[Collection of letters and related material] Thank you letters from 'the confraternity' of the Phillipps MSS after Phillipps Centenary Dinner, with related material (seating plan etc). AND Photostat of the Robinson Brothers' Deed of Settlement

[Thomas Phillipps; the Phillipps Manuscripts; Robinson Brothers]
Publication details: 
[4 July 1972]
SKU: 15061

Forty-Four (44) Autograph and Typed Letters Signed (and a telegram) from (partially) distinguished people who attended the Phillipps Centenary Dinner at Stationers' Hall in 1972, usually saying more than a bald thank you. They are addressed, except in one instance - Wolfenden, mentioned below) to one or both of the Robinson Brothers (Lionel and Philip) who had made the significant and bold purchase, and presumably organised the celebration. Correspondents include: Nicolas Barker, Ronald Batty (Foyle's), Bernard Breslauer (telegram), Nancy Brewster, John Carter, Carlo Alberto Chiesa, John Cottesloe, H.R. Creswick (CU), Ted Dring (Quaritch), Ian Dunlop, David Eccles, Harold Edwards, Toby Falk (Sothebys), H.A. and Joan Feisenberger, Colin Franklin (copy of thank you note forwarded by Anthony Hobson), Anthony Hobson, W.B. Hodgson (auctioneer), Richard Hunt (Bodleian), [Lord] John Kerr, H.P. Kraus, H.D. Lyon (bookseller), John McCracken (2 notes, solicitor), Clifford Maggs, John Maggs, A.N.L. [Tim] Munby (2 letters), Winifred Myers (autograph dealer), Stanley J. Osborne (Stationers Company), John Ritblat (patron of the Arts), Raymond Sawyer (bookseller), Francis Shannon (n.k.), John Sparrow (Warden of All Souls), Alan Thomas (bookseller), Edward M. Wilson (Spanish scholar), Igor Vinogradoff ('Sotheby's Russian expert'), Peter Wilson (Sothebys), John [Lord] Wolfenden (educationalist), with "Austin" (Mrs?), Mary Walton, "Kisty" [Lady Hesketh), unidentified (Templer?), [Chris?] and Gina, "Edith". This represent a majority of the people who attended since most were in couples, and one wouldn't expect thank you notes from the likes of Hammond and Traylen. The absence of Roy Davids' and Arthur Freeman's notes can only be explained by loss. They all say thanks in various, usually embroidered way (food and wine great, speeches excellent, honoured by the company, sorry about the sick absentees, congratulations on the purchase of the MSS (flair, benefit to the world of learning, etc) ) but several correspondents referred to the heart-warming announcement of the donation of the Raleigh MS. to the BL (see further correspondence described below); one sought an opportunity to discuss financial help for the London Library; another apologised for the effects of deafness; Breslauer and Feisenberger emphasised the meeting with old friends; Ian Dun;lop thought the booksellers looked healthier than the "short-sighted book worms of popular imagination"; Franklin reflects upon Thomas Phillipps' nature; Richard Hunt mentions the Phillipps typographical material donated to the Bodleian; Kraus spices his thanks with reference to enclosed catalogues, including a "small catalogue of Middle Hill publications"; H.D. Lyon admits to staggering home; McCracken (to Lionel) tells of his response to meeting his "old Headmaster Wolfenden again [...] frighteningly bright but a trifle bombastic"; McCracken (to Philip) would like Christina Foyle as his next-door neighbour; Clifford Maggs describes the assemblage as the "confraternity of the MS." and recalls the Maggs purchase of a "modest geographical notebook for Dr Oakeshott" at the Phillipps sale of 1935 which proved "one of the brightest gems of th collection, and make [made?] a princely gift to the British Museum"; John Maggs mentions the names of one or two people he particularly enjoyed meeting; Tim Munby (to Lionel) underlines "marvellous", enjoyed the reception of his speech (the announcement about the Raleigh MS. included), commending the Robinsons' gesture; Tim Munby (to Philip) commends the arrangement of the function ("fiddling detail", "oldest friends", etc), and repeats commendation of their gift to the BL; Winnie Myers appreciated the presence of so many "great ones in the Manuscript world", commends their "imaginative act" (the Raleigh), recalls the Robinsons' friendship wih her father, and thanks them for inviting Ruthg Shepherd who will treasure the memory; Stanley Osborne of the Stationers' Company is glad to have been "of some small assistance"; John Ritblat will take the up on theoir invitation to see their books; John Sparrow claims to be "bad about letters"; Alan Thomas fails to think of adequate superlatives, thanks them for the pleasure and profit of the Phillipps MSS, adding "I now have so many Phillipps MSs that I cannot find shelf-room, and even if these MSs. are not great by Phillipps' standards, they are great by my [underlined] standards. | How one envies Phillipps his opportunities!" (and lady's maid, to transcribe Latin documents); the Wolfenden letter is in fact to a "MIss McDougall" who fielded replies to invitations - he says his wife can't make it, and he'd stand down if it hepled the table-plan. WITH (Printed Ephemera): A. Formal invitation, tasteful, to the celebration of "the Centenary of [the death of] Sir Thomas Phillipps"; B. Handbill explaining the background (Committee includes the Robinsons, Carter, Hobson, Munby) and leaving spaces for replies to whether one can come, and whether one brings a wife; C. Folding Seating plan with "Index Guide to Table Plan". AND WITH: a small collection of letters concerning the "gesture" (the Raliegh MS., including A.N.L. Munby's lengthy "begging" letter (TLS, 1.5pp., folio, 19 June 1972) making a case, as a trustee of the BM, for the gift of the Raleigh MS. to the BM.; Munby's later thanks (26 June 1972); a carbon copy of a Typed Letter from Lionel Robinson, to solicitor, D.E. Brewster (copy to John McCracken), with one MS. correction ('will' to 'would') in which Lionel expresses his (and Philip's) wish to donate the MS., revealing that Brewster has said this was envisaged in "our original deed" (see below) and that Munby will announce