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Manuscripts and papers of Charles Williams


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Manuscript and typescript copies of poetry, plays, and lectures by Charles Williams; copies of significant letters to Charles Williams; reviews by and about Charles Williams, and a list of his works and lectures.


  • Creation: 1920-1960


0.9 Linear metres (6 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark e.g. MS. 16125/1].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. 16125/1-6

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 16125


Manuscript and typescript copies of poetry, plays, and lectures by Charles Williams, author (1886-1945), and reviews of his work.

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 Anne Ridler. Folders as per original envelopes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Anne Ridler, 1966.

Related Materials

Bodleian Library

  1. MS. Eng. c. 3858 - correspondence 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 to Ann Renwick, 1939-1944.
  4. MS. Eng. lett. e. 136 - letters 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 between Charles Williams and 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 manuscripts and papers of Charles Williams
Finding aid prepared by Tilly Guthrie. Original box list prepared 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