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Literary papers of Charles Williams


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Manuscript and typescript copies of poetry, plays, lectures, articles, and religious services by Charles Williams; a small amount of correspondence, both by and about Charles Williams; and literary reviews.


  • Creation: c.1908-1957


1.05 Linear metres (8 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark e.g. MS. 16123/1].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. 16123/1-8

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 16123


Literary papers and correspondence by and relating to Charles Williams, author (1886-1945).

Biographical / Historical

Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886-1945) attended St Albans School followed by the University of London in 1901, but a lack of funding limited his studies to two years. Subsequently, he found work in the Methodist Book Room. In 1908, he gained a post as a reader at Oxford University Press in Amen House, where he would later write play scripts for his colleagues.

Inspired by Dante, and with an interest in the church, Williams wrote several spiritually-themed novels, and Arthurian poetry based on the idea of romantic love as a way to God; a love he experienced in his marriage to Florence Sarah (Michal) Conway. They had one son, Michael Stansby Williams, in 1922.

Charles Williams gained the friendship of C.S. Lewis in 1936 after exchanging letters of mutual respect for each other's writings. Consequently, when Williams moved to Oxford with the University Press upon the outbreak of the Second World War, he was invited to join the 'Inklings': a literary discussion group including Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

While in Oxford, Williams took up tutoring and lectured for the English Faculty, earning him an honourary MA in 1943. Williams remained in Oxford until his death in 1945. His prolific writing career also included religious services, theology, literary criticism, biography, and theatre.


Collection created by Alice Mary Hadfield [for the writing of her 1959 Introduction to Charles Williams, or 1983 biography]. Folders as per original envelopes [labels from envelopes retained in folders], except where similar material collated.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Alice Mary Hadfield, 1983.

Related Materials

Bodleian Library

  1. MS. Eng. c. 3858 - correspondence of Charles Williams with R.B. Montgomery, 1942-1944.
  2. MS. Eng. c. 6825 fols. 48-49 - first letter from Charles Williams to C.S. Lewis, 1936.
  3. MS. Eng. lett. d. 452 - letters and poems by Charles Williams to Ann Renwick, 1939-1944.
  4. MS. Eng. lett. e. 136 - letters from Charles Williams to Thelma and Bertram Shuttleworth, 1929-1945.

Wheaton College, Marion E. Wade Centre

  1. CW/MS 1-508 - Charles Williams manuscripts, 1902-1945.

Oxford University Press

  1. Letters from A.E. Housman to Charles Williams.

BBC Written Archives Centre, Reading

  1. Radio Contributors. Scriptwriters, file 1 - correspondence of Charles Williams with the BBC, 1937-1942.


  • Alice Mary Hadfield, Charles Williams: An Exploration of His Life and Work (Oxford, 1983).
  • Lois Glenn, Charles W.S. Williams: A Checklist (Kent, 1975).
  • Grevel Lindop, Charles Williams: the Third Inkling (Oxford, 2015).
Catalogue of literary papers of Charles Williams
Finding aid prepared by Tilly Guthrie. Based on original box list by Judith Priestman.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom