NEW

Taking another look

‘That’s where the difficulty is, over there’ From the years following the First World War up until the mid-1950s, although he was often abroad Edmund Blunden was at the heart of literary England, repeatedly called on to edit, comment, review, introduce, endorse. He...

Words for Music by Diana McVeagh

In this blog post, Diana McVeagh, author and editor, describes the partnership between Blunden and Finzi, one the wordsmith and the other the composer. Her book, Gerald Finzi’s Letters, contains copies of their correspondence. We are delighted to offer readers her...

Painting Blunden’s Last Home

In 1964, after eleven years of living and teaching in Hong Kong, Edmund Blunden and his family moved back to England. Edmund’s eldest daughter by his first marriage, Clare, lived in the county of Suffolk, and she helped him to find the new family home, near to her in...

NEW

Taking another look

‘That’s where the difficulty is, over there’ From the years following the First World War up until the mid-1950s, although he was often abroad Edmund Blunden was at the heart of literary England, repeatedly called on to edit, comment, review, introduce, endorse. He...

Words for Music by Diana McVeagh

In this blog post, Diana McVeagh, author and editor, describes the partnership between Blunden and Finzi, one the wordsmith and the other the composer. Her book, Gerald Finzi’s Letters, contains copies of their correspondence. We are delighted to offer readers her...

Painting Blunden’s Last Home

In 1964, after eleven years of living and teaching in Hong Kong, Edmund Blunden and his family moved back to England. Edmund’s eldest daughter by his first marriage, Clare, lived in the county of Suffolk, and she helped him to find the new family home, near to her in...

Archives

His life in Hong Kong was typically no less busy, despite the distance from home. The family had now increased to a total of four daughters: Margaret in 1946, Lucy (1948), Frances (1950) Catherine (1956). From Hong Kong he visited China twice, both times meeting the prime minister, Chou En Lai. He was constantly surrounded by people and memories of the past. The Hong Kong house was always full of students, friends and literary personalities passing through. He made several return visits to England from where he would tour the battlefields of Flanders, visit his old friend Siegfried Sassoon, Christ's Hospital, and his ever widening range of contacts, including lecturing and taking part in literary occasions. In 1956 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and in 1957 his 'Poems of Many Years' was published, selected and arranged by his long term publisher, Rupert Hart Davis. In 1958 he was created 'Companion of Literature' and wrote 'War Poets 1914-18'. In 1962 he published 'A Hong Kong House', his last major volume of poetry. In 1964 at the age of 67 he retired and returned to England. The family settled in Long Melford, Suffolk, and initially a busy life took shape in the form of talks and lectures, articles and the publication of what would be his final poems. New friendships were also made, one such was with the poet Vernon Scannell. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1966. His final poem 'Ancre Sunshine' was written in 1966 on the fiftieth anniversary of the attack on Beaumont Hamel, and illustrates how the Great War haunted him to the end of his life. The year 1967 brought the death of Siegfried Sassoon, and with that the rapid demise of his own health. He resigned his professorship, and put down his pen. Edmund Blunden died on January 20 1974. Private Beeney, his runner at Ypres and Paschendaele attended his funeral, placing a wreath of Flanders poppies in his grave.

This page details the archive collections and the resources they contain for those interested in researching Blunden further. The main collections of Blunden’s manuscripts, books, correspondence and papers are listed, but there is some correspondence with other literary papers, for example, with Eddie Marsh in the New York Public Library. 

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive

http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/blunden

This archive draws in items from various collections and shows manuscript versions of Blunden’s poems, photographs etc. 

Columbia University Libraries: Rare Book and Manuscript Library

https://library.columbia.edu/libraries/rbml.html 

Ms Collection\Blunden, Edmund Blunden Papers, 1922-1986

Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, photographs and printed material documenting his personal and professional activity. Blunden’s letters to his second wife, Sylva Norman, and his secretary, Aki Hayashi, are particularly well represented. Also included are many letters addressed to Blunden by eminent literary figures such as John Betjeman, George Orwell, Siegfried Sassoon, Stephen Spender, and Henry Williamson. Other literary correspondents are Adrian Bell, Joyce Cary, Richard Church, C. Day Lewis, Walter de la Mare, Graham Greene, H.D., William Plomer, Kathleen Raine, and Leonard Woolf. A substantial portion of the catalogued correspondence contains drawings, verse fragments and poems by Blunden which have been analysed. Also present are eleven of Blunden’s diaries, 1936-1967, which contain drafts of a number of poems. In addition, the collection contains a small number of autograph manuscripts of Blunden’s literary works. Blunden’s copy of Undertones of War is catalogued for the Rare Book collection.

