The Tennyson Collection in Lincoln is regarded as the most important on Alfred Tennyson in the world. In its breadth and depth it is of unique value to students of Tennyson and of the 19th century as a whole. You can enjoy online exhibitions of some of the gems here.
The holdings in the Tennyson Research Centre include:
Tennyson’s Library – containing over 3,000 books reflecting his intellectual curiosity and often annotated. There are gift books from eminent Victorians such as Queen Victoria, Robert Browning, Edward Lear, William Gladstone and Lewis Carroll.
Dr Tennyson’s library – Tennyson had very little formal schooling. His father, Dr George Clayton Tennyson, took on his education. These 700 volumes give an indication of how Tennyson’s mind developed. Many of the texts have significant historic value in their own right: numerous first editions, a Koberger/Nuremberg Bible, complete sets of ancient travel exploits.
Manuscripts – Amongst these is the most complete autograph manuscript of In Memoriam. The poem went on to become ‘the characteristic poem of its period’ in its quest for meaning in death and grief.
Photographs – There are over 100 photographs taken by Julia Margaret Cameron, the significant pioneer photographer, some entirely unique.
Family papers – diaries, notebooks, Emily Tennyson’s journal, household books, publishers’ accounts – all of which provide fascinating and unique context for the Poet of the Age. Included in the family papers are those of Tennyson-Turner and Tennyson D’Eyncourt on deposit. These not only place the Tennyson family in context but tell Lincolnshire’s history too.
Proofs – approximately 200 proofs of Tennyson’s poetry, many significantly corrected in the poet’s own hand, including a number of altered galley proofs of The Charge of the Light Brigade.
Letters – nearly 9,000 letters including those from Lear, Fitzgerald, Gladstone, Browning and Queen Victoria.
Paraphernalia – such as Tennyson’s pipes, spectacles, hat, cloak, dog whistle, the handkerchief that was put over his face in death.
Groups and individual visits to the Research Centre are most welcome by appointment. The nature of the archive would, like Tennyson’s own work in his time, suit all ages and many interests.
The centre is open Monday to Wednesday 9.30-2.30. Visits outside these times can be arranged. Please contact the centre to book all appointments. Telephone 01522 552651.