Roger Fry was born in Highgate, London in 1866. He was educated at St George's School, Ascot and Clifton College, and studied Natural Sciences at King's College between 1885 and 1889. He was elected to the Cambridge Apostles in 1887. In 1889 he attended Francis Bate's art school in Hammersmith.
Roger Fry became an expert on old Italian masters and French Post-Impressionist painters. He was Curator of the New York Metropolitan Museum between 1906 and 1910. On his return to England he put on two controversial exhibitions of modern French art. Fry opened the Omega workshops in 1913 to encourage young artists into interior decoration, and helped John Maynard Keynes to form the London Artists' Association in the 1920s.
Fry wrote several books about art and gave popular public lectures. In 1933 he became the Slade Professor at Cambridge University. His own paintings included portraits of friends in the Bloomsbury Group.
Roger Fry married Helen Coombe on 3 December 1896; they had two children, Pamela and Julian. Helen became mentally unstable and spent most of her life in a home. From 1920 Fry spent a large part of each year in Provence.
The collection includes lectures, correspondence, sketchbooks etc. accumulated by Fry during his lifetime. It also contains secondary material comprising correspondence, photocopies, notes and news cuttings assembled since Fry's death by his sister Margery, daughter Pamela Diamand, biographer Virginia Woolf, bibliographer Donald Laing and editor Denys Sutton.
The majority of Fry's papers were presented by his daughter, Pamela Diamand between 1976 and 1981.
The first listing was prepared in the late 1970s. A new catalogue was produced in 1995 which has separated records which may be considered Fry's own from those subsequently acquired.