sub-fonds 697 - Housman family album and other papers of Gerald Symons

Identity area

Reference code

Add. MS a/697


Housman family album and other papers of Gerald Symons


  • [19th cent.]-2014 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 photograph album and one archive box of papers. Photographs, letters (including copies), notes, and ephemera.

Context area

Name of creator

(Born 1926.)

Biographical history

Gerald Symons was born at Atcham, Shropshire, on 8 December 1926, the son of Arthur Denis Symons and his wife Phillis (née Alexander). He was the great-nephew of the writers A. E., Clemence, and Laurence Housman, and has maintained connections with the Housman Society, of which (as of 2018) he is a Vice-President. On Lady Day 1949 he bought a farm at Shillingford in Devon.

Archival history

Earliest material passed down through the family to Gerald Symons, mostly presumably from his grandmother Kate, sister of A. E. Housman; the photostat copies of George Herbert Housman's letters came to him on the death of his uncle Noel Victor Housman Symons in 1986, and the location of the originals is not known. Other material created and accumulated by Gerald Symons.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received from Adrian D. H. Symons, son of Gerald Symons (the great-nephew of A. E. Housman)., in July 2023. Photograph album and letter from A. E. Housman to his sister K. E. Symons purchased; other material received as a gift.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Photograph album, mainly containing photographs of members of the Housman family, with list [in Kate Symons' hand?] identifying the subjects. Some loose photographs and reproductions.

Letter, 26 Jul. 1920, from A. E. Housman to his sister Kate Symons, written from Trinity College.

Letters to Gerald Symons, 1959-2014, from members of the Housman Society and re Housman related events. Letters to and copy letters of Gerald Symons, 1997-2002 re work on the letters of George Herbert Housman, which were published by the Housman Society, edited by Jeremy Bourne, in 2001.

Photostat copies of letters written by George Herbert Housman from Burma to his father, stepmother, and sister Kate, Dec. 1891-Dec. 1892, along with transcriptions of letters by Gerald Symons.

Ephemera collected by Gerald Symons, including tickets, menus, and programmes etc of Housman related events. Family trees; lists of Housman family memorabilia and works by A. E. Housman and Laurence Housman; notes on the Housman family, some evidently prepared as talks.

Newspaper cuttings and extracts on members of the Housman family, 1896-1990s, including several on Tom Stoppard's play about A. E. Housman, The Invention of Love. A number are mounted on paper, with dates and other annotations by Gerald Symons.

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          Accession area