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Peter Ackroyd papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 828

Scope and Contents

The Peter Ackroyd Papers primarily contain research files, manuscripts, drafts, and page proofs for many of his novels, biographies, and historical studies, as well as related correspondence, electronic files, and screenplays. Also present are his appointment books, some personal papers and photographs, and papers related to his partner Brian Michael Kuhn.


  • 1962 - 2015


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 29: Restricted during the lifetime of the author. For further information consult appropriate curator.

Boxes 30, 54, 69, 92, 103, 106, 127, 128 (computer disks and laptop computer): Restricted Fragile Material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested through Access Services.

Box 179 (born digital): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 125 (audiovisual material): Access to original audiovisual recordings is restricted. Reference copies may be requested through Access Services.

Existence and Location of Copies

Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Peter Ackroyd Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from R. A. Gekoski Booksellers on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 1994-2005, 2010; purchased from R. A. Gekoski Booksellers on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2015; purchased from Peter Grogan on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2016; gift of Peter Ackroyd, 2005-2011, 2016, 2019; gift of Random House, 2012; gift of Talese Editorial, 2015-2016.


Organized into twenty-four groupings: I. February 1994 Acquisition. II. April 1997 Acquisition. III. August 2000 Acquisition. IV. June 2005 Acquisition. V. July 2005 Acquisition. VI. November 2005 Acquisition. VII. March 2006 Acquisition. VIII. November 2006 Acquisition. IX. January 2007 Acquisition. X. May 2007 Acquisition. XI. November 2008 Acquisition. XII. February 2010 Acquisition. XIII. March 2010 Acquisition. XIV. April 2010 Acquisition. XV. September 2010 Acquisition. XVI. September 2011 Acquisition. XVII. June 2012 acquisition. XVIII. August 2015 acquisition. XIX. September 2015 acquisition. XX. January 2016 acquisition. XXI. July 2016 acquisition [1 of 2]. XXII. July 2016 acquisition [2 of 2]. XXIII. September 2016 acquisition. XXIV. January 2019 acquisition.

Material within this collection has been organized by acquisition reflecting the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time. Researchers should note that material within each acquisition overlaps with or relates to material found in other acquisitions (e.g., correspondence, writings, and personal papers can be found in all groupings). In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers should consult each acquisition described in the Collection Contents section.

Researchers should also note that similar material can be arranged differently in each acquisition, depending on how the material was organized when it was received by the library.


123.14 Linear Feet (179 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Peter Ackroyd papers primarily contain research files, manuscripts, drafts, and page proofs for many of Ackroyd's novels, biographies, and historical studies, as well as related correspondence and screenplays. Also present are his appointment books, some personal papers and photographs, and personal papers of his partner Brian Michael Kuhn (1952-1994).

Peter Ackroyd (1949- )

Peter Ackroyd, British novelist, critic, poet, biographer, and essayist, was born in London on October 5, 1949, and raised in East Acton. Educated at Saint Benedict’s School, Ealing, he graduated from Clare College, Cambridge, in 1971 with a degree in English, and studied at Yale University under a Mellon Foundation fellowship from 1971 to 1973. Ackroyd was the literary editor of the Spectator from 1973 to 1977, and managing editor from 1977 to 1981. He is the author of more than a dozen novels, four books of poetry, and over twenty works of non-fiction, including studies of the cities of London and Venice, the authors Blake, Chaucer, Dickens, Eliot, Poe, Pound, and Shakespeare, and the cultures of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Ackroyd has won numerous literary awards, was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2003, and elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006.

His partner Brian Michael Kuhn was born in New York on June 26, 1952. Ackroyd and Kuhn met while Ackroyd was studying in the United States; afterward Kuhn moved to England, living in London and Devon from 1973 until his death from an AIDS-related illness in 1994.

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing, including in some instances rehousing and minimal organization, when it arrived at the library. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, identified as a unique grouping and titled according to year and month of acquisition.

The finding aid for this collection is compiled from individual preliminary lists for each acquisition that were created at or around the time of receipt by the library. The preliminary lists were migrated to comply with current archival descriptive standards and merged into a single file in 2007-2008. As part of the migration, modifications were made to the formatting of individual lists; however, the content of the lists was neither modified nor verified.

As a rule, descriptive information found in the finding aid is drawn in large part 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.

Former call numbers: Uncat MS Vault 706, Uncat MS Vault 789, Uncat MSS 58, Uncat MSS 786, Uncat MSS 797, Uncat MSS 827, Uncat MSS 854, Uncat MSS 910, Uncat MSS 922, Uncat MSS 946, Uncat MSS 1049, Uncat MSS 1229, Uncat MSS 1234, Uncat MSS 1240, Uncat MSS 1262.

Guide to the Peter Ackroyd Papers
by Beinecke staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-12-08: Updated by Rosemary K. J. Davis to add recent acquisitions.
  • 2010-02-10: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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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.