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The poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) was an undergraduate at Clare College, 1905–07, where he was made an Honorary Fellow in 1953. His Cambridge friends included the musicologist E. J. Dent, the librarian A. T. Bartholomew, and the surgeon and bibliographer Sir Geoffrey Keynes.

Sassoon's library and papers were dispersed by sale after his death, and the Library has purchased various collections and individual items from time to time. Keynes published A Bibliography of Siegfried Sassoon (London 1962) and formed a collection of Sassoon's books, manuscripts and letters, which came to the Library in 1982.  In 2009 the Library purchased the ‘remaining archive’ of Siegfried Sassoon from the executors of his son George, and allotted it the reference MS Add. 9852. Books from Sassoon's own library are in the Rare Books class CCC.39.

23 of Sassoon's journals from the years 1915-1927 and 1931-1932, and two poetry notebooks from 1916-1918 containing rough drafts and fair copies of his war poems, have been digitised and are available to view on the Cambridge Digital Library.

An outline summary of Library’s Sassoon manuscript holdings is provided below:

Manuscripts of Sassoon's poems, and correspondence about publishing them:

MS Add. 9724, juvenilia, Vigils, and other notebooks (1897–1964)

MS Add. 9852, poetical notebooks and drafts, and poems in journals (1897–1950s). Includes Poems: by Siegfried Sassoon 1916 and Poems: 1917–18, a notebook in which Sassoon collected his First World War poetry; and The Heart’s Journey (1925–27), a notebook of drafts and revised fair copies

MS Add. 8487, Picture Show (1919): MS, letters to A. T. Bartholomew

MS Add. 8488, Recreations (1923): MS

MS Add. 8491–93, Vigils (1934): MS, transcript, correspondence

MS Add. 8856/330, ‘Theme and variations’ (1935)

MS Add. 8489–90, Rhymed Ruminations (1939): MS, correspondence

MS Add. 8485–86, Emblems of Experience (1951): MS, transcript

MS Add. 9773, Wonted Themes (1953): MS

MS Add. 8538–39, The Tasking (1954): MS, transcript, correspondence

MS Add.10193, 'Poems by Siegfried Sassoon'

In the Rare Books collections there are manuscript poems by Sassoon in printed books (CCC.39.24; CCC.39.47; and CCC.39.48), and manuscript amendments to printed poems in various volumes in Class Keynes, including Keynes.J.1.11, Keynes.J.1.24 and Keynes.J.1.28 and also in Syn.7.91.43(1)-(3).

Manuscripts (notes and drafts) of Sassoon’s prose works

MS Add. 8633/F6: Authors’ corrected proofs of The Old Century and Seven More Years (special access conditions apply)

MS Add. 9852, The Old Century and Seven More Years, The Weald of Youth and Siegfried’s Journey

In the Rare Books collections Keynes.J.1.50 contains a manuscript of ‘Early Morning Long Ago’ (1939).

Journals and related notebooks

MS Add. 9852, (1899–1959), together with typed transcripts of the post-war journals

MS Add. 9724, fragments and transcripts (1920–1925)

Letters from Sassoon:

MS Add. 9724 and MS Add.9877/1/4/1, to Theresa Sassoon (1915–1917)

MS Add. 7973, to E. J. Dent (1915–1919)

MS Add.8487, to A. T. Bartholomew (1917–1920)

MS Add. 8484, to H. Festing Jones (1919–1928)

MS Add. 8483, to A. T. Bartholomew (1921–1932)

MS Add. 7595, to C. E. Tomkinson (1923–1960)

MS Add. 9454, to Glen Byam Shaw (1924–1966)

MS Add. 9877/1, to Percy H. Muir (1927–1962)

MS Add. 7032, to P. H. Gosse, single letter (1929)

MS Add. 9852/12/1/3 and MS Add. 9877/1/6/1, to Hester Gatty (1933–)

MS Add. 8633, to Geoffrey and Margaret Keynes (1933–1967) (special access conditions apply)

MS Add. 8856/330, to Bryce Beaumont, single letter (1935)

MS Add. 8905/2/3/44–59, to Edward Marsh (1935–1949)

MS Add. 8905/10/S/1–22, to Christopher Hassall (1936–1954)

MS Add.10304/47, to D. G. A. Low, 1946

MS Add. 9608, to Haro Hodson (1948–1967)

MS Add. 9784/191–194, to S.C. Roberts (1953–1955)

MS Add. 10382, to Dennis Silk (1953-1967)

MS Add. 9251/S/15, to Frank Kendon, single letter (1955)

MS Add. 8905/1/5, letter of appreciation on Christopher Hassall’s Life of Edward Marsh (1959)

MS Add. 8276 and MS Add. 9852/12/2, to members of the Gatty family (1959–1966)

MS Add. 7935, to Mother Margaret Mary (1957–1967)

MS Add. 9862, to Ian Davie (1960–1965)

In the Rare Books and Early Manuscripts collections there are letters from Sassoon in some items with the ‘Keynes.J’ and RBM.19.d.5 classmarks.

Letters to Sassoon:

MS Add. 8889, from friends and authors, various dates

MS Add. 9375, from friends and authors, various dates

MS Add. 9852, from friends and authors, various dates

MS RSL, from fellows and officers of the Royal Society of Literature, various dates

MS Add. 9877/1/1, from Theresa Sassoon (circa 1920-1947)

MS Add. 9700, from Mother Margaret Mary and others (1938–1967)

MS Add. 9792, from C. St J. Pulley and T. Sturge Moore (1939)

MS Add.10384, from Edmund Blunden (1962-1966)


There is a set of microfilm reels with copies of Sassoon items of which much of the original material is now held in the University of Tulsa: MSS Microfilm 11283–7


MS Add. 8494, list of books owned by A. T. Bartholomew

MS Add. 8541, list of books and MSS owned by Geoffrey Keynes (1939)

MS Add. 9852, various items relating to Sassoon and his family, not included in the categories listed above.

MS Add.10383, Correspondence and papers concerning a volume of tributes to mark Sassoon's eightieth birthday

MS Add.10412, Caricatures, letters and photographs by or relating to Siegfried Sassoon and his family

Online descriptions of MS Add. 9852 and other of the Library’s holdings of Sassoon manuscripts and correspondence are available via ArchiveSearch. Online descriptions of some of the Library’s Sassoon collections are available via the Archives Hub.Typescript lists of MSS Add. 7935, 7973, 8633, 8889 and 8905 are available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Contact: John Wells (01223 333055;

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