[ Sir Richard Vynne Southwell, British mathematician. ] Eleven Signed Letters (all 'Richard V. Southwell'), six in Autograph and five Typed, to the Secretary, Royal Society of Arts [ K W Luckhurst ]

Sir Richard Vynne Southwell (1888-1970), British mathematician in the applied mechanics field of engineering science
Publication details: 
Nine on letterheads of The Old House, Trumpington, Cambridge. Between 1 July 1952 and 16 January 1954.
SKU: 19728

Totalling 13pp. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn, with a few staple holes to corners. In the first letter (1 July 1952) he reluctantly declines an invitation to be the Society's Trueman Wood Lecturer, despite considering that the 'subject proposed has great importance at the present time': 'I am pledged to visit Iraq in November on an educational mission organized by the British Council; and since this year I shall also be going to Istanbul and Belfast, perhaps it is as well that I should not have any other preoccupation to divert me from the book that I am trying to finish!'. The next couple of letters concern the rearranging of the lecture to the following May, and on 9 March 1953 he writes that, following 'a very unwelcome interruption, caused by influenza, I am now hard at work on a first draft of my lecture'. The letters that follow concern the preparation for the lecture, which he finds 'much harder to prepare than I remember finding lectures in the past'. On 30 April 1953 he sends a list of individuals he would like to invite. The correspondence concludes with discussion of the payment of the 'honorarium' of thirty guineas, an invitation to the Athenaeum for an informal talk and, in the last letter of 16 January 1954, Southwell declining to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 'for the reason that when I retired from paid employment two engineering institutions allowed me to retain my membership without subscription: having accepted this concession, I can hardly incur a new subscription - nor could I really afford it!'