the gift at the Centenary Dinner (27 June 1972); TLS from John McCracken agreeing with Brewster (as above)(3 jUly 1972); TLS from L.J. Gorton, Acting Keeper, The British Museum, expressing gratitude on behalf of the Department (5 July 1972); ALS from the Earl of Crawford expressing gratitude as "a member of the public" and consequently a beneficiary (15 June 1972). ALSO: No correspondence relating to a major collection would be complete without the appearance of Harry Ransom. This collection contains TWO TLSs, one with autograph addition, from Harry Ransom, Chancellor Emeritus, to the Robinsons, the first (22 Jan. 1972) introducing Mr Jenkins Garrett, "a member of the University of Texas System's Board of Regents" who he hopes will be able to call on the Robinsons, describing him as "one of the strongest exponents of book collection and library development I have ever known." Ransom's autograph Postscript adds his "personal admiration and gratitude for your historic services to learning HR". In his second letter (3 Aug. 1972), he explains why he couldn't accept their invitation to the celebration of the Phillipps Centenary. Ransom's letters are accompanied by a TLS (23 Feb. 1972) from Jenkins Garrett to the Robinsons thanking them for lunch and hoping they visit Texas and hiumself in the future. Garrett's obit describes him as "a prominent Fort Worth lawyer and philanthropist who also accumulated one of the state’s most comprehensive collections of Texas historical artifacts". AND: 15060. [Sir Thomas Phillipps; William H. Robinson Ltd, London booksellers; Lionel Keir Robinson (1897-1983); Philip Ramsay Robinson; Anthony Jamieson Haggie; Anthony Forbes Moir (1903-1967); A. N. L. Munby] [Sir Thomas Phillipps.] From Philip and Lionel Robinson's Papers.Photostat of the Deed of Settlement between Messrs Lionel and Philip Robinson, Anthony Forbes Moir and Anthony Jamieson Haggie, regarding the disposal of 'the residue' of the collection of manuscripts of Sir Thomas Phillipps. [London.] 12 May 1960. 12pp., 4to. On Gevaert paper. In very good condition, on twelve lightly-aged leaves stapled together. Present as part of the photostat is the stamp '19 MAY 1960 | No. 14728' in the top left-hand corner of the first page, which also reproduces the four Inland Revenue tax stamps. The document is a typescript, and begins: 'THIS DEED OF SETTLEMENT is made the [twelfth] day of [May] One thousand nine hundred and sixty BETWEEN LIONEL KEIR ROBINSON of Redwalls Beech Hill Hadley Wood in the County of Herts Company Director who is hereinafter individually called "Mr. Lionel Robinson" and PHILIP RAMSAY ROBINSON of 113 Frognal Hampstead in the County of London Company Director who is hereinafter individually called "Mr. Philip Robinson" and they are together hereinafter referred to as "the Settlors" of the one part and ANTHONY FORBES MOIR of 70 Pall Mall in the said County of London Solicitor and ANTHONY JAMIESON HAGGIE of 94 Jermyn Street in the said County of London Wine Merchant (hereinafter together called "the Trustees"'. (Anthony Forbes Moir was, according to his obituary in The Times (9 June 1967), 'legal adviser to Sir Winston Churchill'. Haggie was the proprietor of Christopher & Co. of Jermyn St, said to be the oldest wine merchants in London.) The deed states that the Robinsons each hold a half share in the manuscripts, which 'comprise codices documents and other papers including the residue of the collection of manuscripts formed by the late Sir Thomas Phillipps', and that they have each paid £2250 to Haggie and Moir. 'The manuscripts are at the present time unclassified and it is apprehended that in order to carry into effect the trusts of this Deed much research and labour by academic experts in every branch of learning and others will be required in arranging indexing transcribing and identifying the same for the purpose of determining their academic and commercial value [...] The Settlors [sic] are desirous after such necessary research as aforesaid has from time to time been carried out of benefiting the Primary and Secondary Beneficiaries'. After a definition of terms, the deed describes how the trust will operate, giving the names of beneficiaries (all members of the signatories' families). It would take a legal and financial expert to explain certain aspects of this deed of settlement, but one surprising clause gives the Robinsons the right to 'destroy any of the manuscripts which upon such advice as they may deem proper shall appear to be valueless or not worthy of retention'. Reproduced at the end of the photostat are the signatures of the four parties and their witnesses. This item is part of the papers of Messrs. Philip and Lionel Robinson (as material above), regarding whom see the last chapter of the fifth volume ('The Dispersal of the Phillipps Library', 1960) of A. N. L. Munby's monumental 'Phillipps Studies'. In the final chapter of the book Munby describes the Robinsons' acquisition of the collection in 1946 and its subsequent disposal. Munby's account was published in 1960, the same year as the deed, and it makes no mention of it, nor of Haggie or Moir. Munby does state, however, that 'the house of William H. Robinson Ltd. closed its doors' in December 1956, and that in 'their retirement the brothers retained, in their new capacity as private owners, the residue of the Phillipps Collection, still extensive and of infinite variety. The routine commitments of commerce had allowed all too little time for the patient examination of many thousands of manuscripts and documents, which at a cursory view had seemed tobe of secondary importance, and a good deal of the brothers' newly found leisure has been devoted to winnowing the wheat from the chaff. The orderly segregation of what is valuable and the jettisoning of the worthless will occupy a good many years yet'. PROVENANCE: purchased from a collector who bought an unregarded filing cabinet at the Philip Robinson/Phillipps Sale at Chiswick Auctions (apparently January 2006, though my memory makes it feel more recent!).