Photograph of the Month

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Female Collier from Rose Bridge Pits, Wigan, 1869

Our final photograph for this year is taken from the Munby Collection. This major 19th-century collection of photographs and diaries, put together by Arthur J Munby (1828-1910), came to Trinity in the early 20th century and was opened, after an interval under the terms of the bequest, in 1950.

The collection’s significance lies in the interest Munby showed in the lives of working women. He kept diaries, made notes and sketches, and amassed a major collection of photographs including those of pit brow girls, female colliers, fisher girls, milk women, acrobats and domestic servants. The Sub-Librarian, Sandy Paul, discusses his interest in the collection here.

The entire collection will eventually be accessible via Adam Matthew Publications. In the meantime a few images are reproduced below:

Further Reading:

Hiley, M., Victorian Working Women: Portraits from Life (London, 1979)

Recent Additions to the Wren Digital Library (III)

B.3.32_f004rB.2.17, f.37vO.7.35_f033vO.2.34. f.1r179_o-5-5_f083v

Recent additions to the Wren Digital Library include a volume from the Benedictine Cathedral Priory in Canterbury (Christ Church), a 15th century volume of sermons on the Gospels, a book of alchemy once owned by Dr Dee, several Greek texts and a beautifully ornamented theological text.

B.3.32, Augustini et Aliorum Sermones

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B.3.32, f.4r

This manuscript is written in a script identified by Dr Teresa Webber of Trinity as the ‘Christ Church style’ and indicates that the training of scribes that took place within the community of the Priory. Other examples include B.3.5 and B.5.28. In a period of considerable production (1090-1120) these scribes worked alongside those who had been trained elsewhere – for example in manuscript O.4.34 – and those who employed a combination of styles (for example in R.15.22).

B.2.17, Sermons on the Gospels in English

B.2.17, f.37v
B.2.17, f.37v

This volume contains a number of Wycliffite sermons. It was given to the Library by Thomas Nevile, but prior to that belonged to William Chark, a puritan preacher, religious controversialist and ejected fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.

O.7.35, Alchemica

O.7.35, f033v
O.7.35, f33v

This volume is from the library of the Tudor physician, Dr John Dee. He owned one of the greatest private libraries of 16th century England which he claimed comprised over 3000 books and 1000 manuscripts. Dee’s library catalogue is also at Trinity College (O.4.20). The featured page of this Book of Alchemy has a diagram of a furnace.

O.2.34, Fragmenta Graeca, etc

O.2.34, f.1r

There are over forty medieval Greek manuscripts in the Wren Library, many of which have now been digitised. They can be found by searching the online catalogue using the search term ‘language’ and selecting ‘Greek’. The featured volume was formerly bound with O.8.33 and also contains a page of astrological text in English (f. i).

O.5.5, Vigilius Thapsensis etc

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O.5.5, f.83v

This manuscript was produced, probably in northern France, during the 14th century. As well as beautiful ornamented borders, it also contains several larger illuminations. M. R. James commented ‘It is unusual to find so sumptuous a copy of comparatively uncommon patristic tracts’.

Sources, Further Reading and Useful Links:

Webber, T., ‘Script and Manuscript Production at Christ Church’ in Canterbury and the Norman Conquest: Churches, Saints and Scholars 1066-1109, Eales, R. and Sharpe, R. (eds), London (1995), pp. 145-158.

The Pinakes website for Greek manuscripts.

The Pethick-Lawrences: A Radical Partnership

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Visitors to the Wren Library during the next few weeks will be able to see a special display case containing items from the Pethick-Lawrence collection. For those unable to visit, we have devised an online exhibition (click on the top left box labelled Prologue to begin):

 

 

For those who would prefer to examine the exhibits in more detail see below (click on the images to open the document viewer).

PROLOGUE

Emmeline Pethick and Frederick Lawrence, both from middle-class backgrounds, met in 1900 through their involvement in social work in the East End of London.

Emmeline first came to London to manage a club for young working women, and she and her friend Mary Neal had gone on to establish their own club, with a related dressmaking business.

Fred, a Trinity man, had been inspired by the university settlement movement, the aim of which was to encourage university-educated people to live and work in deprived urban areas, and he was working at a settlement house in the East End when he met and fell in love with Emmeline.

Fred had been intending to pursue a career as a Liberal Unionist MP, but Emmeline, a fervent socialist, challenged him to reconsider his political views, and after a period of serious reflection, which included a trip to South Africa to observe the effects of the Boer War, he came to adopt a more radical position.

The couple married in 1901 and took the unusual step of linking their surnames.

