George Orwell Collection of Political Pamphlets

Red and black printed illustration of an industrial factory with the book's title, 'The Industrial Worker's Guide to his Rights and Duties' at the top and the author's name, H. Samuels, M.A. Barrister at law, beneath.
George Orwell's copy of 'The Industrial Worker's Guide to His Rights and Duties' by H. Samuels, M.A., Barrister-at-Law. Printed by Sir I. Pitman & Sons, 1944. British Library shelfmark We believe the above image is free from copyright restrictions. If you believe you are the copyright owner please contact

A collection of Political Pamphlets previously owned by George Orwell

About the collection

This collection comprises over 2,700 items collected by George Orwell between the mid-1930s and the mid-1940s. There about 2,500 pamphlets which range in political themes from Trotskyist, anarchist, pacifist and also fascist. Authors include Vera Brittain, Fenner Brockway, Leon Trotsky, Emma Goldman and Mahatma Gandhi. Many of the pamphlets include handwritten annotations and some, such as An Outline of Political Geography, are signed by George Orwell himself. There are also a number of pamphlets relating to the Spanish Civil War which reference Orwell’s participation in the conflict. These items provide an insight into Orwell’s politics and writing as he considered himself a kind of ‘pamphleteer’.

The collection also features other important British wartime ephemera such as newspaper cuttings, maps, and government propaganda posters. More light-hearted additions to the collection include items such as McGlennon’s Victory Chorus Book, a playbill for Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, a catalogue of sculpture by Jacob Epstein, and a programme for the film of H G Well’s Kipps.

What is available online?

The British Library’s Discovering Literature space includes several essays about Orwell and his collection:

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

The pamphlets are available for consultation in our Reading Rooms. For help requesting items please contact the Rare Books Reference Service 

The collection is not yet fully catalogued. Printed Heritage Collections have an ongoing project to catalogue each item in the Orwell Collection.

What is available in other organisations?

The UCL Special Collections Library holds extensive material relating to George Orwell some of which is available on the British Library website, for example his wartime political diary

The Marx Memorial Library’s Spanish Collection comprises archives relating to the International Brigade, the Spanish Civil War and the Aid Spain Movement in Britain. It is the most significant of its kind in the UK. 

For more political pamphlets during the Second World War period, see:

Further information

Further information about George Orwell’s Collection of Political Pamphlets can be found in the Catalogue of collection, typescript and hand annotation by George Orwell and Siriol Hugh-Jones at shelfmark, and the Classified list of Orwell Pamphlets by Peter Davison at shelfmark