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Archives of the Commonweal Collection

Archive reference: Cwl CC

The Story of Commonweal

Commonweal Collection is a unique independent peace library. Its founder, David Hoggett, was influenced by Gandhian ideas of nonviolence, and, after a serious accident left him paralysed, created Commonweal as a postal library to help peace activists find the resources they needed. Following David's death in 1975, the Commonweal Trustees relocated the library to the University of Bradford, which had recently opened the first Department of Peace Studies in a British university. Commonweal continues as a library open to the public and a centre for outreach.

The Archives

These Archives are the records of Commonweal as an organisation. They are part of the wider group of Commonweal Archives, which are records of many peace activists and organisations collected by Commonweal.

The Archives are divided into two distinct sections to reflect the division between the years 1958-1975 when the library was set up and run by David Hoggett, and the period from 1976 onwards when the library was transferred to Bradford University and run formally by the Commonweal Trust.

Papers of David Hoggett, 1955 - 1975 (Cwl CC/DH)

The majority of the surviving archives from the period leading up to 1976 have been retained due to their importance in understanding David Hoggett’s work. Draft trust deed with related correspondence, 1963; ‘rules and decisions’ of trustees, 1971; librarian’s reports and accounts, 1961-1975; minutes of annual trustees’ meetings, 1963-1975; papers on running Commonweal; cataloguing, indexing and loan records; correspondence with trustees, librarians, peace organisations, publishers, friends, borrowers and supporters; published guides, indexes and bibliographies; personal papers, including files on non payment of rates for civil defence, 1959-1964, Operation Gandhi and the Direct Action Committee, 1952-1961, and the Committee of 100 (including Welsh C100), 1960-1968.

Archives of the Commonweal Trust, 1976 onwards (Cwl CC/CT)

Papers about the Commonweal trust deed, the deposit agreement with University of Bradford and charitable status; annual reports and accounts; minutes and papers of meetings of trustees, AGMs, Joint Consultative Committee, Work Group, various sub groups, Liaison Group, Management Committee and staff meetings; policies, plans and procedures; correspondence about the transition to Bradford and of successive co-ordinators; subject files; fundraising and project management; outreach and publicity; publications; photographs; Sylvia Barlow’s research papers on the history of Commonweal.

The Archives were catalogued as part of the PaxCat Project, with support from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives.