The Mass Observation Archive includes over 50 collections of related papers. These are documents that have been created outside of the first Mass Observation project (1937-1950s) and of the current Mass Observation Project.
These collections include projects initiated by Mass Observation Archive staff, as well as collections created by external organisations and projects which have been developed in accordance with Mass Observation’s aim to record everyday life.
Accessing the related collections
These collection can be consulted at The Keep. The catalogue for the personal paper collection can viewed on The Keep website.
Examples from the collection
Since 2010, the Mass Observation Archive has been collecting day diaries written on 12th May. This project is inspired by Mass Observation’s 1937 call for diaries written on the day of the coronation of King George VI. This collection also includes diaries written by school children and prisoners.
The Cooperative Correspondence Club began in 1935 when a young woman, writing under the pen name Ubique, wrote a letter to the magazine Nursery World. Other mothers living all over the United Kingdom replied via Nursery World saying that they too were suffering from boredom and loneliness. The women agreed that they would start writing to each other through a correspondence magazine called the Cooperative Correspondence Club (CCC). This collection contains the letters by CCC and handmade magazine covers. In 2007, Faber & Faber published Can Any Mother Help Me? by Jenna Bailey, which uses material from this collection
In 1995, the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education advertised its 'Dairy of 1000 Adult Learners' project as part of the celebration that would accompany the 1996 European Year of Lifelong Learning and its own 75th Anniversary. Individuals and groups were invited to keep a diary of activities for any week in the Autumn Term 1995, to 'show how adults are learning in the 1990s'. Extracts from the diaries, and conclusions drawn from the survey, were published as Through the Joy of Learning: Diaries of 1000 Adult Learners (NIACE, 1996)
In 1986, Kenneth Barrow, inspired by his membership of the Mass Observation Project, launched a Mass Observation-style project to collect autobiographical reports from gay men and women. The Survey's aim was to gather material which would enable researchers to understand what it meant to be a homosexual in the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century. Two books have been published from the collection: What a Lesbian Looks Like: Writings by Lesbians on Their Lives and Lifestyles (Routledge, 1992) and Proust, Cole Porter, Michelangelo, Marc Almond and Me: Writings by Gay Men on Their Lives and Lifestyles (Routledge, 1993)
Search '88 was an organisation raising funds for cancer research and palliative care. It organised a photographic competition in which contestants sent, with an entry fee of £1, a photograph taken on 14th August 1987. This photograph was intended to 'capture' the essence of Britain. Some 100,000 photographs were received; 4000 were shortlisted and of those 350 were published in One Day for Life: photographs by the people of Britain, taken on a single day.