- 1918-1939 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
Ronald Brunlees McKerrow was born in Putney in 1872, the son of a civil engineer, and was educated at Harrow, King’s College, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge. After leaving university he spent three years teaching English in Tokyo before beginning a period of intense literary and bibliographical study, largely at the British Museum, two important results of which were his edition of the works of Thomas Nashe (1904-10) and his Notes on Bibliographical Evidence (1914). The latter, revised as An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students (1927), became a standard work. From 1914 McKerrow also gave lectures in English literature, and later bibliography, at King’s College, London. In 1917 he was appointed managing director of the publishers Sidgwick & Jackson, and this was his main occupation till his death, but he was also honorary secretary of the Bibliography Society from 1912 to 1934, editor of the Review of English Studies (which he founded) from 1925 to 1940, and editor of The Library from 1934 to 1937. In 1929 he accepted an invitation to prepare an edition of Shakespeare for the Clarendon Press, but, though he prepared a good deal of material, only a general textual introduction ever saw print.
These papers were found in an envelope on a shelf in the basement of the Library in November 2022. No record of their accession has been found, but it seems likely that they came directly from the McKerrow family some time in the 1990s. An inventory was made of the papers in February 2023 in the order in which they were found, and they were catalogued immediately afterwards.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
This collection includes correspondence and papers of R. B. McKerrow relat-ing to a variety of bibliographical topics.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
The items have been divided into five groups, and the contents of each group are arranged in chronological order, so far as this can be determined.
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
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
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Rules and/or conventions used
The addresses of some institutions are given in a shortened form. In descriptions of ‘extent and medium’, a ‘single sheet’ is a single unfolded leaf of paper comprising 2 pages; a ‘folded sheet’ is a sheet of paper folded once, comprising 2 leaves and 4 pages.
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
This description was created by A. C. Green in 2023.