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British and Irish Literature: Ted Hughes

Restrictions on access and use

Access to selected files is restricted without the written permission of the copyright holder. Other selected files are closed for a period of 25 years (2022) or the lifetime of Carol Hughes, whichever is greater. Writings by Ted Hughes and photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of Carol Hughes.

Planning Your Research Visit to the Rose Library

Please note that not all manuscript collections are housed in the Rose Library. Some collections are located in an off-site storage facility and must be requested in advance. To ensure your timely accessibility to our collections on and off-site, we appreciate advance notice of the collections you intend to view.

We are happy to assist you as you prepare for your research visit. If you have any questions about our collections, questions regarding the Rose Library's researcher policies, and/or would like to request materials to be on hold for your research visit, please email to the attention of Research Services.

Manuscript Collection

British Broadcasting Corporation. (MSS 1055). Third Programme radio scripts, 1949-1978; .75 linear ft. (2 boxes).

The collection contains thirty-six typescripts for the British Broadcasting Corporation's Third Programme, dating from 1949 to 1978. The collection includes typescripts from Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, among others.


Heaney, Seamus. (MSS 960). Papers, 1951-2004; 51 linear ft. (102 boxes, 13 oversized papers).

The Seamus Heaney papers consists largely of correspondence (1963-2004) and documents Heaney's relationship with his students, publishers, friends, and other literary figures, including Ted Hughes. Restrictions: Series 1 correspondence is closed to researchers.


Hughes, Olwyn. (MSS 980). Papers, 1 linear ft. (2 boxes, 2 oversized papers).

Collection consists of correspondence from Ted Hughes to Olwyn Hughes (1928- ) and to their parents, and photographs. Six of the letters include appended messages from Sylvia Plath.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 644). Papers, 1940-1997; 92.5 linear ft. (186 boxes, 103 oversized papers).

The Ted Hughes Papers cover the entire spectrum of Hughes' career from his first published volume of poetry, The Hawk in the Rain (1957), through the start of his tenure as Poet Laureate of Great Britain in 1984, up until 1997. The collection includes an extensive correspondence series with such well-known poets and critics as Stephen Spender, A.A. Alvarez, and Seamus Heaney. It also includes extensive manuscript drafts from all of Hughes' collections, sound recordings, journals, photographs, scrapbooks, and collected printed materials.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 895). Letters to Janos Csokits, 1960-1998; 1.5 linear ft. (3 boxes).

Hungarian poet and translator Janos Csokits and Ted Hughes began a personal and professional friendship based on mutual admiration, and they later collaborated on two published translations of the Hungarian poet Janos Pilinszky. The collection consists primarily of 49 letters from Hughes to Csokits, which include comments on the Csokits' translations, Hughes' frustration over Sylvia Plath's literary reputation, and his publications relating to Plath. Also included in the collection is a detailed annotation of the letters provided by Csokits.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 1014). Letters to Frieda Hughes, 1971-1997; 1.25 linear ft. (2 boxes, 2 bound volumes).

The collection consists primarily of letters to Frieda Hughes from her father, Ted Hughes and stepmother, Carol Hughes from 1971-1997. A few of the letters are addressed to her brother, Nicholas. Many of the early letters, 1971-1978, were written while Frieda and her brother, Nicholas were attending Ibstock Place School in London and then Bedales School in Petersfield, Hants. These letters discuss news regarding their home, various pets, encouraging words about school work, and writing and language lessons/exercises written by her father. Of particular interest are a series of 1971 letters written while her father was in Paris and Teheran, Iran working with Peter Brooks on the production of Orghast; a humorous account of a meeting with the Royal family written on 14 February 1975; and a lengthy and humorous letter describing the day that Ted Hughes received the OBE from the Queen in 1977. In the later years, there are several letters which contain comments that Ted Hughes made regarding his daughter's writings. There is a detailed annotation of the letters provided by Frieda Hughes in the first folder of the collection [the container list notes the original number assigned by Hughes to each letter]. Also included in the collection; two sketchbooks containing several drawings by Ted Hughes and some loose sketches one by Sylvia Plath; Ted Hughes' death certificate; and a chronology of events from 1956-1971, written by Ted Hughes for Frieda Hughes.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 854). Letters to Gerald Hughes, 1952-1991; .75 linear feet (2 boxes).

The collection consists of 188 letters written by Ted Hughes to his brother and sister-in-law, Gerald and Joan Hughes, between 1950 and 1998. The letters provide access to Hughes’ thoughts on his poetry and the writing process, as well as on his family and partners. Included with the correspondence are photographs and drafts of poems including, "Birthday Ode for Brother Gerald" "On the Anniversary of Your Leaving," and "Pike," as well as drafts of four short stories and an unidentified play.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 866). Letters to W. S. and Dido Merwin, 1958-1969; .25 linear ft.  (1 box).

