Dozens of letters from Virginia Woolf’s friends and family, detailing her life and work, have been acquired by the University of St Andrews.

The archive of typed and handwritten letters includes two previously unseen photographs of the influential writer among the cache collected by biographer Brownlee Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick consulted Leonard Woolf, Virginia's husband, who subsequently recommended her to the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis as Virginia Woolf's official bibliographer in 1951.

Leonard Woolf's letters are described as "wide-ranging and revealing" and contain reminiscences about his late wife and their collaborations, including the Hogarth Press, which the couple began during the early years of their marriage and on which they published Virginia’s novels, TS Eliot’s masterpiece The Wasteland, Dostoyevsky’s The Devils, and the complete works of Sigmund Freud.

The Special Collections unit of the University of St Andrews has been working in partnership with staff in the school of English to develop a Virginia Woolf and Hogarth Press research collection.

The University's archive material is made accessible to both academic and the public in a Special Collections Reading Room.

Professor of English at St Andrews, Susan Sellers is general editor of Virginia Woolf’s writings for Cambridge University Press, alongside Dr Jane Goldman from the University of Glasgow.

Professor Sellers has written an award-winning novel Vanessa and Virginia about the close and sometimes fraught relationship between Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell.

Professor Sellers said: "The value of this acquisition cannot be overstated.

"This archive provides a wealth of information not only about Virginia Woolf the writer, but also offers fascinating glimpses into Virginia Woolf the woman through the letters of the people who were close to her.

"Various members of the so-called Bloomsbury circle are here, and it is fascinating to see history in the making as Virginia Woolf’s posthumous reputation begins to be recorded and manufactured.

"This archive will put St Andrews even more firmly on the map as a world-ranking centre for the study of literary modernism in general and Virginia Woolf as one of its great proponents in particular."

The archive was acquired with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Friends of the National Libraries.