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Authority record

McIlwraith, Archibald Kennedy (1902–1955), Canadian literary scholar

  • Person
  • 1902–1955

Archibald Kennedy McIlwraith was the son of Dr and Mrs Kennedy McIlwraith of Toronto, Canada. He contributed several articles and reviews to the Review of English Studies, the last in 1953, and edited three anthologies of plays for the Oxford World’s Classics series: Five Elizabethan Comedies (1934), Five Elizabethan Tragedies (1938), and Five Stuart Tragedies (1953). In 1931 he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Professor R. H. Case of Liverpool University (The Times, 24 Apr. 1931, p. 17), but she died only four years later (The Times, 23 Mar. 1935, p. 1).

Graves, Robert Edmund (1835–1922), librarian

  • Person
  • 1835–1922

Robert Edmund {1} Graves was born at St Pancras, London, in 1835, {2} the son of Robert Graves (1798–1873) and his wife Lucy Matilda (née Percy), born in 1801 or 1802. His father, who came from a family of printsellers, distinguished himself as an engraver, becoming an Associate Engraver of the Royal Academy, and several other members of the family were involved in the art world, including Graves’s younger brother Frederick Percy (1837–1903), who became a landscape artist, and his uncle Henry (1806–92), a print-seller and fine art publisher.

Graves matriculated from University College, London, in 1852 and obtained a BA there in 1857. In the intervening period—in 1853 or 1854—he had, if the dates given in his obituary are correct, begun working for the British Museum, {3} though it seems unusual that he should have been engaged there at the same time that he was studying at the university. On 17 September 1862, at the Old Church, St Pancras, where his parents had been married, Graves married Louisa Jane Watson Tough, born at St Pancras in 1844, the daughter of an independent minister. The couple had three sons, Arthur Sidney (1866–1905), Robert Herbert (1868–1937), and Walter Stanley (1872–1945). In 1871 the family were living at 13 Grove Road, Kentish Town, but by 1881 they had moved to 6 Grange Park, Ealing, which remained Graves’s address till at least 1907. In 1882 Graves’s first wife died and in 1884 he remarried Mary Anne E. Lamb, who brought two step-daughters into the family.

Graves spent forty-six years at the British Museum, rising to the rank of Assistant Keeper in the Department of Printed Books and becoming, in the words of his Times obituary, one of the ‘best known and most respected men’ in that department. He was instrumental in obtaining for the Museum many rare books, including the Isham Collection, and held various other offices besides, including that of librarian at Britwell Court. He inherited the family interest in engraving, and contributed short biographical notices to the Continuation of the Engraved Works of Joshua Reynolds engraved by Frederick Bromley, published in three volumes between 1862 and 1868. He also issued a revised edition of Michael Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (Biographical and Critical) in two volumes (1886 and 1893), the second volume in association with Walter Armstrong. His other publications were an article on ‘The Isham Books’ (Bibliographica, vol. iii (1897), pp. 418–29), contributions to the Dictionary of National Biography, and an edition of The History of Oliver of Castile, from the unique copy at Britwell, for the Roxburghe Club (1898).

Graves was one of the early members of the Bibliographical Society, established in 1892, and on 20 December 1897 he was elected as the Society’s honorary treasurer in succession to Alfred H. Huth, the first man to hold that post, a position in which he continued till 1919. At the Society’s meeting on 20 January in that year Graves’s impending resignation was announced and ‘a resolution expressing the Society’s gratitude for the great service which he had rendered to it was moved by Mr. Pollard, who paid a personal tribute to the colleague with whom he had worked so long, now obliged by old age and the infirmities it brings with it to retire after having held on gallantly till the close of the war.’ Graves was elected an honorary member of the Society in 1920.

Graves died at Ealing on 25 September 1922 and was buried at Highgate Old Cemetery on the 29th.

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{1} The spelling ‘Edmond’ is used in Graves’s obituary in The Times, 28 Sept. 1922, p. 12, but all other sources, including Graves’s own publications, use the spelling given.

{2} He was 15 when the 1851 census was taken and 87 when he died.

{3} According to The Times he spent forty-six years in the service of the Museum and retired in 1900.

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