Scope and content
The majority of the papers in this collection are flysheets (A) dealing with issues debated before the Senate, and as such form a valuable insight into subjects and opinions considered important in late nineteenth century Cambridge. Many of these, such as the accounts of various graces on compulsory Greek or reforms to the Classical Tripos, are concerned with Burn's personal academic preoccupations, but it is a measure of his versatility and dedication to the University as a whole that this collection also contains papers written by him on such questions as the plausibility of introducing degrees in Science and the necessity of widening the Cam to facilitate rowing. Also included are papers on matters of national importance, such as the University Tests Bill and the Oxford Declaration, both of which caused heated debate in the Senate and were of particular interest to Burn as a clergyman.
Another interesting feature of this collection is that the authors of many of the flysheets to be found within it are such important University figures of the last century. Jebb, Jackson and Sidgwick, amongst many others, were concerned with fighting their corner on various issues that came before the Senate, and it is through their opinions that it is possible to glimpse the origins of many events and practices (the building of the New Museums or the establishment of the Historical Tripos, to name just two) that became a reality.
The remainder of this collection consists of mark books (B) for the Classical Tripos 1862, when Burn was an examiner, and miscellaneous items (C) preserved along with the collection. The mark books are of particular importance for those interested in the history of Classics at Cambridge, as well as in its main figures: Jebb, for example, is described in a note by Burn as being better at historical prose than philosophical. Amongst the miscellanea are also items which betray the interests of Burn, but also have a much wider appeal, such as architectural plans of excavations at Rome, and accounts of lectures on Roman Art given at Rugby School.
See the attached finding aid for a more detailed description.