Item 1a - Copy of a letter from R. B. McKerrow to R. W. Chapman

Identity area

Reference code

Add. MS a/355/6/1a


Copy of a letter from R. B. McKerrow to R. W. Chapman


  • 14 July 1939 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 sheet

Context area

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Picket Piece, Wendover, Bucks.—Repeats his suggestion that the lectures on elementary bibliography he gave for many years at King’s College, London, might make a useful introductory book. If Chapman agrees, he will begin revising them while he is on holiday.

(Typed transcript. The original was sent to R. W. Chapman with the original of Add. MS. a. 355/6/1a and the text of ‘Elements of Bibliography’ (perhaps Add. MS. a. 355/6/2b).)




Picket Piece, Wendover, Bucks.
14th July 1939.

Dear Chapman,

You may remember that when I saw you at Oxford in March, or thereabouts, I mentioned a short series of lectures on very elementary bibliography that I had been in the habit of giving at King’s College, London, for many years past and that I thought might, if printed, be a useful introduction for people who don’t want to go far with the subject, and also perhaps for the beginnings of librarianship course (most of which are said to be very bad—far from clear and too full of detail). The stuff had become unreadable through much alteration, and so I had it typed. The idea is that if you think there is the making of a little book in the lectures (price 4/– or so), I will take them away when I go for a holiday and see about improving them—the stuff can mostly be done without books. It could be done very quickly if I felt like it, and would not interfere with anything else. The main point is (if you think it worth publishing)—should the lecture style be entirely abolished, i.e. should I turn ‘Always be careful not to mix up …’ into ‘Care should be taken not to confuse …’ or ‘to differentiate between …’ Personally I see no harm in the former. Of course one has to explain a lot that one makes clear in a lecture by showing things, but I think I have already put in most of these necessary explanations.

If you don’t want the stuff, do you think that publication elsewhere could damage your rights in the ‘Introduction to Bibliography’? I dare say Sidgwick and Jackson would do it if you would rather not, but of course this would only be if you did not think it could harm the larger book.

I need hardly say that if you approve of the book in general I should be very glad of any comments or suggestions for improvement.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed) R. B. McKerrow

P.S. | Just going to Cliftonville for a fortnight (for health, no other reason!). Am not well, but think I now see a chance of improvement, perhaps cure.


At the head is the reference ‘P.12977’.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area

Related subjects

Related genres

Related places