Our Archive

The Royal Literary Fund’s archive contains thousands of documents dating from the Fund’s foundation in 1790 until the present day. It is a unique and valuable resource for studying the lives of specific writers and the history of authorship in the UK.

Over 3,600 case files (1-3662) from applicants who first applied for aid between 1790 and 1939 are on loan at the British Library and have been fully catalogued to facilitate access.

Visit the British Library Archive

The files include thousands of letters from applicants and their supporters, as well as application forms, receipts and other documents chronicling literary lives, successes, and disappointments. Together they comprise a rich and diverse account of over a century of authors struggling to earn their livings as writers.

The RLF’s own administrative archive is also catalogued. It includes minute books, annual reports, administrative documents, and papers relating to the anniversary dinners the Fund held to raise its profile and income.

To aid your search, add RLF to your search terms. Records can be navigated using the hierarchal links and filtering your search.

Other RLF catalogued materials are also available on microfilm in several libraries, including the National Library of Scotland, the Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library and Cardiff University Library. The references in the online catalogue are consistent with those used for the microfilms.

If you have any questions about our archive after 1939, please get in touch with us via our Contact Us page.