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Biography pages:

Who was 'Lawrence of Arabia'

Introductory biography

T. E. Lawrence as writer

Chronology of Lawrence's life




Memorials to Lawrence

Some quotations

T. E. Lawrence manuscripts

Books dedicated to Lawrence

Research and discussion

The state of T.E. Lawrence scholarship

Rejected legend

David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia


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References used on the site


Jeremy Wilson


Page updated May 2012

T. E. Lawrence manuscripts


The great majority of Lawrence's known correspondence is now in libraries. However, in most years a few letters come on to the market. Sometimes these are previously unrecorded and of excellent quality.

Likewise, most of the known major manuscripts are in institutional collections. The list below gives their current locations. Nevertheless, interesting manuscript material surfaces from time to time.

Collateral manuscripts and correspondence, and association copies of books, appear more frequently.

Known T.E. Lawrence manuscripts

Crusader Castles

The thesis submitted by Lawrence as part of his final examinations for history at Oxford University. Original title: The Influence of the Crusades on European Military Architecture - to the end of the XIIth century.

Published as Crusader Castles (London, Golden Cockerel Press, 1936, and later editions)

  • The Bodleian Library, Oxford holds early manuscript draft of part of the thesis and a number of photographs and sketches

  • Magdalen College, Oxford holds the maps prepared for the thesis and some plans and sketches

  • Jesus College, Oxford holds the typed 'Examiners' Copy', with the original illustrations. This carries some later manuscript annotations by Lawrence

  • The Houghton Library, Harvard holds the typed 'rough copy', which also has some later manuscript annotations by Lawrence

  • The Bodleian Library. Oxford, holds a proof of the 1936 Golden Cockerel Press edition of the thesis marked up in the margins by the editor, A.W. Lawrence, to show Lawrence's annotations in the Examiners' Copy and rough copy typescripts above

Diary 1911

Diary kept by Lawrence during a walking tour in the Middle East in 1911

First published for general circulation in OA (and later editions)

  • The Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California, holds the original pencil diary

Wartime reports

  • The National Archives, London, holds many of Lawrence's wartime reports

Introduction to Travels in Arabia Deserta

Published in a slightly edited form in C. M. Doughty, Travels in Arabia Deserta (London, The Medici Society and Jonathan Cape, 1921); The original manuscript version published in T. E. Lawrence, Towards 'An English Fourth' (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 2009)  
  • HRC Texas holds Lawrence's manuscript, 1920 for his introduction to C.M. Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta

Seven Pillars of Wisdom
  • A private collector holds a carbon-copy typescript of the opening chapters of the first draft, 1919, of which the original manuscript was lost.
    Published in T. E. Lawrence, Towards 'An English Fourth' (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 2009)  

  • The Bodleian Library, Oxford, holds a single surviving leaf of the second draft, written early in 1920. Lawrence stated that he burned the remainder
    Published in facsimile in T. E. Lawrence, Towards 'An English Fourth' (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 2009)  

  • HRC Texas holds eight chapters Lawrence drafted during the summer of 1920 for a popular abridgement, to be titled The Arab Revolt. This was based on the second draft of Seven Pillars. After writing these eight chapters he abandoned the project
    Published, showing Lawrence's draft amendments,  in T. E. Lawrence,  Towards 'An English Fourth' (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 2009). Most of the chapters were published in the 1920s, with editorial amendments, as articles in magazines and journals.

  • A private collector owns a typescript of the eight 1920 chapters with pencil corrections, some apparently by Lawrence

  • The Bodleian Library, Oxford, holds the complete manuscript third draft of Seven Pillars, 1920-22. Lawrence had eight copies of this text printed by the Oxford Times printing works on a proofing press.
    Published, with later amendments taken from Lawrence's marked copy below, as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 1997, 2003)

  • A private collector owns Copy No. I of five copies of the Oxford Times proof printing (see above) that Lawrence corrected by hand and had bound in 1922. Copy No. 1 was Lawrence's master copy and contains textual amendments in addition to the manuscript corrections. The other four copies bound and corrected by Lawrence in 1922 are in the Bodleian Library, the British Library (2 copies), and the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. A sixth copy survives, see The Arab War, below.

