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Upton Sinclair Collection

1,000 items.

Upton Beall Sinclair (1878–1968) began writing novels at the age of fifteen, in order to pay his way through college in New York. His early novels include King Midas (1901), The Journal of Arthur Sterling (1903) and Manassas (1904). In 1906 he published at his own expense the work for which he is best known today, The Jungle, a realistic study of the Chicago stockyards and meat-packing industry. In 1915 Sinclair moved to California where he wrote a series of pamphlets on various aspects of American life: The Profits of Religion (1918), The Goose-step (1923) and The Goslings (1924), which dealt with education, Mammonart (1925) and Money Writes! (1927). In 1934 Sinclair ran for the governorship of California under the banner of the EPIC (End Poverty in California) League.

Later books include the World’s End series of novels featuring Lanny Budd. In addition Sinclair also wrote on diet and health and on psychic phenomena, and he penned the popular children’s book The Gnomobile.

The collection contains some 870 monographs, including:

  • first editions of virtually all of Sinclair’s major works;
  • numerous translations of works such as Oil!, The Jungle and Mental Radio into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, Serbo-Croat, Norwegian, Dutch and Danish;
  • a wide range of critical literature.

Many of the books contain autograph inscriptions from Sinclair.

In addition there are:

  • periodicals relating to Sinclair;
  • files of correspondence with figures such as Floyd Dell, Theodore Dreiser, Frank Harris and H.L. Mencken;
  • much rare ephemera relating to the socialist novelist, including: newspaper clippings; photographs; tape recordings and gramophone records; a bound volume of issues of Upton Sinclair’s campaigning newspaper EPIC News (1934–35).

The collection was amassed over 30 years by Mr Edward Allatt of West Drayton, Middlesex, who was a personal friend of Sinclair; his arrangement of the collection has been preserved. Following Mr Allatt’s death in 2009, his daughter kindly presented his research papers and correspondence to the Library.

Edward Allatt’s collection was augmented in 2013 with the donation of approximately 200 letters from Allatt to John Ahouse, a librarian, bibliographer and fellow Sinclair collector in the USA, who authored Upton Sinclair: A Descriptive Annotated Bibliography. These letters represent the other side of correspondence already included in the Allatt Collection. The acquisition also includes bibliographical information relating to books and articles by or about Sinclair, published from 1968 onwards. John Ahouse’s principal Upton Sinclair collection (comprising both books and archival material) is held at California State University. An online catalogue to this collection can be found here:

Finding aids

Monographs recorded in general printed-book catalogue.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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