The ELT Archive is a stand-alone, browsable historical collection of published and unpublished materials relating to the teaching of English as a foreign language and the development of applied linguistics, c.1880–c.1980. The collection now constitutes a unique resource for students, teachers, researchers and others interested in the history of ELT, and the history of language teaching and applied linguistics more broadly. We welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students (see below for some areas of possible supervision) and other researchers interested in using the Archive.


Now housed on mobile shelving in the Centre's new Learning Resources Room, this unique collection has been built up gradually by Dr Richard Smith since 2002, initially on the basis of donations of materials from members and former members of staff in the (then) Centre for English Language Teacher Education (now, Centre for Applied Linguistics), University of Warwick, and latterly on the basis of acquisitions from a wider variety of interested individuals and institutions/organizations (see below for a full list of donors). In March 2005 a substantial existing collection was incorporated, the Edinburgh Dakin Collection, and in December 2010 a significant donation of materials from Dr Charles Forbes (which we have termed the 'Forbes Collection') enhanced our holdings in the areas of U.S. and Middle Eastern publications.


The 'Publications' and 'Research' tabs above provide details of recent activities. These include Richard Smith's journal articles 'Building applied linguistic historiography' (Applied Linguistics, 2015) and (with A.P.R. Howatt) 'The history of Teaching English as a Foreign Language, from a British and European perspective’ (Language and History, 2014). Also, we are building links with researchers at the University of Hyderabad, India, currently (in 2016-17) via a split-site PhD supervision arrangement funded by the Commonwealth Scholarships programme. The ELT Archive itself has a bias towards British and (to a lesser extent) American texts and documents and there have been recent projects funded by the British Council (see below). Nevertheless, a particular research interest we have is in the way history can provide counter-narratives to hegemonic western ELT/TESOL traditions, via localization of these traditions and exploration of 'periphery' histories (for example, in work relating to Japanese, and more recently Indian ELT history).

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In the past the Archive has benefited from a grant by the A.S. Hornby Educational Trust. During 2009-2011, we also received financial support from The British Council, in connection with two specific research projects – one (completed in 2009) to establish both a physical archive and a database of UK-funded ELT projects worldwide, the other (2010-11) a research project on the history of the overall relationship between ELT and The British Council. In the course of both projects we developed and are continuing to build significant special collections of evaluation reports related to ELT projects and past British Council publications. Both projects also enabled us to catalogue and shelve a large number of previously uncatalogued items (see latest catalogue here). The 2010-11 project additionally enabled us to digitalize some important resources, some of which - when permissions allow - we are gradually uploading to this website. We also supported the British Council's 75th anniversary Milestones in ELT initiative (launched in November 2009) to place a number of its past publications online.

The Warwick ELT Archive consists primarily of:

There is also provision for storage and consultation of primary sources, including:

We continue to welcome all offers of donations to the collection in the above or other categories, within the broad field of ‘Development of ELT and Applied Linguistics, c.1900–c.1980’. Any donation which is accepted will be fully acknowledged on the material itself and in our catalogue.

To date we have received significant donations of materials from the following institutions/organizations and individuals, to whom we are very grateful:

If you are interested in consulting items in the Archive, in donating material or in conducting doctoral or post-doctoral research please write to:

The ELT Archive, Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

or contact Dr Richard Smith, the founder and curator of the collection, at: