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Papers of Sir Walter Greg (W. W. Greg) McKerrow, Amy (1876–1945), wife of R. B. McKerrow
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Letter from F. C. Francis to W. W. Greg

The British Museum.—Answers questions about The English Schoolmaster (1580) and refers to McKerrow’s books and papers.



The British Museum, London, W.C.1
4 Nov. 1942

Dear Greg,

Had your letter been here half a day later The English Schoolmaster {1} would have been on his way to more desirable quarters! {2} Thank goodness, all the case books will soon be got away.

It does contain Psalms. Here is the list of them

  1. Psalm 119, pt 1 & 2, in prose in “Cranmer’s” version. [Next came Proverbs, c. 4, in the Geneva version.] {3}

  2. Psalms 1, 4, 50. vv. 1–11, 51. vv. 1–10, 67, 104. vv. 1–9, 112, 113, 120, 126, 148. vv. 1–6, all in Sternhold and Hopkins[’] version. {4}

It seems odd to find the two different prose versions being used. But the whole book is a curious and interesting one.

I hope to be able to let you have proofs for the Jubilee volume soon; but I am still awaiting an† vital contribution {5}.

I am glad to know that you have a note ‘on the stocks’!

You would have been mildly interested in the suggestions propounded in the paper by O. M. Willard, which I read at the last meeting of the Society. It is an attempt to work out statistically a relation between the size and number of original editions of pre-1640 books and the numbers of surviving copies. The whole thing is rather flimsy, but it does at any rate make one cock a more wary eye at the records of copies both in STC and elsewhere.

Yours sincerely
F. C. Francis.

P.S. I started on a brief list of McKerrow’s books, last week end; but it is still doubtful if Mrs McKerrow wants to sell. She feels, I think, that she doesn’t want to do any thing which the boys may regret later. But many of the books are only useful to a specialist.

P.P.S. I am mildly interested in Charles Crawford; is there much known about him? McKerrow has some of his MS. notes.


Letter-head of The Library. Francis’s name appears below the word ‘Editor’, with the address shown.

{1} Presumably Le maistre d'escole Anglois, or The Englishe Scholemaister, by Jacques Bellot (1580) (STC (2nd ed.) 1855).

{2} Greg had presumably asked that the book should not be evacuated out of London.

{3} The square brackets are in the original.

{4} Greg has written in pencil in the margin ‘Day’s’ followed by an indistinct word.

{5} See Oliver M. Willard, ‘The Survival of English Books Printed before 1640: a Theory and some Illustrations’, The Library, 4th series, xxiii. 171–90.

† Sic.