Fonds PAGE - Papers of Sir Denys Lionel Page

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Papers of Sir Denys Lionel Page


  • 1925-1977 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

8 boxes: correspondence, photographs, notebooks and loose notes, newspaper cuttings, articles and reviews, proofs, index cards etc.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Denys Page was born in Reading on 11 May 1908 to Elsie, née Daniels, and Frederick Page, a chartered civil engineer for the Great Western Railway, and was one of five children. After education at Newbury grammar school he won a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford in 1926, where he benefitted most from the teaching of Gilbert Murray, J. D. Beazley, and J. D. Denniston. In 1928 Page was Craven and De Paravicini scholar, and won the Chancellor's prize for Latin verse and the Gaisford prize for Greek verse. He obtained first classes in both Mods (1928) and Greats (1930), and was then elected to the Derby scholarship and spent a year at the University of Vienna studying with Ludwig Radermacher.

In 1931 he was appointed a lecturer at Christ Church, and tutor the following year. His university life was interrupted by the Second World War: in 1939 he was recruited to the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park; he worked in the ISOS 'illicit signals' section under Oliver Strachey, and succeeded him as head of the section in 1942. After the war, he headed a special command mission to Viscount Mountbatten's headquarters in Sri Lanka and then Singapore, not returning to Oxford until 1946.

Page served as Senior Proctor in 1948-1949, but in 1950 he was offered the position of Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge on the retirement of D. S. Robertson, though he had not applied for the post, and accepted it. He was elected to a professorial fellowship at Trinity, though in 1959 he was chosen as master of Jesus College, a position he held until his retirement in 1973. Page was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1952, and was awarded its Kenyon Medal in 1969; he served as president of the Academy from 1971-1974. He was knighted in 1971.

His greatest scholarly achievements were as an editor of Greek texts, particularly the Greek lyric poets; he also worked on Hellenistic poetry, producing an edition of the epigrams of the Greek Anthology with his Trinity colleague A. S. F. Gow, tragedy, and the Homeric poems.

In 1939 Page married Katharine Elizabeth Dohan (1918-1978), daughter of archaeologist Edith Hayward Hall Dohan (1877-1943) and Joseph M. Dohan, a lawyer and farmer; they had four daughters.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by Trinity along with the large gift of classical books from Page's library at the end of 1978; transfer arranged by Page's daughter Corinna Redman.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Correspondence, photographs, notebooks and loose notes, newspaper cuttings, articles and reviews, proofs, index cards etc.

Most of the notes in Page's hand relate to his editions of Ancient Greek authors.

Also present is correspondence of Page's wife Katharine, née Dohan, including letters from her mother, Edith Hall Dohan, and other members of her family, and letters from Denys Page to Katharine, both before and after their marriage. Some of these were written during Page's time at Bletchley Park during World War II, and while he was part of a special mission to the British headquarters in Sri Lanka and Singapore after the war.

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Conditions governing access

NOTE. These papers have not yet been catalogued, but it might be possible to make them available for consultation provided at least a fortnight's notice is given. It may be that some items, owing to their contents or condition, cannot yet be produced. Please contact the Library for further details.

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      Finding aids

      These papers have not yet been catalogued, but a detailed inventory of them has been made. See the attached PDF.

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      Related units of description

      The classical books left to Trinity after Page's death can be found in the library catalogue here

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