more general bibliographical interests. There is, in particular, a small file concerning Richard Aldington, another author whose work was collected by Forster.

The first series of papers (For F) is made up of Forster's own working papers. This series contains his correspondence on Lawrence matters with fellow Lawrence enthusiasts and other booksellers. Also present are booksellers' catalogues, auction catalogues, invoices for Lawrence purchases by Forster and issues of his own sale lists, advertising for sale numerous Lawrence works as well as related volumes, periodicals, pamphlets and items of ephemeral interest. In addition there are papers relating to his membership of Lawrence societies and items concerning the Cambridge University Press edition of the letters and works of D.H. Lawrence, mainly given to Forster by the Lawrencian scholar Keith Sagar.

The second series comprises papers specifically about D.H. Lawrence (For L). Although few original manuscripts are present, the group does contain a set of proofs for the book of poetry entitled 'Bay' and a typescript of Lawrence's volume of poetry entitled Pansies, containing a foreword, unknown and unpublished prior to Forster's acquisition of the typescript. Also present are letters of a number of Lawrence's contemporaries, including Catherine Carswell, Helen Corke, Frieda Lawrence, Ernest Collings, Norman Douglas and Martin Secker, as well as a group of over 30 photographs of and relating to Lawrence.

More recent items within this series include papers relating to stage, television, film and radio productions of works by Lawrence, including posters, photographic stills, programmes and handbills. Publishers' publicity material, dating back to a pamphlet produced by Thomas Seltzer in 1922, trace the reception of Lawrence's works. Similarly, artistic interpretations of Lawrence and his works, papers relating to conferences, festivals, exhibitions and courses, critical works, biographical papers and ephemera, including commemorative items such as a bottle of 'D.H. Lawrence Special Ale', all reveal the continuing significance of Lawrence, both in academic research and popular culture.

A final series is made up entirely of newspaper and magazine cuttings (For N). These include an extensive group of cuttings acquired through Forster's subscription to newsclippings services together with miscellaneous cuttings and newspapers collected by and given to Forster in the course of his Lawrence collecting. These cuttings range from the early 1960s to the 1990s and record news coverage on Lawrence from all over the world.

Extensive runs of periodical and pamphlet literature, rich sources for early appearances of Lawrence texts and reviews, have been, where appropriate, absorbed into the D.H. Lawrence printed collections and can be searched via The University of Nottingham Library online Catalogue.
MgtGroupLiterary and cultural records
MgtSubGroupD H Lawrence
ArrangementThe Collection has been arranged into three principal groups:
For F, comprising working papers of W. Forster, which includes correspondence files, booksellers catalogues and other papers relating to Forster's bookselling and Lawrence collecting;
For L, comprising D.H. Lawrence papers, includes a small number of manuscripts, correspondence of Lawrence contemporaries and photographs, together with papers relating to productions of Lawrence's works, publishers' publicity material, artworks inspired by Lawrence, papers relating to Lawrence events, and ephemeral matter;
For N, containing extensive runs of newsprint cuttings.
TermEnglish literature - 20th century
Authors, English - 20th century
Booksellers and bookselling
Book collectors
Private libraries
FindingAidsCopyright in all finding aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript Catalogue, 201 pp. Online: Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialThe D.H. Lawrence manuscript collection (La) and printed works collection (DHLC)
Other collections listed through The National Archives Discovery catalogue; the National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections, and in the 'Location Register of Twentieth Century English Literary Manuscripts and Letters'.
Related RecordLa

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA251Forster; W. (1914-1997); known as 'Bob'; second-hand book seller1914-1997
NA252Cambridge University Press
NA253D.H. Lawrence Society, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire
NA254D.H. Lawrence Society of North America, Delaware, U.S.A.
NA255D.H. Lawrence Society London Group
NA42Lawrence; D.H. (1885-1930); David Herbert; writer1885-1930
NA256Aldington; Richard (1892-1962); novelist and biographer1892-1962
NA257Corke; Helen (1882-1978); teacher at Croydon1882-1978
NA169Lawrence; Frieda (1879-1956); née von Richthofen; married Ernest Weekley 1899 D.H. Lawrence 1914 Antonio Ravagli 19501879-1956
NA166Carswell; Catherine Roxburgh (1879-1946); née MacFarlane; novelist and journalist1879-1946
NA258Collings; Ernest H.R. (1882-1932); artist and illustrator1882-1932
NA259Secker; Martin (1882-1978); publisher1882-1978
NA260Seltzer; Thomas (1875-1943); journalist translator and publisher1875-1943
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