Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

T. E. Lawrence Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: SEH
Date: Jan 1994

Biographical History

Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935) was an British archaeologist, soldier, and author whose exploits in the Middle East during the First World War and whose novel, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (1926), earned him the name "Lawrence of Arabia."

Lawrence was born in Tremandoc, Caernavonshire, Wales on August 15, 1888 to Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner. He attended Jesus College at Oxford University and graduated in 1910. While at Oxford, Lawrence studied archaeology taking particular interest in the Middle East. He first joined the British Army in 1914 as a lieutenant, but by 1917 was promoted to lieutenant colonel. His work with British Intelligence during the First World War earned him the name "Lawrence of Arabia" among his countrymen, as well as the respect and confidence of the Arab people. After the war, Lawrence acted as advisor to the Colonial Office. In 1922, he resigned his post and enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) under the name John Hume Ross. The following year, Lawrence joined the Army Tank Corps and assumed the name T. E. Shaw. He died on May 19, 1935 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash near his home at Clouds Hill, Dorset.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The T. E. Lawrence Letters consists of three outgoing items of correspondence of the British archaeologist, soldier, and author known as Lawrence of Arabia (1888-1935). Using his assumed surname, "Shaw," in a letter to Mr. Ingham (09 Mar 1935) Lawrence wrote:

The Arab Revolt is a very-often told story, of which I thought everybody was sick, like me.... During the war I made up my mind that I would not profit out of it. That seems to me an obvious course still: and there is no fun in working at a thing if you are not going to get paid for it. So I won't write anything more, upon any terms. A semi-charity got most of the earnings of Revolt in the Desert, and all I got was the very unwelcome notoriety.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains one series, Correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically by recipient.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Childs, W. J.
Ingham, Mr.
Lawrence, T. E. (Thomas Edward), 1888-1935.


Archaeologists -- England.
Authors, English.
Soldiers -- England.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

T. E. Lawrence Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of George and Lena Arents.

Table of Contents