Tony Dyson Papers
Date range: 1934-2002
Number of items:
Tony Dyson (1928-2002) was a literary academic and critic, who played a leading role in the campaign for homosexual equality in the UK.
Dyson taught English at University College, Bangor, and the University of East Anglia. He worked closely with Professor Brian Cox of the University of Manchester in editing Critical Quarterly and in the publication of the controversial Black Papers, which were highly critical of 'progressive' education.
Dyson was actively involved in the campaign for the decriminalisation of homosexuality from the mid-1950s. He was the instigator of an open letter to the Times, on 7 March 1958, when public figures including J.B. Priestley, Clement Attlee and Bertrand Russell called for decriminalisation. Dyson also established the Homosexual Law Reform Society in 1958 to further this campaign, along with an associated charity, the Albany Trust, which provided a counselling service for gay men, lesbians and sexual minorities.
A committed Anglican, Dyson was also involved with Christian organisations which supported homosexual equality, and edited a journal The Christian, which campaigned for gay rights from a Christian perspective.
Dyson's extensive collection of papers document his academic, professional and personal interests in literature, education, theology and his campaigns for homosexual legal and civil rights. It includes correspondence with publishers, theologians, politicians, agony aunts, literary critics, actors, and poets. The latter category includes Dyson's friends, particularly Ted Hughes, R. S. Thomas and Thom Gunn.
Dyson's activism in the cause of gay rights is well covered, including some rare pamphlets and printed ephemera from the 1970s (although the records of Albany Trust and the Homosexual Law Reform Society are held at LSE Library). This includes his work promoting the Charter of Homosexual Rights in the late 1970s and with gay Christian groups.
The archive includes the personal papers of Dyson's partner, Cliff Tucker (1912-1993), a businessman, including his papers relating to a campaign to rehabilitate his friend, the Catholic priest Illtud Evans, who had been expelled from St David's College Lampeter, because of his homosexuality. Tucker succeeded in obtaining a posthumous degree for Evans.
Catalogue available online via ELGAR.