Research and discussion
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 manuscriptsCrusader 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 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
The National Archives, London, holds many of Lawrence's wartime reports
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)
Introduction to Travels in Arabia Deserta
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
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
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset