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Tom Burns Papers

Identifier: GTM-110610

Scope and Contents Note

The Tom Burns Papers document the life and career of British Catholic author and long-time editor of "The Tablet" Tom Burns (1906-1995).

The Tom Burns Papers contain correspondence with a number of individuals, including a small amount of correspondence with notables, such as Tom Dilworth, Eric Gill, Rev. Robert A. Graham, S.J., Harman Grisewood, Rene Hague, Basil Hume, and Michael Richey. Also included are documents about David Jones and Michael Richey. A run of a fascinating family magazine entitled "B-Hive," created by the Burns family, is preserved in the collection. Some family correspondence among Tom Burns, his wife Mabel Burns, and his son Jimmy Burns is also present. A series of documents concerning Henry John and a series of letters from Rev. Martin D'Arcy, S.J. to Henry John are noteworthy, too. Manuscripts by Tom Burns, printed materials, and correspondence about the death of Tom Burns round out the collection. The Tom Burns Papers are stored in 3 archival boxes (1.5 linear feet).


  • 1882 - 2006
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1995

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical Sketch

Tom Burns (1906-1995) was an British Roman Catholic author and publisher who was a longtime editor of "The Tablet" from 1967 to 1982. Born on April 21, 1906, in Chile, Tom Burns was the son of a Scottish businessman. His family relocated to London. He studied at Wimbledon College and Stonyhurst, where he knew Rev. Martin D'Arcy, S.J.

In London, Frank Sheed asked Burns to become part of a new publishing house, Sheed and Ward. In 1936, Burns joined the publisher Longman Green. During World War II, Burns served as press attache at the British embassy in Madrid, Spain. After the end of World War II, Tom Burns worked as managing director of Burns and Oates, a Catholic publishing firm. Burns then became editor of "The Tablet" in 1967, and he held that position until 1982. John Wilkins became editor of "The Tablet" after Burns.

In 1944, Tom Burns married Mabel Maranon. The couple had four children.

In 1993, Sheed and Ward published Tom Burns' autobiography entitled, "The Use of Memory." Tom Burns died on December 8, 1995.

[Source: Obituary of Tom Burns by John Wilkins in "The Independent," December 9, 1995.]


2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Tom Burns Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057