Richard Hoggart Papers

Ref: MS 247, MS 453

Title: Richard Hoggart Papers

Papers and correspondence of Richard Hoggart, academic, broadcaster and writer on cultural matters
Dates: 1919-2007
Level: Fonds
Extent: 82 boxes (MS 247); 29 boxes (MS 453)
Name of creator: Richard Hoggart

Administrative / biographical history:

The main collection (MS 247) comprises a substantial part of the personal and working papers, manuscripts and associated correspondence relating to the life and work of Richard Hoggart, university teacher and professor of English literature and cultural studies, academic administrator, writer, broadcaster, literary critic, cultural analyst and international civil servant, whose work spanned the second half of the twentieth century and continued into the early years of the twenty-first. Also with the collection are complete manuscripts of many of Hoggart's other books, audio-tapes of radio broadcasts and interviews, and video-tapes of some of his many television broadcasts, and photographs.

Two notable examples of material in the collection may suffice to demonstrate its significance to the historical record of the cultural life of this country during much of the 20th century. Firstly, Richard Hoggart's best known, and probably most influential, book is The Uses of Literacy (1957). This analysis of traditional working-class life and culture, informed by his own upbringing, and the sense of dislocation experienced by working-class students aspiring to higher education as the process inevitably moves them out of their familiar social and cultural background, together with the growing threat to that culture posed by exploitative commercial interests, was extensively reviewed at the time of its publication and has since achieved the status of a `classic´ cultural studies text, remaining in print ever since. It is perhaps not well known that the original draft of the book was entitled `The Abuse of Literacy´, but for legal reasons this version had to be substantially revised for publication. Secondly, at the time of the Old Bailey trial of Penguin Books Ltd., prosecuted in 1960 for allegedly publishing an obscene libel - an unexpurgated edition of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover - it was widely acknowledged that Hoggart's evidence for the Defence was particularly effective in leading to the acquittal of Penguin Books, an event which may in retrospect be seen as marking a watershed in changing public perceptions of what is permissible in the portrayal of relationships between the sexes. The Hoggart Papers include both the original typescript of The Uses of Literacy and Hoggart's own file of documents relating to the Lady Chatterley Trial, the latter including post-trial personal letters of thanks from the publisher, Allen Lane, and from the defence Solicitor. The script of the BBC's reconstruction of the trial, broadcast shortly after its conclusion, and of several other portrayals and reconstructions made in later years, is also available. A copy of a bibliography of Richard Hoggart´s published work, maintained by Marilyn Jones at Goldsmiths´ College up to 1998, is included with the documents.

In the Hoggart Papers II collection (MS 453), a significant portion of the material relates to Richard Hoggart’s life after his professional retirement, including personal correspondence, his final five published books and his public appearances. However his earlier career is represented by sections including his time in academia and his role as Assistant Director-General of UNESCO. There is a substantial selection of articles either written by or about Hoggart as well as some of his own unpublished or unfinished writing. As well as documents the collection also includes photographs, garments from academic ceremonies, index cards and floppy disks.

Born in 1918 into a working-class family in Hunslet, Leeds, and orphaned at an early age, Herbert Richard Hoggart gained a scholarship to Cockburn High School and went on to study English at the University of Leeds where he gained a first-class degree and an M.A. Subsequently drafted into the army during the Second World War he served as an officer in North Africa and Italy, being discharged in 1946. The extensive biographical entry in Who's Who shows that during the active and varied career which followed, devoted to academic and public affairs, he was a Lecturer in the Department of Adult Education at the University of Hull, a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Leicester, and Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, which he founded, at the University of Birmingham, an Assistant Director-General of UNESCO and finally Warden of Goldsmiths´ College, University of London. But in addition to these mainstream roles he undertook a great many other prominent activities, largely in the public sphere, particularly in the fields of the arts, cultural matters, broadcasting and education. Amongst other positions he served as: a member of the Albemarle Committee on Youth Services, a member of the Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting, Reith Lecturer, Chairman of the Broadcasting Research Unit, Vice-Chairman of the Arts Council, Chairman of the Statesman and Nation Publishing Co., Chairman of the Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education and member of the British Board of Film Classification Appeals Committee. He published many books, articles and reviews, appeared in and contributed to numerous broadcasts and lectured extensively around the world. Amongst the many academic distinctions awarded to Richard Hoggart over his lifetime by universities in several countries was the Honorary LLD presented to him by the University of Sheffield in 1999. Richard Hoggart died on 10 April 2014.

  • Related collections: Richard Hoggart Collection
  • Source: Donated by Richard Hoggart in 2001 and 2008
  • System of arrangement: By section
  • Subjects: Adult education – Great Britain; Broadcasting – Great Britain; Education, Higher – Great Britain; Culture – Study and teaching; English literature – Study and teaching (Higher) – Great Britain; Mass media – Great Britain
  • Names: Hoggart, Richard, 1918-2014; University of Leeds; University of Hull; University of Leicester; University of Birmingham; UNESCO; Goldsmiths’ College; Arts Council; Broadcasting Research Unit
  • Conditions of access: Available to all researchers, by appointment
  • Restrictions: Certain documents are subject to restriction
  • Copyright: According to document
  • Associated material: Another collection of documents is held at Goldsmiths’ College, London
  • Finding aids: Listed