PASSION

Emmeline’s l001_peth7_48-p1etter to Fred on 27 June 1901, just after his first proposal of marriage, contains a heartfelt declaration of her commitment to socialism:

… my first consciousness was the clearest, strongest & most inveterate sense of the dignity & worth of the human body & soul above everything else ~ and this has forced me into life long campaign ~ against every sort of bondage, against all sorts of established authorities: and it is [this which] has kept me (not by choice but by inward necessity) always against the stream …  This is the great contest of the coming century: the life and death struggle of human life against material mastery.

VOTES FOR WOMEN

From 1906 the Pethick-Lawrences were at the heart of the peth-6_109-frontmilitant wing of the women’s suffrage movement, which they helped to organise and finance. Emmeline became treasurer of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and devised its distinctive colour scheme of purple, white, and green: “Purple as everyone knows is the royal colour, it stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity … white stands for purity in private and public life … green is the colour of hope and thpeth-3_272-10e emblem of spring.”

Fred founded the newspaper Votes for Women, which he co-edited with his wife.

 

 

 

 

PRISON

Emmeline was imprisoned six times for her actions in support of the suffragette movement, and Fred also went to prison for the cause. Both endured forcible feeding while on hunger strike. These are some of the letters they were allowed to write to each other from prison:

Peth7/168Peth7/167Peth7/111

CONSPIRACY

Some in the suffrage movement, including Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel, felt that violent measures such as the smashing of shop-windows and arson were justified ways of drawing attention to the peth7_170-p22cause.

After a spate of window-breaking in March 1912 the Pethick-Lawrences were arrested and tried for conspiracy, even though they opposed this form of protest. This is the text of Emmeline’s speech to the jury.

The Pethick-Lawrences spent large amounts of money on legal costs and fines, both for themselves and others, and eventually had to auction the contents of their home, though they just escaped bankruptcy.

DIVISION

As a result of their objections to violent protest the Pethick-Lawrences were induced to leave the WSPU, though they continued to edit Votes for Women. These are two of the letters exchanged between the two Emmelines at this time:

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EPILOGUE

In 1918 the suffrage movement in the United Kingdom finally began to see success, with the grant of the vote to certain categories of women over the age of 30.

After the First World War Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence became a well-known international campaigner for women’s rights and peace.

Her husband became a Labour MP. In 1942 he was briefly Leader of the Opposition, and as Secretary of State for India between 1945 and 1947 he was instrumental in the negotiations which led to that country’s independence. He was raised to the peerage in 1945.

Lord and Lady Pethick-Lawrence at the gate of their Surrey home in 1949.
Lord and Lady Pethick-Lawrence at the gate of their Surrey home in 1949.

 

Photograph of the Month

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Add.P.315

Henry Martyn Taylor (1842–1927) was an undergraduate at Trinity and later a Fellow. A mathematician who contributed to the study of geometry, he is also remembered for an innovation which made mathematical texts more accessible to blind people. After catching influenza at the age of 52, his sight was damaged and he eventually became completely blind. Undeterred, he familiarised himself with Braille script and the Braille typing machine and went on to develop a series of new symbols for mathematical notation and diagrams within the Braille system. He also founded the Embossed Scientific Books Fund under the auspices of the Royal Society in order to make these texts more widely available.

Bromide and champagne: a new glimpse of Housman at Trinity

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A. E. Housman, portrait drawing by William Rothenstein, Trinity College Cambridge

A. E. Housman lived in Trinity College for the last 25 years of his life, following his appointment as Professor of Latin at Cambridge in 1911. A newly discovered collection of 53 hitherto unknown letters to his godson reveals much about life in College between the wars. While a student at Oxford in 1887-81, Housman developed an infatuation for his contemporary Moses Jackson, and his disappointment that the love was unrequited is often seen to have contributed to the wistfulness of many of Housman’s poems. Moses Jackson subsequently married and emigrated to India, but he remained in contact with Housman, who became godfather to Jackson’s fourth son, Gerald. Gerald Jackson kept his godfather’s letters, and they have recently been acquired from his family as a major addition to Trinity’s Housman collections.

 

The letters span Housman’s final decade, from 1927 to 1936. Gerald Jackson, born in 1900, had left university to undertake geological fieldwork in the copper mines of Northern Rhodesiaimg_9356. In 1927 he was considering pursuing a research degree in geology, and wrote to his godfather for advice on studying in Cambridge. Housman was characteristically diffident, writing that ‘it is no good asking my opinion and advice, which are valueless, as I stick to my job and know hardly anything about scientific studies here’. He nevertheless made arrangements with Tresillian Nicholas, the geologist who was about to be appointed Senior Bursar of Trinity, for Jackson to be kept a table in the College laboratory. In the end Jackson ended up studying at the Royal School of Mines, part of Imperial College London, but spent a few months at Trinity from November 1930, staying in B3 New Court. A letter from this time demonstrates Housman’s wish to be welcoming while following correct protocol with D. A. Winstanley, the Senior Tutor: ‘once you are admitted it will not be possible for me to ask you to the High Table, so will you come and dine with me in Hall on Monday, the first day I have free; and I will ask Winstanley to put off your fall in the social scale till afterwards.’

