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Guardian (formerly Manchester Guardian) Archive

Date range: 1821-1970s.

The Manchester Guardian was founded by John Edward Taylor (1791-1844) in 1821, two years after the Peterloo Massacre. Under the editorship of the legendary Charles Prestwich Scott (1846-1932), it was transformed from an essentially provincial journal into a newspaper of national and international standing – reflected in its change of name to the Guardian in 1959.

Its archive dates from the newspaper’s foundation to the early 1970s, just after its move to London; later material is held at the Guardian News and Media Archive in London.

The correspondence and dispatches in the archive form an outstanding source for research into almost every aspect of late nineteenth and twentieth-century history, from the Boer War to Vietnam. There is also a very full set of records relating to the newspaper as a business.

Research Guides

There are several research guides providing information about specific subject areas represented in the archive, as follows:

Changing Faces (PDF). This guide provides information on how to get started with tracing records relating to journalists, contributors or employees of the newspaper.

Sources for the Boer War (PDF).

Sources for Womens Suffrage (PDF).

Guide to Foreign Correspondence (PDF).

Main Catalogue

The main catalogue for the Guardian Archive is divided into two parts:

Guardian Archive catalogue - part 1 (PDF)

This lists four primary categories of material:

  • Records relating to the newspaper as a business, such as staff and employment records, financial records, circulation and distribution records, legal documents, and records relating to the production of the newspaper.
  • C.P. Scott's 'General Correspondence': nearly 4,400 letters exchanged with a wide range of figures, including leading statesmen and politicians, writers, journalists and many others. Letters from this sequence relating to the Boer War and to Women’s Suffrage have more detailed descriptions in separate catalogues (see below).
  • 'Additional Correspondence' of Alfred Powell Wadsworth (1891-1956), Editor of the Guardian during 1944-1956.
  • Foreign correspondence, 1912-1939: an extensive collection of letters and dispatches from Manchester Guardian European correspondents, with a particular focus on the period 1933-1939 and the run-up to the Second World War. A much more detailed catalogue of this material is available via ELGAR.

Guardian Archive catalogue - part 2 (PDF)

This lists four different series of material classified as ‘Editorial Correspondence’, spanning almost 90 years, as follows:

  • 'A Series': Editorial Correspondence of C.P. Scott (editor during the period 1872-1929). A much more detailed catalogue of this correspondence is available via ELGAR.
  • 'B Series': Editorial Correspondence of William Percival Crozier (editor during 1932-1944) and Alfred Powell Wadsworth (editor during 1944-1956).
  • 'C Series': Editorial Correspondence of Alastair Hetherington (1956-1975).
  • 'D Series': Editorial Correspondence of Patrick Monkhouse, Deputy Editor, largely dating from the 1950s-60s.

 More detailed catalogues of particular sections of the archive are available via our ELGAR database. These include:

  • The Editorial Correspondence of C.P. Scott, which also includes some correspondence of later editors (1879-1969).
  • European Foreign Correspondence (1912-1939).
  • W.P. Crozier’s Confidential Foreign Affairs Correspondence (1930-1944).
  • Correspondence of Morgan Philips Price (1941-1964).

There are also detailed lists of correspondence relating to the Boer War and women’s suffrage from C.P. Scott’s ‘General Correspondence’ sequence:

See also


The John Rylands Library - OLD

Using the Reading Rooms at The John Rylands Library

Further information

An overview of the archive is given in Peter McNiven, 'The Guardian Archives in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 74 (1992), pp. 65–84.

The Guardian Newspaper and Media Archive, based in London, looks after the newspaper's recent archives.

The University of Manchester is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The University of Manchester is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.