Ted Hughes Collection

Ted Hughes
Ted Hughes by Fay Godwin © British Library Board

The British Library is one of the best resources in the world for studying the work of the English poet and children’s writer Ted Hughes.

About the collection

The British Library holds a special collection of Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin books and manuscripts. The manuscript archive comprises over 450 items which documents their creative relationship. The printed collection amounts to over 150 books by or about Hughes as well as books by Sylvia Plath including a rare first edition of The Bell Jar, Heinemann, 1963; (shelfmark: Hughes 21). The collection can be identified in Explore the British Library by the Hughes prefix to the shelfmark, the catalogue records have copy specific notes detailing any inscription, whether the book contains a holograph poem, illustration, or whether the book has a dust-jacket.

There are also foreign editions and translations of Hughes’ work and uncorrected proof copies. In addition to the standard editions of Hughes' works the collection also includes examples of fine press and limited editions including the Faber fine press limited edition of Crow, Faber, 1973; (shelfmark Hughes 11) and examples by the Rainbow Press and the Morrigu Press.

Hughes’ publications are entered individually in Explore the British Library.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

Printed material can be consulted in our Reading Rooms which can be found and requested using the online catalogue Explore the British Library

Manuscripts and archival material can be consulted in our Manuscripts Reading Room

To hear recordings by or about Ted Hughes search the Library's Sound and Moving Image Catalogue. To book a listening appointment please get in touch with the Listening Service listening@bl.uk , tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7418

The Library holds a number of photographs of Ted Hughes which can be viewed in the Print Room, located in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. Viewing is by appointment only, Monday-Friday. For an appointment details, please email apac-prints@bl.uk

What is available in other organisations?

The Emory Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library holds an extensive collection of books, and manuscripts by and about Ted Hughes 

The Lilly Library Manuscript Collections holds drafts, notes, and corrected page proof of 'The Hawk in the Rain' and 'Lurepcal' by Ted Hughes

The University of Victoria holds a Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath collection

Further information

How to guides

Find and request Lord Chamberlain's Plays

How to locate items in our largest single manuscript collection

Guide to researching provenance of books now in the British Library

Where do the British Library’s old printed books ‘come from'? Who owned or read them in centuries past? Why does it matter?

How to handle archives

Watch our guide and help us keep our archive material in good condition

Get a Reader Pass

Access over 200 million collection items for free with a Reader Pass. Carry out research in our Reading Rooms and access our online collections.

How to handle folded items

Find out how you should hand items like large maps and book inserts.

Guide to Explore Archives and Manuscripts

A guide to help you use the catalogue, covering: login, search, how to manage your results, how to browse the collections and how to request items

How to reuse images of unpublished manuscripts

Guide to the copyright of unpublished documents

About Explore Archives and Manuscripts

With Explore Archives and Manuscripts you can search for information about our rich and unique archive and manuscript collections.

Access manuscripts and archives

Accessing manuscripts and archives and obtaining a Letter of introduction or recommendation

How to request items not in the catalogue

You can use 'Request Other Items' to order items which have no record in Explore the British Library. Also to order most items found in Expore Archives and Manuscripts.

Free Discovery and 1-2-1 sessions: 2019

We offer a range of free Discovery and 1-2-1 sessions to help you make the most of your time researching here.

Guide to Explore the British Library

A guide to help you use the catalogue, covering: login, search, how to manage your results, how to order/view items

Can I copy material in the Reading Rooms?

What you need to know about copying British Library collections in our Reading Rooms

Conditions of Use of British Library Reading Rooms

You need to follow some rules if you want to use our Reading Rooms

Electronic resources

We collect thousands of electronic journals, books and websites and hundreds of databases. You’ll need to come to the British Library to access the majority of these resources.

Terms of use for Google Books

This page states the terms and conditions surrounding the British Library’s out of copyright books which have been digitised by Google.

What collection items can I view online?

You can see books, manuscripts, maps, playbills, scores and much more. Researchers can use our collection of electronic resources and databases to help them find material relevant to their research.

Can I take photographs of British Library material myself?

You can now take photos of our collection items yourself in British Library Reading Rooms

How to handle books

See the techniques you should use to keep our books in good shape.

How to handle rolled items

We show how you should unroll items like scrolls, rolls and maps.

Using gloves with books and manuscripts

Should you wear gloves? Here's some advice to help you decide.