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Commonweal Archives

The story of the Commonweal Archives

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.

Commonweal's unique identity and links with the peace movement led many peace activists and organisations to donate their archives to the Collection, creating a major resource for the study of the history of nonviolent direct action. In 2005, the Commonweal Trustees donated the archives to Special Collections at the University of Bradford, to enable us to make them more widely available. The archives continue to be managed in association with the Trustees and retain their separate Commonweal identity within Special Collections.

Commonweal and other peace-related archives are listed on this page:

Special Collections on Peace, Politics and Social Change

Note that this list includes only those archives which have been catalogued. Others will be added to the website when work on them is completed.

To find out how Special Collections staff are bringing these important archives to new audiences, see The PaxCat Project.

Further information about Commonweal