Appeal launched for Bletchley Park to buy Turing Papers
Sunday, 14 November 2010

A fundraising appeal has been launched to enable Bletchley Park, UK home of the World War II codebreakers and the birthplace of the modern computer, to purchase a unique collection of Turing's published papers.



The forthcoming November 23rd sale by auction of Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts at Christie's King Street, London salerooms (see Computer history under the hammer) includes:

A collection of Alan Turing's offprints formed by Prof. Maxwell Herman Alexander Newman

described in the catalog as

an unparalleled collection of the writings of the founder of modern computing science, and one that is unlikely to be replicated


Among the offprints are Turing's first published paper and three which comprise  the set "Author's presentation offprints to his mentor have Max Newman's name inscribed in pencil in Turing's hand. Others bear the pencil signature of his mother or annotations by Max Newman. Also in the collection is Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol. 1. London: 1955. containing Newman's obituary of Turing.

The Lot also includes the Visitors' book of the Newman household, 1945-1963 with four signatures by Alan Turing during 1947 to 1948.


The collection testifies to the personal relationship between of Turing and Max Newman whom he regarded as his friend and mentor as well as being a record of Turing's publications.

Small wonder then that the Bletchley Park Museum, where both Alan Turing and Max Newman worked during World War II on codebreaking and on the design of Colossus would be the natural home for this collection.

In launching an appeal to raise the estimated £500,000 required to secure the bid Gareth Halfacree writes:

[These papers] belong in a dedicated museum, but Bletchley Park can't afford the £300,000-£500,000 guide price.

As a result, I'm asking for volunteers to dig deep and see to it that these papers not only stay in this country, but stay where the public can see them and benefit from them.  Let's save them from being locked away in the vaults of a private collector.

It's a big ask, looking for half a million pounds, I know - but if you work for a high-tech company, use a 'universal computer,' or are in any way connected with modern computing, you owe Turing a debt of gratitude - and this could be a way to help repay that debt.

To donate visit:

More info of other lots in the auction:

Computer history under the hammer

About Bletchley park, Turing and Newman:

Alan Turing's ACE


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 November 2010 )