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Harold Nicolson papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 614

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of writings, correspondence, personal and business papers, scrapbooks, clippings, and audiovisual materials documenting Harold Nicolson's life and career as a diplomat and author. The papers include drafts and correspondence relating to his biography, King George the Fifth: His Life and Reign (London: Constable, 1952). Correspondence documents his work as both a diplomat and an author, including letters from members of the royal family, members of English literary society, the Foreign Office, civil servant Sir Alan Lascelles (who served as Assistant Private Secretary to George V, among other roles), and his wife Vita Sackville-West. Scrapbooks consist mostly of clippings related to Nicolson.


  • 1886-1968


Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 30-31 (audiovisual materials): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Bernard Quaritch, Ltd., on the Chauncey Brewster Tinker Prize Fund and the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2012.


Organized into five series: I. Writings, 1908-1960s. II. Correspondence, 1904-1960s. III. Personal and business papers, 1900s-1960s. IV. Scrapbooks and clippings, 1921-1960s. V. Audiovisual materials, circa 1930s, undated.

Related Materials

Vita Sackville-West Papers (GEN MSS 925), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Victoria Sackville-West Papers (OSB MSS 222), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


19.51 Linear Feet ((30 boxes) + 1 record album storage)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Harold George Nicolson (1886-1968) was an English diplomat, biographer, and novelist. He was married to Vita Sackville-West, the English author, poet, and gardener.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
Guide to the Harold Nicolson Papers
by Beinecke staff
November 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.