Correspondence between poet Ted Hughes and poet W. S. Merwin and his wife, Dido, comprise this collection. It covers the period of Hughes’ marriage to Sylvia Plath, and a number of letters by Dido Merwin comment quite extensively on the relationship. The correspondence also includes discussions among the three on poetry, with several of W. S. Merwin’s letters containing drafts of poems.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 865). Letters to Lucas Myers, 1955-1988; .75 linear ft. (2 boxes).

This collection contains letters from Ted Hughes to one of his oldest friends, Lucas Myers. The friendship began while both were attending Cambridge University in the 1950s and continued until Hughes’ death in 1998. Most of the letters date from the 1950s and 1960s. The letters include Hughes’ entreaty to Myers for an introduction to Sylvia Plath as well as later discussions of his career, marriage, family, and Plath's work. A short memoir piece by Myers, which originally appeared in Grand Street, about Hughes' time at Cambridge and his meeting with Sylvia Plath, is also included in the collection.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 867). Letters to Peter Redgrove, ca. 1966-1984; .5 linear ft. (2 boxes).

This collection contains letters by Ted Hughes to the English poet, novelist, and playwright Peter Redgrove. The two men became friends in the 1960s at Cambridge and shared an interest in the occult and mythology. Included with the letters are drafts of poems and plays, and clippings.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 924). Letters to Ben Sonnenberg, 1961-2000, .25 linear ft. (1 box).

This collection contains 38 letters written to Ben Sonnenberg, writer, publisher and literary adviser, including 30 written by Ted Hughes (the other letters are from Olwyn Hughes and Carol Hughes). These letters reveal a personal and professional correspondence that continued between Sonnenberg and Hughes from 1961 until Hughes’s death in 1998.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 1058). Letters to Assia Wevill, 1955-1970; .5 linear ft. (1 box)

The collection contains letters, manuscripts, poems, drawings, and miscellaneous documents relating to Ted Hughes and Assia Wevill. The Wevills met Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath in London in 1961, and Hughes and Wevill began an affair soon thereafter.


Included are 61 letters from Hughes to Wevill; included with the letters are drafts for a series of poems on playing cards and a "Draft Constitution," which appears to be an agreement between Ted and Assia concerning her responsibilities towards his children, her household duties, and general behavior. The collection also includes six letters from Assia Wevill to Ted Hughes; one early (1955) letter from Wevill to her sister, Cecilia Chaikin; and three letters from Ted Hughes to Chaikin written after Assia's death. The first two deal with his response to Assia's suicide, while the third responds to Celia's offer to return a number of Plath's manuscripts, which had been sent to her by Assia. Finally, the correspondence contains two letters from David Wevill to Assia, and one letter from Assia to him.


The remainder of the collection consists of a number of manuscript and typescript drafts of Hughes's poems; eight miscellaneous pieces of notes and letters by Assia, addressed obliquely to Hughes; and a number of photographs of Assia Wevill, both alone and with Hughes, Shura, Frieda, and Nicholas. One of the typescripts, which bears the title "For Aya," represents a preliminary version, in four parts, of the longer sequence of poems published as "The New World", while another poem, "Little Blood," contains an extra stanza omitted in publication. Other typescripts include variant titles, and one bears additional manuscript material on its reverse side. Two of the poems, "Crow Outlawed" and "Carrion Tiresias Examines the Sacrifice," appear to be unpublished.


Hughes, Ted. (MSS 870). Letters to Edna Wholey, ca. 1947-1951; .25 linear ft. (1 box).

This collection contains letters, poems, and a short story written to Edna Wholey, a childhood friend of Ted Hughes, along with five photographs of Hughes at Wholeys home around the 1940s through early 1950s.


Miller, Karl. (MSS 1090). Papers, 1.25 linear ft. (3 boxes).

This collection includes correspondence written to Miller by writers, literary scholars, and public intellectuals, including Ted Hughes.


Tennant, Emma. (MSS 913). Papers, 1973-1998; .5 linear ft. (1 box).

The collection contains items related to Ted Hughes’s relationship in the 1970s with Emma Christina Tennant (1937- ), a novelist, critic, and editor. The materials include a few pieces of correspondence from Hughes to Tennant during the 1970s and a brief note in 1998. There are also three drafts of The Notting Hill Diaries, later renamed the Burnt Diaries, and published in 1999, an autobiographical account of Tennant’s affair with Hughes. The drafts are mostly typescript copies with handwritten notes and insertions.


Weissbort, Daniel. (MSS 894). Papers, ca. 1957-1999; 1 linear ft. (2 boxes, 1 oversized paper)

The collection contains his correspondence, including letters from Ted Hughes, Joseph Brodsky, and Yehuda Amichai, and manuscripts of these writers as well as Susan Alliston and Janos Pilnsky.

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