 

Imperial War Museum, London

https://library.columbia.edu/libraries/rbml.html 

Ms Collection\Blunden, Edmund Blunden Papers, 1922-1986

Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, photographs and printed material documenting his personal and professional activity. Blunden’s letters to his second wife, Sylva Norman, and his secretary, Aki Hayashi, are particularly well represented. Also included are many letters addressed to Blunden by eminent literary figures such as John Betjeman, George Orwell, Siegfried Sassoon, Stephen Spender, and Henry Williamson. Other literary correspondents are Adrian Bell, Joyce Cary, Richard Church, C. Day Lewis, Walter de la Mare, Graham Greene, H.D., William Plomer, Kathleen Raine, and Leonard Woolf. A substantial portion of the catalogued correspondence contains drawings, verse fragments and poems by Blunden which have been analysed. Also present are eleven of Blunden’s diaries, 1936-1967, which contain drafts of a number of poems. In addition, the collection contains a small number of autograph manuscripts of Blunden’s literary works. Blunden’s copy of Undertones of War is catalogued for the Rare Book collection.

New York Public Library: Berg Collection

https://www.nypl.org/about/divisions/berg-collection-english-and-american-literature 

Correspondence within collections of papers from his contemporaries and friends e.g. Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon. Also Blunden and Sassoon’s annotated copy of Graves’s Goodbye to All That.

Ohio University: Alden Library

https://www.ohio.edu/library/

The Edmund Blunden Collection is an extensive library collected by Blunden and focused on British literature and arts and letters, many of which are annotated. There is also a small collection (4 folders) of letters, poems and writings, ID no: MSS409. There is an interesting view of the collection here:

Pierpont Morgan Library, NY

https://www.themorgan.org/

There are letters from Blunden as well as Kenneth Lohf’s donation of his printed books.

University of Iowa Libraries: Special Collections

https://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc/ 

MsC 829, Edmund Blunden Papers, c.1918-1982.

This includes correspondence, essays, photographs, reviews and lectures. There is also a collection of Blunden’s books and pamphlets.

University of Oxford: Bodleian Library

https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/#/

The main collection is Edmund Blunden’s family papers:

https://archives.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/repositories/2/resources/3665

Separately indexed:

  1. MS. Don. c. 2 – Autograph fair copy of Edmund Blunden, ‘Elegy of his majesty King George V’, Jan 1936.
  2. MS. Don. d. 52 – Manuscript copy of Clark Lecture by Edmund Blunden, ‘Charles Lamb and his contemporaries’, 1932.
  3. MS. Don. d. 173 – Letters (48) and notes from Edmund Blunden to W.G. Bebbington, 1938-1968.
  4. MS. Eng. c. 2048 – Letters from Edmund Blunden to John and Marjorie Buxton, 1939-1967.
  5. MS. Eng. c. 3216, fols. 70-96 – Letters from Edmund Blunden to H.J. Massingham, c.1919-1949.
  6. MS. Eng. c. 8375, fols. 1-9 – Letters (8) from Edmund Blunden to Prof. James Sutherland, 1940s.
  7. MSS. Eng. lett. c. 410; MS. Facs. b. 83 – Letters from Edmund Blunden to A.H. Buck, 1917-1967 
  8. MS. Eng. lett. d. 513/2, fols. 255-263 – Correspondence between Norman Ault and Edmund Blunden, 1937.
  9. MS. Eng. poet. d. 187, fols. 1-20 – Edmund Blunden autograph fair copy of George Herbert’s Latin poems, 1934 and autograph copy of ‘Mr Charles, of Hull’, 1931.
  10. MSS. Sidgwick and Jackson, 46-80 – Publishers’ letters, 1919-1937 [various].
  11. MS. 6492 – Poems and letters of Edmund Blunden, 1916-1990.
  12. MS. 6493 – Letters to Edmund Blunden, 1945-1957.
  13. MS. 12282/10 – Letters from Edmund Blunden to Harold Owen, 1957-1964.
  14. MS. 12282/33 – Letters from Edmund Blunden to Susan Owen, 1930-1938; and two to Harold Owen, 1939.

The Bodleian Rare Books collection also holds the ‘Blunden family collection’ of books with inscriptions and annotations.

University of Texas at Austin: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library

https://www.hrc.utexas.edu/ 

Manuscript Collection MS-0426 – Edmund Blunden Papers, 1909-1970.

This is a collection of 95 boxes, in which nearly all of Blunden’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction is represented, together with extensive correspondence with e.g. Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Hart-Davis, Sylva Norman and A.D. Peters.