New accession: Professor Dilling’s archive

Our University Archives were recently enhanced by the welcome addition of a collection of papers previously belonging to Professor Walter Dilling (1886-1950), pharmacology professor at the University of Liverpool.

Dilling was born in Aberdeen and went on to attend the city’s university, graduating in 1907. As Carnegie research scholar he studied and worked in Germany at the University of Rostock, before returning to Scotland to take up a lectureship at the University of Aberdeen; here he delivered a course on experimental pharmacology for medical students, the first of its kind in Britain. He moved to the University of Glasgow in 1914 and in 1920 became a lecturer in pharmacology at Liverpool, rising to Associate Professor before his appointment to the newly created Chair of Pharmacology in 1930.

Professor Dilling, 1936

Dilling’s archive reflects his varied professional and personal interests. There are research papers and lecture notes on everything from the origin and development of girdles, to modern drugs in dental surgery, to the treatment of various diseases throughout history.

A keen music lover, Dilling served as Chairman of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society and was an ardent admirer of opera, particularly Wagner. The text of many of the lectures he delivered to the Young People’s Opera Circle (of which he was chairman) can be found in the archive.

Score for Wagner’s ‘Die Feen’ (‘The Fairies’)

The collection also contains a large amount of correspondence, mostly comprising letters between Dilling, his parents, his beloved wife Vida, and their two children, Nancy and Eva. There is also a small section of items belonging to Vida, including a diary covering her time in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War.

Both Walter and Vida undertook vital work during the wars. During the First World War Vida served for a time as registrar at the Scottish National Red Cross Hospital in Bellahouston, Glasgow, while Walter utilised his medical knowledge in the Royal Army Medical Corps. During the Second World War he commanded the medical company of the University Senior Training Corps, working alongside student stretcher bearers to receive casualties at the railway terminus.

Dilling initially volunteered in the Royal Army Medical Corps between 1903-1905 and returned during the First World War, becoming an officer in 1916

We also hold around 70 books formerly belonging to Dilling, most of which were transferred to SC&A from the old Pharmacology Library in 2010. A previous blog post highlighted these items, which can be located on the library catalogue.

Cataloguing of the archive is currently underway; it will be accessible later this year.

New Accessions: May 2018

 

SPEC 2018.a.004

The following of Christ is an English translation of Imitatio Christi, a work traditionally attributed to the German canon Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380–1471). Written around 1420, it became one of the most widely read and frequently translated of Christian devotional works.

This edition was printed and sold by John Sadler of Harrington Street, Liverpool, in 1755. Sadler was primarily an engraver and printer for the pottery trade, but he also produced a number of Catholic devotional books.

This book marks a landmark for Special Collections, as it was our 10,000th item reported to the English Short-Title Catalogue! According to ESTC it is one of only two known copies of the 1755 edition in Britain, with two more copies reported in the United States.

 

SPEC 2018.a.003

 

Our second new accession is another translation, and another Liverpool publication. Printed in 1802 by William Jones – a bookseller, printer, publisher, stationer and “seller of patent medicines” based on Castle Street – Memoirs of the year two thousand five hundred is an English translation of the French work, L’an 2440: rêve s’il en fut jamais, by French dramatist and writer Louis-Sébastien Mercier. Originally published in 1770, the novel is set in 2440 (or in the English edition, “for the sake of a round number” 2500), presenting a future France based on Enlightenment political theories. It was one of the very first novels to present a utopian vision of the future, and was especially pioneering in choosing a real place in which to set it – namely Paris. The novel was immediately banned in France and condemned as blasphemous in Madrid, where distribution was subject to a fine and six year prison sentence. Despite this, it is thought to have had an important influence on subsequent French and English speculations about the future.

Finally, we have two books containing volumes 1 and volumes 4-6 of William Combe’s The r[oya]l register. Combe was a prolific writer, best known for his Doctor Syntax series. Published between 1778 and 1784, this register contains often lengthy descriptions of the activities of aristocrats and other notables of the period. Written in the distinctive writing style of the author, the tone has been described by one bookseller as “somewhere between ‘Hello’ magazine and ‘Private Eye'”.

Volume one contains the bookplate of the Earl of Morley:

SPEC 2018.a.005

 

Bibliography:

Alkon, Paul K, Origins of futuristic fiction, (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987)

Liverpool Bibliographical Society, The book trade in Liverpool to 1805: a directory, (Liverpool: Liverpool Bibliographical Society, 1981)

Stableford, Brian M., The plurality of imaginary worlds: the evolution of the French roman scientifique, (Encino, CA: Black Coat Press, 2016)

 

 

New Accession: Gypsy Lore Society

We’re delighted by the recent acquisition of a collection of papers formerly belonging to Helen Murray, secretary to philologist and Gypsy Lore Society (GLS) member Bernard Gilliat-Smith (1883-1974).The collection largely comprises correspondence and photographs, including letters from notable GLS members such as Dora Yates, R. A. Scott Macfie and Henry James Francis, and is a welcome addition to our GLS archive.

The earliest letter is from R. A. Scott Macfie (GLS Honorary Secretary, 1907-1914) to Gilliat-Smith, written on the day of the outbreak of the First World War; as well as containing personal news and reference to his work, Macfie comments on the ‘danger of another Balkan war – or worse.’ Macfie would experience this danger first-hand as a Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in the Liverpool Scottish Regiment, receiving the Military Medal for gallantry in 1916.

Letter to Bernard Gilliat-Smith from R. A. Scott Macfie on the eve of war.

The new acquisition also contains this print of a c.1899 photograph of Macfie, gifted by Dora Yates to Gilliat-Smith on his birthday (sent, as Yates explained in an accompanying note, as ‘I have nothing better to offer him’).

Macfie (left) is pictured alongside a fellow employee from Messrs Macfie & Sons, the sugar refinery business which had been run by his family in Liverpool since 1838.

Dora Yates (GLS Honorary Secretary from 1935) was a prolific correspondent and we are pleased to add more of her letters to our large extant collection, offering as they do great insight into the work of the GLS and the various personalities within the society.     

Letter to Bernard Gilliat-Smith from Dora Yates in Romani (the rest of her letters are in English).

A full catalogue of this new collection will soon be available online under the reference number GLS ASC/7.

Romany, Traveller and Gypsy histories are currently popular themes for exhibitions across Europe: Rights and Romance: Representing Gypsy Lives features at the Brotherton Gallery, Leeds; “…don’t forget the photos, it’s very important…” The National Socialist Persecution of Central German Sinti and Roma in Prague (due to be displayed at the Liverpool Central Library in May 2018); and the Mondes tsiganes: La fabrique des images display at the Musée de l’histoire de l’immigration in Paris. The latter two exhibitions feature material from the GLS collections held within SC&A.

New Accession: Ephraim Wood

Aside

SC&A’s latest acquisition is a somewhat eccentric publication, composed of a mishmash of writings by the Quaker author Ephraim Wood (pictured) – including, An account of a tour from Liverpool to London, Notes on the new age, or the new heaven and new earth and A friendly address to sailors; or, A few remarks on a seafaring life. The work was printed by ‘Johnson’, in Liverpool, in 1820. In a rather telling note on page 436, they write that “The Printer respectfully informs the reader, that the Author’s punctuation and peculiar style of writing, have been strictly adhered to”.

This book is one of only three known copies of the work in the UK, and bears contemporary ownership marks (see the top corner of the title-page above), as well as the book label of Anne and Fernand Renier. Prodigious book collectors, the Renier’s had a particularly impressive collection of 80,000 children’s books, now looked after by the V&A Library.