The Powys Society Collection and Archive was established in 1992 to provide a focus for scholarship into the Powys Family, particularly John Cowper Powys (1872-1963), Theodore Francis Powys (1875-1953) and Llewelyn Powys(1884-1939) and their immediate circle of friends.
The core of the Collection consists of major bequests by Mr E E Bissell and Mr Francis Feather, who have bequeathed their very important collections of Powys books and manuscripts to the Society in perpetuity. Other gifts and bequests continue to extend and enrich the material available.
The manuscripts, typescripts, letters and copies of published works by or about the Powys family, as well as ex libris volumes, are held in Exeter University Library. The Collection also includes an important corpus of Powys family letters, as well as correspondence with their wide circle of friends, including the writers Sylvia Townsend Warner, Huw Menai, Louis Wilkinson, Henry Miller and Elizabeth Myers.
The Society's Powys Collection Liaison Officer is Michael Kowalewski
Paintings, photographs, wood engravings and memorabilia relating to the Powys Family as well as items donated directly to the Dorset County Museum are kept in the Museum at Dorchester. Access to these is according to the Museum’s regulations on archive access. The Museum also exhibits some Powys material in its Writers’ Gallery. There are several works by the painter Gertrude Powys also kept securely at the DCM.
The bulk of the Powys Society Collection has been held by Exeter University Library since 2014. Full cataloguing in Exeter's own system will be completed by 2021: the inventory below remains the best guide as to its contents until then.
If you wish to visit the Collection at the University of Exeter (or make enquiries as to availability) see:
‘We very much encourage members to come and use the collections - we are a friendly and welcoming team and are always happy to help and advise on collections where we can’. — Dr Christine Faunch, Head of Heritage Collections
University of Exeter
Research Commons, Old Library
Prince of Wales Road
EXETER EX4 4SB
The Agreement (view pdf) covers the transfer of the Powys Society Collection from Dorset County Museum to Exeter University.