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Telegraphic correspondence with Lord Chelmsford, and related papers

The documents listed under this head mainly relate to 'private' or 'private and personal' telegrams sent by Montagu as Secretary of State for India to the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford. The distinction between these terms, if there is one, is uncertain, but there is a clear distinction between communications of these kinds on the one hand and correspondence designated 'official' on the other. However, since a topic initially raised in official correspondence might subsequently form the subject of a series of private telegrams, copies of some official telegrams will also be found here. Official communications are explicitly identified in the list. It is possible that there were other categories of correspondence, since the term 'demi-official' also occurs. Correspondents occasionally discussed what category was appropriate for the subject under discussion (cf. A2/22/14, A2/23/3).

These papers were formerly either loose or fixed together with treasury tags to form small files. In the latter case the subject-matter of the file, or some other title, was sometimes marked on the top sheet.

The documents comprise (i) drafts and texts of the telegrams themselves; (ii) memoranda exchanged between Montagu and other officials on the composition of telegrams; and (iii) documents consulted as part of this process, such as newspaper cuttings and copies of regulations.

The correspondence begins at the time of the riots in Delhi, Bombay, and the Punjab, the day before the Amritsar massacre, and mostly concerns those disturbances and the controversial measures taken to counter them. The topics discussed include the progress of efforts to restore law and order; Gandhi; the involvement of Muslims in the disorders, and the Hindu-Mohammedan entente; the use of flogging as a punishment under martial law; the 'crawling order' issued by General Dyer at Amritsar, and the 'salaaming order' issued by Colonel Hodgson in Gujrunwala and Lyallpur; the postponement of sentences of execution against persons convicted of involvement in the Amritsar riots; the issue of notices by the Bombay High Court to barristers for taking the satyagraha vow; the question of arranging an inquiry into the disorders, and the subsequent formation and report of the Hunter Committee; and the Indemnity Bill.


This series brings together the remaining letters not kept by Frisch in folders with related research notes, drafts for publications, etc. Some of the letters complement material in other series, but the majority are shorter exchanges with scientific colleagues, or personal correspondence.

It should be noted that several of the letters have Frisch's reply typed on the verso.

The correspondence is presented in alphabetical order, with a brief indication of any material of particular scientific or personal interest. The supplemental papers given by Ulla Frisch, E.148-157, however, are listed in a second alphabetic order.

Biographical and personal papers

This series consists of drafts, correspondence, diaries, photographs, and documents, and has been arranged into seven subseries: Obituaries and tributes (A.1-7); Autobiographical writings (A.8-14); Career, honours, and awards (A.15-75); Davenport's death (A.75-91); Diaries (A.92-129); Miscellaneous items (A.130-132); and Photographs (A.133-137).

A.1-7, Obituaries and tributes, includes typescript biographical notes made by Mrs. Davenport after her husband's death (A.7). The Autobiographical writings at A.8-14 include reminiscences (A.8-10) made by Davenport with the assistance of his wife and D. J. Lewis in 1969, although very ill. He died in June of that year (see Memoir, p.165). Some, probably earlier, ms. notes on his career survive, as well as notes on his impressions of America and some humorous writings.

The papers at A.15-75 record Davenport's career and honours, and are arranged in chronological order. These records begin with Davenport's school career, 1917-1924 at The Municipal Secondary School, renamed Accrington Grammar School in 1921, and continue with records from The Victoria University of Manchester, 1924-1927. Davenport was an Affiliated Student at Trinity College Cambridge, 1927-29, taking a second first degree, and in 1932 was awarded a research fellowship. 'On the expiry of his Trinity Fellowship in 1937, Davenport was appointed by Mordell to an Assistant Lectureship in Manchester' (Memoir, p.161), where he stayed until 1941. From 1941 to 1945 he was at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, and from 1945-1948 at University College, London. He took up the Rouse Ball Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge from 1958 until his death.

The papers housed as A.76-91 are primarily letters of condolence after Davenport's death. After a period of illness following the removal of a lung, Davenport died on 9 June 1969. (Memoir, p.165)

The diaries at A.92-129 are all small pocket diaries, mainly university diaries covering the academic year, used chiefly to record appointments and addresses. A.130-132 consists of personal miscellaneous items, and the photographs at A.133-137 include group photographs of Davenport and other mathematicians (A.136).

School and university notebooks and lecture notes

This series consists of notebooks and lecture notes kept at three different institutions: Accrington Grammar School (B.1-22), The Victoria University of Manchester (B.23-54), and Trinity College, Cambridge (B.55-92).

With one exception, the notebooks from Accrington Grammar School (B.1-22) contain Davenport's notes and diagrams on physics, chemistry and mathematics, presumably work for the School Certificate (B.1-2) and the Higher School Certificate (B.3-17), although several are undated. Only B.22 shows Davenport's non-mathematical interests, containing extracts from various writers and drafts of two speeches, possibly delivered to a school debating society.

The notebooks and lecture notes from the Victoria University of Manchester (B.23-54) date from 1924-1927. B.23-30 are hardback notebooks arranged by the covering titles with which Davenport labelled them. Only two, B.24 and B.29, can be dated (1924-1925 and 1925-1926 respectively). None are indexed and only two are paginated (B.29-30). B.31-54 are loose ms. pages of notes on the literature, notes on lecture courses and class work and exercises by Davenport. Many bear an indication of the course number, or of the person giving the lectures and/or supervising the work. The material was kept in bulky wallet folders labelled by Davenport; the contents have been removed and where appropriate preserved in more than one folder for ease of reference. The original folders are at B.54. See B.85-87 for notes originally made at Manchester and subsequently used at Cambridge.

