Archive project to catalogue F.W. Harvey’s papers

Gloucestershire Archives and Exeter University project to catalogue unpublished manuscripts and poems by F.W. Harvey

A photo of items in the F W Harvey papers at Gloucestershire Archives
Items in the F W Harvey papers at Gloucestershire Archives

Following the successful launch of the F.W. Harvey papers at Gloucestershire Archives on 8th November 2013, the following was printed in The Citizen newspaper:

Harvey’s papers available for the first time

THOUSANDS of previously unpublished manuscripts and poems by one of the county’s best known authors are now on display at Gloucestershire Archives.  Born in Hartpury and educated at The King’s School, FW Harvey won huge acclaim for his work documenting his First World War experiences.  Dubbed the Laureate of Gloucestershire, his work has been unveiled for the first time at the Alvin Street archives.  Months of research have helped establish Harvey’s place in history by providing a full documentation of his wartime experiences, paired with analysis of his development as a poet.  The exhibition is focusing on his experience as a prisoner of war.

Harvey family deposits papers with Gloucestershire Archives

Julie Courtenay, head of collections at Gloucestershire Archives, said: “We have been running the project to document the collection as FW Harvey is such an important figure for Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean in particular. “The project is centred on personal papers of poet FW Harvey, which were recently discovered by his family and placed on permanent loan at the Gloucestershire Archives to be preserved, catalogued and researched by University of Exeter. These previously unstudied papers have revealed much exciting and formerly unknown information about Harvey’s life and works.” Following discussions between the Harvey family, the papers have been deposited on permanent loan, held in a collection. It cataloguing has proved a mammoth task for historians. Heather Forbes, county archaeologist, said: “It is so important that this resource is preserved for many other generations to enjoy. We are very grateful to the Harvey family for their help in making this happen. The exhibition is related to the Ivor Gurney project, another important county figure. It is great we have been able to build on that success. This archive will be put on view and preserved for the future. The introduction alone gives a great insight into the nature of the man.

Gloucestershire Archive Project : F.W. Harvey Collection

15th June 2012.  The Society has helped the family of F.W. Harvey establish a long term loan of letters, manuscripts and papers to Gloucestershire Archives to help establish a ‘F.W. Harvey Collection’ accessible to the public and scholars. Prior to refurbishment of High View the family discovered a treasure of documents and have decided these should be preserved and made accessible at Gloucestershire Archives. As a result of discussions between the Harvey family, the F.W. Harvey Society, Gloucestershire Archives and the University of Exeter, the papers of F.W. Harvey will be deposited on permanent loan at Gloucestershire Archives and held in a collection.

The cataloguing of the collection will be a mammoth task made possible through a post-graduate scholarship awarded by Exeter University and supervised by Professor Tim Kendall. With the enthusiastic support and help of the Society, the project will be a collaborative effort between the Archives and the University of Exeter to catalogue the papers, make them publicly accessible, and use them as the subject of a full-length doctoral thesis which will do justice to the many strands of Harvey’s achievement. A crucial aim of this research project is to produce a comprehensive online catalogue of the archive material.

The archive comprises a vast amount of unpublished material: several thousand separate items. These include the manuscripts and typescripts of unpublished poems, scrapbooks kept throughout the poet’s adult life, a novel, correspondence with important poets and composers such as Ivor Gurney, Marion Scott and Herbert Howells, items relating to Harvey’s detention in a German prisoner-of-war camp (including letters from fellow POWs), unpublished essays, scripts of BBC broadcasts made by Harvey between 1935 and 1956, diaries, drafts of poems, and materials relating to Harvey’s interest in the Distributist movement.

Head of Gloucestershire Archives, Heather Forbes has said: Gloucestershire Archives’ main purpose is to preserve the recorded heritage of the county and its communities and I am very pleased that through this partnership project we will ensure that the records of such a remarkable local man are preserved safely and made accessible for present and future researchers. In August 2012 the studentship was awarded to Grant Repshire – see event below.

Exeter University has created a page for all its REACT projects; here is the link the FW Harvey project: