[ W. J. Thoms, founder of 'Notes and Queries'. ] Eight Autograph Letters Signed (all 'William J Thoms') to Doyne Bell, Permanent Secretary to the Privy Purse, on antiquarian matters, including a proof prospectus for the Folk-Lore Soc

W. J. Thoms [ William John Thoms ] (1803-1885), antiquary, founder of 'Notes and Queries' [ Doyne Courtenay Bell (1831-1888), Permanent Secretary to the Privy Purse; Folk-Lore Society [ Folklore ] ]
Publication details: 
Seven from 40 St George's Square, SW [ London ]; one on House of Lords letterhead. Between 5 June 1876 and 10 October 1878.
SKU: 18494

The eight letters total 18pp. of text, and are accompanied by a printed proof prospectus for the Folk-Lore Society, and a newspaper cutting relating to the Church of St Margaret, Westminster (which Thoms avows as his own, describing it as 'my Jeremiahade on the desecrators of Van Dun'), laid down on a leaf of House of Lords letterhead. All items in good condition, lightly-aged. The prospectus, of which no other copy has been traced, accompanies a letter of 4 January 1878, in which Thoms writes: 'I blush with shame at the proof I enclose that I am getting into my dotage. I have allowed a clever woman (whom I have never seen) to persuade me to take up her capital idea of a Folk Lore Society and having only meant to give a help to a project that deserved help find myself almost before I know where I am put before the world as the prime mover in he business. Pity Pity me!' (Thoms is said to have coined the world 'folklore'.) The prospectus, with '[Proof.]' printed at the head, is a bifolium of 4pp., 12mo, with the drophead title: 'The Folk-Lore Society, | For collecting and printing | Relics of Popular Antiquities, &c.' It begins with a list of the ten members of the Society's Council, including 'William J. Thoms, F.S.A. (Director)'. The first paragraph reads: 'That there is a wide-spread and growing interest in our Popular Antiquities, and an increasing desire to preserve the fast-fading relics of our Popular Fictions and Traditions, Legendary Ballads, Local Proverbial Sayings, Superstitions and Old Customs, is manifest from the number of Provincial Newspapers in which a