The notebooks and lecture notes from Trinity College, Cambridge (B.55-92) date from 1927-32. B.55-B.64 are hardback notebooks, and excepting B.63-64, all contain lecture notes. Davenport usually labelled the fly-leaves with the name of the lecturer, the subject of the course, and the date. These labels are used as titles here, and his descriptions are preserved in the entries. B.63 and B.64 are exceptions as they are without identification, but it is probable that they come from this period in Davenport's career. B.65-92 are loose ms. pages of notes, chiefly of lectures attended by Davenport. Usually they bear the name of the lecturer and the title of the course, and some are dated. The material was kept in wallet folders labelled by Davenport; the contents have been removed and, where appropriate, preserved in more than one folder for ease of reference. The original folders are at B.89.

Faculty of Mathematics, Cambridge

This series consists of committee notices and reports, with some correspondence and examination papers as well. The papers are arranged into six subgroups: General committees (F.1-6), Needs of faculty and sub-departments (F.7-9), Appointments (F.10-12), Requests for post-graduate places (F.13), Examination papers (F.14-16), and Miscellaneous (F.17). The Needs of faculty and sub-departments papers largely consist of Statements of Needs of various departments, in various areas, such as teaching staff, new equipment, etc. The Appointments material relates to the Appointments Committee of the Faculty of Mathematics. There is also a little correspondence re vacant posts, applications, requests for curricula vitae, etc.

Biochemical Society: Committee

Synge served on the Committee of the Biochemical Society as the representative of the Editorial Board of the Biochemical Journal, 1953-1955.

H/47: Meeting, 20 Mar 1954
H/48: Meetings, 19 May, 14 Jul, 15 Oct, 1954
H/49: Meetings, 12 Nov 1954, 15 Jan 1954, 10 Feb 1955

Biochemical Society: Biochemical Journal

Synge joined the Editorial Board in 1949. He resigned in June 1955.

H/50: Correspondence, c 1936, 1945, 1946, 1949-1952. Includes manuscript notes on origin of papers submitted to the Journal 1936; invitation to join the Editorial Board 1949; correspondence re membership of the Board.
H/51: Correspondence, 1953-1962. Includes material re appointment of Secretary to the Editorial Board.
H/52: Refereeing papers for the Journal, 1944-1949
H/53: Refereeing papers for the Journal, 1950-1964, 1969, nd
H/54: Correspondence and papers arising from Biochemical Journal refereeing policy, 1958, 1966, Jan-Aug 1967
H/55: Correspondence and papers arising from Biochemical Journal refereeing policy, Sept-Dec 1967, 1968, 1970

Nutrition Society

Synge became a Member in 1949, joining the Scottish Group.

H/77: Correspondence and papers chiefly re membership, 1949-1951
H/78: Correspondence and papers chiefly re Synge's contribution to the Nutrition Society Scottish Group meeting on grass, Aberdeen, 21 Sept 1951
H/79: Correspondence and papers, 1952-1957

Royal Society: General correspondence and papers

Synge was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1950. Material relating to Synge's election is at A/163-A/165.

H/83: 1952, 1953, 1958-1961. Includes material re exchange visits with the USSR Academy of Sciences.
H/84: 1962-1967, 1983. The material for 1983 relates to election of Fellows under statute 12.

Gordon, A.H.

Correspondence. Gordon was Synge's colleague at the Wool Industries Research Association, Leeds from 1941. He spent periods in Denmark, Czechoslovakia and Sweden, 1948-1950 before starting at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London in June 1950.

J/109: c 1940-1945
J/110: 1946-1947
J/111: 1948-1950
J/112: 1950-1957
J/113: 1961-1965, 1977. Correspondence 1977 from includes typescript draft (with manuscript revision) by Gordon 'How paper chromatography was discovered'.
J/114: Principally undated letters from Leeds.

Marston, H. R.: Correspondence and papers relating to Royal Society memoir

Synge wrote the biographical memoir of Marston (who died in 1965) for the Royal Society (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 13, 267). Synge visited Australia in 1967 in connexion with his preparation of the memoir.

J/182-J/183: Correspondence with Royal Society, correspondence with colleagues and others re information, recollections, 1965–1967.
J/184: Miscellaneous background material including copies of letters from M.L.E. Oliphant to Marston, 1964
J/185: List of names and addresses for presentation of reprints of memoir, letters of appreciation from recipients and other readers of memoir, some with further information and recollections, 1967–1968, 1983.

Mbadiwe, E.I.

Correspondence re research, publications, personal news. Mbadiwe came from the University of Nigeria, Nusukka to work with Synge for a period at the Food Research Institute, Norwich.

J/192: 1972–1974
J/193: 1975–1976
J/194: 1977–1979, 1981, 1984-1985

Meares (née Scott-Moncrieff), R.

Meares started research in the Cambridge Biochemical Laboratory in 1925 under M. W. Onslow subsequently taking up chemical and genetical investigations of flower colour variations with J.B.S. Haldane and R. and G. Robinson. In 1933 she moved to the John Innes Institution, Merton where she continued research until marriage ended her scientific career in the late 1930s. Forty years later Synge encouraged her to write an article about her work: 'The classical period in chemical genetics. Recollections of Muriel Wheldale Onslow, Robert and Gertrude Robinson and J.B.S. Haldane', Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 36 (1981-1982), 125-154.

J/195-196: Correspondence with Meares and others about the preparation of the article, (1975-1981). Includes original letters (1927, 1930, 1935-1936) sent to Synge by Meares in 1979-1980.
J/197: 'Documents on the Robinsons & Bandage Chromatography'. Contents of envelope so inscribed: correspondence, 1980–1981.
J/198: Small format notebook inscribed inside front cover: '"Notes" for 'The Classical Period in Chemical Genetics'.'

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