Fonds MYER - Myers Papers

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Myers Papers


  • 1796-1979 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

35 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Frederic William Henry Myers was born in Keswick on 6 February 1843, son of Frederic Myers and his wife Susan nee Marshall. After the death of his father Myers was taken to live first in Blackheath and then in Cheltenham, where he attended Cheltenham College. While still a youth he showed a great aptitude for poetry, winning school prizes and coming second in a national competition for a Robert Burns centenary poem. In 1860 he was admitted to Trinity College Cambridge. His university career was stellar, he was Bell Scholar in 1861, Craven Scholar in 1863, Chancellor's English Medallist 1861 and 1863, Camden Medallist 1862 and Members' Prizeman 1863, 1864 and 1865. He graduated BA in 1864 as 2nd Classic joint with H. C. G. Moule and later that year took a first in the Moral Sciences Tripos.

Unsurprisingly he was elected a Fellow of Trinity in 1865 and remained a Fellow until 1874 and held the posts of assistant tutor and college lecturer in classics until 1869, but did not feel suited to teaching. However, in 1872 he became an inspector of schools and performed the job until just before his death.

In the early 1870s Myers became interested in the study of spiritualism, which he pursued with the help of Henry Sidgwick, Arthur Balfour and others. In 1882 he was part of a group including Sidgwick that established the Society for Psychical Research. He proved to be not only an able and enthusiastic organiser and promoter of the Society's interests but also a keen researcher in many aspects of the paranormal.

In 1880 Myers married Eveleen Tennant, daughter of Charles Tennant, and together they lived from 1881 to 1901 at Leckhampton House on Grange Road in Cambridge. Eveleen collaborated in Myers' psychical research and developed a career as a photographer. Their eldest son, Leopold Hamilton Myers (1881-1944) became a poet and novelist. F. W. H. Myers died in 1901.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The papers, including those of Leo Myers, were given to Trinity by Mrs E. Q. Nicholson, Myers' granddaughter, in 1970.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The archive consists in the greater part of correspondence of Frederic and Eveleen Myers (1840s-1930s) but also contains Frederic Myers' diaries (1843-97) and notebooks (1861-81), notes and discussions on psychical research, family memorabilia and photographs and papers relating to L. H. Myers including papers relating to the publication of The Pool of Vishnu, poems and autobiographical notes (20th cent).

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System of arrangement

According to the introduction by Patricia Bradford to the original catalogue, the papers were already sorted and arranged when they came to Trinity, and they have been kept in this order.

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Finding aids

This collection-level description was created by Jonathan Smith in 2019. A detailed index of the papers is available in Trinity College Library.

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