Jackson completed his D.Sc. in London, but Housman continued to profess ignorance whenever Jackson sent him some of his geological writings: ‘what it chiefly teaches me is the wealth of the English language, and my ignorance of it . . . full of beautiful new words, both long and short, of which my favourite is “ong” . . . The vocabulary, like the English army at Bannockburn, was “gay yet fearful to behold”.’

rs3830_tcl003404-hprHousman was a diligent and generous godfather, supporting his godson financially in order to enable him to prolong his decision of a final career. From 1932 Jackson trained in medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital, and he visited Housman in Trinity from time to time over the following years. Housman was always keen to pass on pieces of College news, and these give an air of the Combination Room conversation of the 1930s. In February 1933, Housman was appalled that ‘the Lent races are just over, in which Third Trinity was bumped by Fitzwilliam Hall, a disgrace unknown in history’, while the following month ‘the bronze Hermes in Whewell’s Court had his body painted black and his face yellow on the last night of term’. Later in 1933 Housman became ill for a prolonged period, but he had recovered sufficiently by the end of the year to eat 52 oysters on New Year’s Eve.

In 1935, following further medical problems, Housman moved from his rooms on K staircase of Whewell’s Court to B2 Great Court, a ground-floor set, ‘exceedingly comfortable, and the bathroom, which the College has equipped at its own expense, strikes the beholder dumb with admiration’. Although wisteria growing outside the window made it rather dark, the location was convenient for the Hall and for the lecture room (which is now the College bar). Before asking Jackson to send him a smoked ox tongue from Fortnum & Mason, Housman informed the trainee doctor of his own preferred medicine: ‘My walking is weak and slow, and for getting to sleep I am using diminishing doses of bromide, supplemented with champagne.’ Despite these sound preventative measures, Housman’s health continued to deteriorate, and following a period in the Evelyn Nursing Home, he briefly returned to College late in 1935, where he died on 30 April 1936. His last letter to his godson thanked him for sending a carefully chosen box of sweets to the staff of the nursing home on his behalf.

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The letters were purchased by the College through the generosity of an alumnus with particular interests in Housman. Harry Richardson Creswick was University Librarian in Cambridge, and did much to expand the UL’s holdings of Housman manuscripts in the 1950s and 60s. He kindly left a significant portion of his estate to Trinity, where it is used for the purchase of rare books and manuscripts.

For a further photograph of Housman, see this post. The autograph manuscript of A Shropshire Lad is available to view on the Wren Digital Library.

Photograph of the Month

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Trinity College Photos 16.17

This month we welcome new students to Trinity and shortly they will all visit the Wren Library to sign the Admission Book. College Statutes were altered to allow the admission of women to the college in 1975. This photograph dates from 1976, the year that female graduate students first arrived. Marian Hobson was elected the first female Fellow in 1977 and female undergraduates were admitted a year later in 1978.

Discovering Newton

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Roubiliac Bust of Isaac Newton

Earlier this week we welcomed members of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers to the Library. Their visit was part of a symposium to mark the 350th anniversary of Newton’s argument that the Earth’s gravity influenced the moon, counter-balancing its centrifugal force.

Among the items on display were personal effects which belonged to Newton including his compass and ruler, the page from the admissions book recording his entry to the college, his notebook and his own annotated copy of Principia Mathematica.

 

Trinity Lends Medieval Manuscripts

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As part of its 200th birthday celebrations, the Fitzwilliam is staging one of the largest exhibitions of medieval illuminated manuscripts for several years. Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscipts combines a fantastic display of medieval artworks with the findings of a major scientific research project, www.miniare.org. The research project uses non-invasive techniques to analyse the chemical structure of the artists’ materials, shedding light on the processes and equipment required by a medieval illuminator.

Most of the 122 exhibits are drawn from the Fitzwilliam’s own collections, but three important manuscripts are on loan from Trinity College Library, all of which are available to view complete online as part of the Wren Digital Library:

The Trinity Apocalypse (R.16.2) is the most lavishly decorated English manuscript of the Book of Revelation, possibly made for king Henry III’s queen, Eleanor of Provence in the late 1250s. Bright colours are used to depict the heavenly Jerusalem.

