This is a catalogue of the correspondence of William Dugdale used in the writing of William Dugdale: A Life of the Warwickshire Historian and Herald. It covers the period from 1635, when Dugdale was beginning his antiquarian research among the papers of the local gentry, through the development of his career as a scholar and a herald to his death in 1686. Only the period of the civil war is unrepresented in the archive. The Date Index includes a graphical representation of the distribution of the correspondence across this period. There are 254 correspondents identified in the Index of Correspondents, including many antiquaries, other scholars, bishops and archbishops, heralds, arms painters, lawyers, members of Dugdale's extended family and gentlemen from across the Midlands and North of England.
A collection of Dugdale's letters was edited by William Hamper in the nineteenth century (available through the Internet Archive). Links are provided to the transcriptions of letters found there. This catalogue contains four times as many letters as were included by Hamper. Some of these additional letters were known to Hamper, but omitted from his edition. Others, most notably those held by the College of Arms and the personal letters to his wife's family appear to have been unknown to him. The shortage of paper in the seventeenth century meant that Dugdale was in the habit of reusing the letters he received for his own notes and as markers. As a result many fragments of letters have survived, some of which were painstakingly pieced together by Hamper. The decision as to which fragments to include in this catalogue is necessarily somewhat arbitrary.