  • A private collector holds Book VIII of the abridgement that Lawrence issued in a deluxe subscribers' edition in 1926. This is a set of pages from the 1922 Oxford Times proof-printing heavily annotated by Lawrence. It is believed that he destroyed the remainder of the draft for the subscribers' abridgement

The Arab War

  • The Houghton Library, Harvard, holds the draft abridgement of the 1922 'Oxford' text made in the autumn of 1922 by Edward Garnett and T.E. Lawrence

The Forest Giant

Lawrence's translation of Le Gigantesque, a novel by by Adrien Le Corbeau commissioned by Jonathan Cape and published in 1924.

Published as The Forest Giant (London, Jonathan Cape, 1924). Parallel French/English text published as Adrien Le Corbeau | T. E. Lawrence, Le Gigantesque | The Forest Giant (Fordingbridge, Caste Hill press, 2004)

  • HRC Texas holds Lawrence's manuscript draft translation of the dedication

  • In letters to Jonathan Cape Lawrence mentioned both a manuscript and a corrected typescript. If they survive, their location is not recorded.

Revolt in the Desert

Popular abridgement of the 1926 subscribers' text of Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Bernard Shaw, in his review, described it as 'an abridgement of an abridgement'). Lawrence published Revolt to repay the debts he had incurred on the lavish subscribers' edition.

  • HRC Texas holds Lawrence's pencil draft of the abridgement, made on a set of spoiled proofs of the 1926 subscribers' edition

  • The Bodleian Library, Oxford, holds on deposit the fair copy of the abridgement sent to Jonathan Cape for typesetting, together with drafts of several additional paragraphs inserted to justify including particular illustrations

The Mint

Following his enlistment in 1922 Lawrence was sent to the RAF Recruits Training Depot at Uxbridge. There he made detailed notes, for what was intended to be a large-scale book about life in the ranks. When the press revealed that he had enlisted, under a false name, he was discharged and therefore stopped taking notes. Some years later, having been allowed to rejoin the RAF, he decided to turn the Uxbridge notes into a short book. He added a section at the end on Cranwell, where he had served in 1925-6. Lawrence completed The Mint in 1928.

An edition of 50 copies based on the 1928 manuscript presented to Edward Garnett was published in America in 1936 to protect copyright. Another edition, from the same manuscript, was published in 'The Mint' and Later Writings About Service Life (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 2009, 2010). Another text of The Mint, incorporating Lawrence's later amendments, has also been published (London Jonathan Cape, 1955 and later editions) 

  • HRC Texas holds the single surviving page of the original Uxbridge notes, which Lawrence cut up and pasted on to pages by topic 

  • The British Library, London, holds the single surviving page of the second draft

  • The British Library, London, holds Lawrence's working third draft, a typescript with extensive manuscript amendments

  • The Houghton Library, Harvard, holds the fair-copy manuscript that Lawrence presented to Edward Garnett

  • The Bodleian Library, Oxford, holds a typed copy of the fair-copy MS with manuscript amendments by Lawrence

  • The Houghton Library, Harvard, holds a typed copy of the fair-copy MS with manuscript amendments by Lawrence

  • The Bodleian Library, Oxford, holds one of the 50 copies of of the text of Edward Garnett's manuscript printed by Doubleday, Doran in 1936, marked up by A.W. Lawrence to show Lawrence's later amendments on the typescripts. This copy was used to typeset the revised text published in 1955. 

The Odyssey of Homer

Translated into English by T.E. Lawrence, 1928-31.

Published in a deluxe limited edition in 1932. Many later editions.

  • The British Library, London, holds a typescript draft with manuscript corrections

  • The British Library, London, holds Lawrence's manuscript fair copy from which the text was typed, except for the final presentation page which is at HRC Texas

  • A typescript with manuscript amendments is alleged to have passed through the antiquarian book trade some years ago, but we have no record of its current location

  • HRC Texas holds some galley proofs with annotations by Lawrence

RAF 200 Class Seaplane Tender, provisional issue of notes

Instruction manual written by Lawrence in 1932

Published in T. E. Lawrence, Boats for the R.A.F. 1931-1935 (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 2012)

  • Lawrence typed the final version on stencils for reproduction by mimeograph. There is no record of a typed or manuscript draft, but HRC Texas holds the earliest version of a mimeographed copy.

Power boat hull reconditioning

Published in T. E. Lawrence, Boats for the R.A.F. 1931-1935 (Fordingbridge, Castle Hill Press, 2012)

  • HRC Texas holds this log of Lawrence's final work in the RAF (1934-5), reconditioning power boats at RAF Bridlington in Yorkshire


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