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Overview of the year’s main achievements

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Major acquisitions

The British Library made important acquisitions in addition to the usual increase in its collections through legal deposit.

  • Mad Hatter's Tea PartyThe Library acquired the archive of the writer and artist Mervyn Peake, best known as the author of Gormenghast, for which he won the Heinemann Prize for Literature in 1951. His archive includes his Gormenghast notebooks, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass illustrations and personal correspondence, and was acquired with support from The Art Fund, Friends of the British Library, Friends of the National Libraries and individual donors.
  • Eminent writer, critic and thinker John Berger donated his archive, containing drafts of some of his most famous works such as the 1972 Booker Prize-winning novel G.
  • The Library acquired the archive of the writer and feminist thinker Eva Figes.
  • Sir John Narbrough’s naval journal was saved for the nation thanks to a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the support of Dr Bernard H Breslauer, the Gosling Foundation and other individual donors. The rare manuscript contains the account of the explorer’s voyage to South America from 1669-71.
  • An archive of 821 digital audio recordings was acquired from shellac gramophone discs held in the Berliner Lautarchiv at the Humboldt University in Berlin. It includes the oldest known collection of English dialect sound recordings in existence, which were recorded at German prisoner of war camps between 1916 and 1918.

In addition to these new acquisitions, the manuscript memoir of Russian spy Anthony Blunt was made available to Readers for the first time, after the expiry of restrictions on public access required by the donor 25 years ago.

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