R.16.2, f.25v
R.16.2, f.25v

Poems on the Praises of the Holy Cross by Hrabanus Maurus (B.16.3) is an extraordinary collection of poems written in grids of letters with superimposed patterns of crosses and other figures. Several of the poems are concerned with the significance of colours: the poem on display in the exhibition uses the colours hyacinth, purple, linen and scarlet to show Christ’s divinity, blood, chastity and love.

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B.16.3, f18v-19r

One of the manuscripts most central to the theme of the exhibition is John de Foxton’s Book of Cosmography (R.15.21), a manuscript written in York at the start of the fifiteenth century. The elaborate images throughout this book include nude portraits of the four elements, showing the effect of the humours on the colour of their skin: red for the Sanguine man, white for the Phlegmatic man, black for the Melancholic man and yellow for the Choleric man.

The crucial differences between the four temperaments in this book are shown with a complex combination of base colours with mixtures of up to seven different pigments for the upper layers of painting. Painstaking analysis of this manuscript has revealed the use of materials sourced from many different countries.

The exhibition will be on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum until Friday 30 December 2016, admission free. See the Colour events programme online.

 

 

 

 

Photograph of the Month

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Add P 86

This month’s photograph shows Andrew Sydenham Farrar Gow (1886–1978). A classical scholar, ASF Gow was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1911 but spent the years 1914 to 1925 as the Assistant Master of Eton College. Gow’s notable works include editions of Machon, Theocritus and the Greek Anthology.

The Gow collection at Trinity College Library consists of 323 books from Gow’s library, most of them published in the 20th century, on the subjects of  art, classics and literature (Gow 1-323). Gow was a friend and colleague of the poet and classicist A.E. Housman, who is best known for the series of poems called ‘A Shropshire lad’.  Housman also came to Trinity in 1911, taking the Kennedy Professorship in Latin.  The Gow collection contains 33 books by or about A.E. Housman, including one written by Housman’s sister Clemence and  illustrated by his brother Laurence Housman  (Gow 314).

Gow’s memorial is in Trinity College Chapel.

The Great Fire of London, 2 September 1666

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Views of London before and after the fire, by John Dunstall, K.15.121[18C]

350 years ago today, on 2 September 1666, an unimaginable calamity befell London.

No sooner was the plague abated in London, that the inhabitants began to return to their habitations, than a most dreadful fire broke out in the city, and raged as if it had commission to devour every thing that was in its way (Gideon Harvey, The City Remembrancer: X.15.2, f. 1r)

Opinions vary as to how the fire started, though the focus was an accident at the bakery in Pudding Street. However some Protestants believed it was arson carried out by Catholics who threw fire-balls into buildings. One man who confessed was tried and executed but later found to be innocent, for he had only arrived in London on the second day of the fire.

The fire raged at such a temperature that the inhabitants had to flee from molten streams of lead near St Pauls. The City Remembrancer continues:

September the third the exchange was burnt, and in three days almost all the city within the walls: the people having none to conduct them right, could do nothing to resist it, but stand and see their houses burn without remedy; the engines being presently out of order and useless! (X.15.2, f. 7r)

There was suddenly and unexpectedly seen, a glorious city laid waste; the habitations turned into rubbish; estates destroyed; the produce and incomes of many years hard labour and careful industry all in a few moments swept away and consumed by devouring flames . . . To have seen dear relations, faithful servants, even yourselves and families, reduced from plentiful, affluent, comfortable trade and fortune, over-night, to the extremest misery next morning! (X.15.2, f. 18v).

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William Sancroft, Lex Ignea (1666), one of several sermons on the subject of the Great Fire preserved in the Wren Library. K.15.121[18]

‘The severity of it will yet more appear from all the dreadful circumstances which attend and follow it. Could you suppose your selves in the midst of those cities which were consumed by Fire from heaven, when it seized upon their dwellings, O what cryes and lamentations, what yellings and shriekings might ye then have heard among them! (Edward Stillingfleet, A Sermon Preached before the Honourable House of Commons, 10 October 1666. I.8.43, ff. 12v-13r)

Sir Christopher Wren, who designed the new St Pauls Cathedral (as well as Trinity’s Wren Library) including many churches which had been destroyed in the fire, also proposed a new street plan for London.

K.15.121[18B]

A map or grovndplot of the Citty of London, and the suburbes thereof, that is to say, all that is within the Iurisdiction of the Lord Mayor or properly calld Londo[n] by which is exactly demonstrated the present condition thereof since the last sad accident of fire. The blanke space signifeing the burnt part & where the houses are exprest, those places yet standi[n]g. (1666) (K.15.121[18B])

The 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London is to be commemorated in a new exhibition at the Museum of London.