Working toward an online catalogue for the Edward James Archive

The Edward James Archive Project has moved to the cataloguing stage following the installation of the new Adlib collections management software. Cataloguing of the Cultural Papers section of the archive, comprising material relating to James's patronage of the arts, began in July. Significant groups of letters catalogued so far include James's personal correspondence with the fashion photographer, Cecil Beaton (beginning in 1935), and with the Mexican art curator, Inés Amor. Photographs by Beaton (some signed) of James, Salvador Dalí and the American actress, Ruth Ford, are included. The catalogue, when completed, will provide us for the first time with a full description and referencing of the Cultural Papers. This will enable us to gain complete knowledge of the content of the Papers and the interconnections between the various projects and people represented. The catalogue is also expected to augment existing provenance knowledge for some of the artworks that once formed Edward James's collection.

The Adlib software creates a structured catalogue which conforms to international archival description standards and which will be made searchable on the internet in 2019. The software will also enormously enhance the management of West Dean's collections of objects and artworks.

Explore Categories

The Edward James Archive is currently closed for external research requests. This is due to the cataloguing project outlined above.

If you have an urgent archive request please email the Archives team at archives@westdean.org.uk with the subject header to include - For the attention of the Director of Education, Francine Norris.

The completion of the cataloguing project will improve the search ability of the Edward James Archive and, in due course, enable researchers to have greater access to it. This significant development will benefit both students at West Dean College and the wider national and international research community. We appreciate your patience for the duration of this cataloguing project and please keep updated on progress via our blog page.