This collection of over 300 books was acquired to support the work of Professor J. T. Boulton (1924-2013) in his role as editor of D. H. Lawrence’s (1885-1930) letters and as general editor of the D. H. Lawrence Project at the Cambridge University Press.
The collection consists of important first and rare editions of Lawrence's works, together with biographical and critical monographs and journals.
Significant editions of the major novels include:
- The Rainbow (Methuen, 1915) Lawrence's publishers were concerned about the sexually overt content of this novel. On publication there was an immediate call for it to be suppressed, so when they failed to defend it and conceded “that they regretted having published it”, copies were ordered to be destroyed. Only part of the print run survived.
- Women in love (New York, 1920) Although this book was completed in 1916, no English publisher dared to issue it until Lawrence's new American publisher, Thomas Seltzer, issued it in this privately subscribed edition.
- Lady Chatterley’s lover (Florence: privately printed, 1928) A signed copy of the limited first edition of Lawrence's most notorious novel. It was issued by the Italian publisher Tipografia Giunti. It was not published in this unexpurgated form in England until Penguin books won their celebrated court case in 1960.
Examples of Lawrence's stories include:
- Rawdon's roof (London: Woburn books No. 7; Elkin Mathews & Marrot, 1928) A signed limited edition specially printed at the University Press in Glasgow.
- The escaped cock (Paris: Black Sun Press, 1929) A limited edition decorated in watercolours by the author.
There are also rare editions of the poems, such as:
- Tortoises (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1921) With an illustrated upper cover incorporating a tortoise suspended from scaffolding against a background print of Fujiyama by Hiroshige.
- Birds, beasts and flowers (London: The Cresset Press, 1930) A limited edition on mould-made paper with engravings by Blair Hughes-Stanton.
Rare editions of Lawrence's plays in the collection include:
- Touch and go (London: Daniel, 1920) The second drama issued in the series Plays for a People's Theatre.
- David (London: Secker, 1926) A limited edition in its original blue slipcase.
Other genres represented here include:
- theoretical works, such as Apocalypse (Lungarno series, Florence: Orioli, 1931). This is a limited edition printed on Binda paper with a frontispiece photograph of Lawrence taken in Chapala, Mexico in 1922
- travel books, such as Sea and Sardinia (London: Secker, 1923), which is a first edition with eight pictures in colour by Jan Juta
- translations, such as Cavalleria rusticana: and other stories (London: Cape, 1928) by Giovanni Verga with an introduction by Lawrence.
There is also a copy of the scarce Paintings of D. H. Lawrence (London: Privately printed for subscribers only, The Mandrake Press, ), of which very few copies are known to have survived. An exhibition of the paintings in London was closed down by the police on charges of obscenity and the paintings were confiscated. The book includes an essay on art and painting by Lawrence, and illustrations in full colour of 15 of his oil paintings and 11 watercolours, together with two woodcuts.
There are also several copies of original loose parts of journals in which Lawrence's work was first published, often in variant forms, including issues of The Forum, The Adelphi, The English Review, The London Mercury, The Dial, The Bookman and The Monthly Criterion.