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Axon Papers

Date range: 1864–1947.

Papers of Dr William Edward Armytage Axon (1846–1913) and his son Ernest A. Axon (1868–1947). Dr Axon was a librarian in Manchester Free Libraries (1861–74), and a journalist on the staff of the Manchester Guardian (1874–1905).

He had a remarkably wide range of interests, as a  bibliographer, local historian, folklorist, vegetarian, temperance campaigner and social reformer. He was also a Unitarian of very liberal tendencies.1

The archive contains some 6,600 letters to him arising from these various interests.

There is also a collection of some 600 autographs of famous contemporaries sent to or collected by him.

Ernest Axon was a librarian in Manchester Public Libraries for over fifty years from 1881, a historian of Manchester and the North-West, and the author of several Unitarian local histories.2

His papers consist of almost 1,500 in- and out-letters, 1897–1947.

1Obituary of W.E.A. Axon in the Manchester Guardian, 29 December 1913, p. 5; Brian Charles Hollingworth, ‘Axon, William Edward Armytage (1846–1913)’, ODNB.

2Obituary of Ernest Axon in the Manchester Guardian, 16 July 1947, p. 3.

Finding aids

Card index of correspondence.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library