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PC - Patricia Crampton Archive

Reference code
Level of description
Patricia Crampton Archive
Quantity & Format
18 boxes Mixed
Personal name
Bruna, Dick
Lindgren, Astrid, 1907-2002
Children's books -- Translations into English
Translation, Literary
Nuremberg trial of major German war criminals, 1945-1946
Crampton, Patricia, 1925-2016
Administrative/Biographical history
Patricia Elizabeth Cardew Wood (Crampton), born 12 December 1925 in Bombay, India. Daughter of Col. Leslie John Cardew Wood, Royal Engineers, and of Vera Marion, née Kell. PC learned Hindi in her earliest years before the family returned to England. She settled with her parents in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire in 1930 prior to the birth of her younger sister Jennifer (1934-2013). Unusually, she started learning French immediately during her education at High March School (1930-1935) and then began German at Oakdene School, Beaconsfield (1935-1943). She took up Latin there only two years before her Oxford entrance exam. PC spent some time unofficially with the Home Guard, as well as working in a nearby munitions’ factory during the school holidays and as a junior Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) at Bisham Abbey on leaving school.

PC's Wellington bomber pilot boyfriend Robert (Bob) Cosgrave, elder brother of her best friend from school, was killed in training, on 13 June 1941. PC was age 15.

She attended St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, 1943-6, Modern Languages (German and French), BA Hons II (1946); MA (1950).

After graduating she travelled to Sweden for three months where she stayed with several families, taught English and developed keen interests in Swedish as a Germanic language.

Her first professional post was with the office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Nuremberg (1947-49). Her role was primarily at the English Section as a document translator and reviewer at the Palace of Justice, where she worked on the trials of SS Officers, Nazi doctors accused of conducting medical experiments on wartime prisoners as well as the trial of German chemical company I G Farben.

In 1949 she moved to London (and later Paris) where she worked as a commercial translator for a number of years, including for NATO and the British American Tobacco Company, London (1955).

She set up as a freelance book translator following her marriage to sculptor Seán Crampton (1959); they had two children, Harriet (1962) and Daniel (1964). The couple lived in Brentford, later settling in Calne, Wiltshire.

PC was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Linguists (FIL) in 1961 and translated at sessions of the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 1973.

PC translated the Dutch author Paul Biegel, books by Dick Bruna, Janosch, Godfried Bomans and Gudrun Pausewang amongst many others. In particular, she is remembered for her work translating Astrid Lindgren as well as other Scandinavian children’s authors such as Anne Holm, Alf Prøysen, Hans-Eric Hellberg, Inger Sandberg and Anne-Catharina Vestly.

She was an active campaigner for translators’ working conditions, particularly remuneration and better recognition. She worked on the 'Nairobi Recommendation' (UNESCO, 1976) for the legal protection of translators. When the Public Lending Right was introduced in 1979, she made a compelling case for British translators to receive a share of payments based on library borrowings, and she also championed model contracts protecting translators’ rights.

She served on and/or chaired numerous associations, committees and juries including the Translators’ Association, the Translators’ Guild, the Hans Christian Andersen Award jury, SELTA (Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association), and IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People). PC helped to transform the Translators’ Guild into the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), she was a member of the Society of Authors for more than fifty years (and served as its Deputy Chairman, 1978-1981), and attended many international IBBY Congresses.

PC played a large part in setting up the Bernard Shaw Prize for translation from Swedish, and she herself won no fewer than 15 prestigious prizes and awards. In 1984 she was awarded the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for her translation of ‘Marbot’ by Wolfgang Hildesheimer. She twice won Mildred L. Batchelder Awards for translations: ‘Ronia the Robber's Daughter’ by Astrid Lindgren in 1984 and ‘No Hero for the Kaiser’ by Rudolf Frank in 1987. In 1991 she received the Eleanor Farjeon award, for distinguished service to the world of British children's books. In 1996 the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (FIT) Pierre-François Caillé Medal was given to PC for her services to translation.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The Archive was gifted to UEA by Patricia Crampton's family in 2016.
Scope and content
Award-winning literary translator Patricia Crampton (1925-2016), translated over 200 children’s books and over 50 adult novels, primarily from German, French, Dutch and Scandinavian languages. PC was a strong advocate for the rights of translators and made significant contributions to the translation profession. In her early twenties she worked as a translator on the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and her archive contains correspondence from that period.

In addition, there is correspondence and biographical material on the authors which PC translated, the most prominent being Astrid Lindgren, Dick Bruna, Paul Biegel and Wolfgang Hildesheimer (interpreter, novelist, playwright and painter with whom PC had an early romantic relationship). Each of these authors has their own series.

Series PC/18 Memoirs is particularly useful for biographical content on PC and an overview of her achievements.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright is owned by the Patricia Crampton Estate or third parties. It does not belong to UEA. All rights are reserved.

Copying of material is prohibited without permission of the copyright owner. Under UK copyright law, a small amount of copying, under fair dealing, is permitted for private research on completion of a copyright declaration form. The amount of copying must be checked by Archives staff. It is not permitted to publish or share this material without permission of the copyright holder.
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