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BNPS.co.uk (01202) 558833 <br />
Pic: ZacharyCulpin/BNPS<br />
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Pictured: Sam Johnston, manager of the archives. Sam is pictured with boxes from the archive marked TH, he is holding plans for Hardy's home, Max Gate. Sam said: "This collection is the jewel in Dorset's heritage crown and it is on the UNESCO list along with the Magna Carta and Domesday book.<br />
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Steps are underway to make the world's largest collection of Thomas Hardy material available to the public for the first time.<br />
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The Mayor of Casterbridge writer's letters, drawings and books, many previously unseen, have been kept in pristine condition away from the public gaze.<br />
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The treasure trove has been preserved in over 150 boxes by Dorset History Museum, in Dorchester, since the death of Hardy's second wife, Florence, in 1937.<br />
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Now, a project called Unlocking Thomas Hardy, organised by the Dorset Archives Trust, is trying to raise £60,000 to make the archive available to view online.<br />
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Previously, the archive has only been available to specialists who could ask to view specific pieces in it.