Home  / PC - Patricia Crampton Archive

PC - Patricia Crampton Archive

Reference code
Level of description
Patricia Crampton Archive
Quantity & Format
16 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. Crampton 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. Crampton 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.

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

She first worked professionally as a document translator and reviewer with the office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Nuremberg (1947). 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 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 Sean Crampton (1959); they had two children, Harriet (1962) and Daniel (1964). The couple lived in Brentford, later settling in Calne, Wiltshire.

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

Crampton 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 renumeration and better recognition. She worked on the Nairobi Recommendation (UNESCO) in 1976. 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). Crampton helped to transform the Translators’ Guild into the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, 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.

Crampton 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 Caille Medal was given to Crampton 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
The collection is in the process of being catalogued and is CLOSED until October 2022. Records described here may be subject to change.

Prize-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. Crampton was the recipient of numerous literary awards and prizes, and a strong advocate for the rights of translators. She worked as a translator on the Nuremberg war crimes trials and her archive also contains correspondence from that period.
Conditions governing access
The collection is in the process of being catalogued and is CLOSED until October 2022.
Powered by CollectionsIndex+ Collections Online