[Perse School Cambridge] The Perse School, Cambridge: Miscellaneous Papers, 1902-1934

Perse School, Cambridge.
Publication details: 
SKU: 23615

The Perse School ('Cambridge's oldest surviving secondary school') was founded for one hundred boys in 1615 by the will of Stephen Perse, a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College.The material in the present collection dates from the ground-breaking headmastership of W. H. D. Rouse (1863-1950; see Oxford DNB), whose energy and ambition transformed the school from the 'torpor and corruption' into which it had been allowed to fall over the years by its governors Caius College. During the period of his headmastership, 1902 to 1928, Rouse's experimental teaching methods attracted talented teachers and soon established an international reputation for the school. The collection comprises 184 items from the papers of the noted ephemera collector and 'Old Persean' Roland Knaster. (Knaster was for a time honorary secretary of the Old Persean Rugby Football Club. On leaving the school he went on to Sidney Sussex College, and then worked as a schoolmaster at Godalming, before joining the India Office.) With his eye for ephemera Knaster has preserved a mass of material which would not otherwise have survived, including mimeographed Edwardian programmes, circulars, fixture lists, publicity brochures subscription forms, speech day, form lists, material relating to concerts and entertainments, sports and games, the Old Perseans, dinners.The collection is in good overall condition, with items lightly aged and worn in all but a few cases.The following description is in 27 sections.ONE: Four items relating to the Old Persean Society 'Dinner to Dr. Rouse' on his first ten years as headmaster, 1912. Comprising a menu signed by Rouse, Knaster and sixteen other guests, nicely printed, with full-page photograph of Rouse in academic garb; 'Report of the Eleventh Annual Dinner giving some account of Dr. Rouse's Headmastership (1902-1912)', 12pp, 12mo, published in Cambridge by W. Heffer & Sons, Ltd; and two circulars each headed 'Dinner to Dr. Rouse'.TWO: Mimeographed lyrics of song for the Perse School Army Corps, intended to be put to a 'Tune by Percy E. Fletcher'. Dating from the time of other mimeographed items in the collection, circa 1903 to 1910. A fifteen-line juvenile effort, beginning: 'We are soldiers of the Perse School Corps, | You should see us when we're off to war!' Concludes: 'Oh! the brave and gallant Perse School Corps! | We're a merry band of soldiers, see! | Each of us as bold as bold can be | How to fight we always show, | When we come to face the foe | Rifles' crack and cannons' roar.' A poignant document in the light of subsequent events. The 1922 publicity brochure (Item 14 below) gives the number of old boys on military service in the First World War as 530, adding: Of the number who served 87 did not return.'THREE: Five sets of 'Form Lists': Easter 1907, Christmas 1907, Easter 1908, Christmas 1910, Easter 1911. Giving the surnames of boys and their forms. Each set consisting of a number of 21.5 x 8 cm slips of paper printed on one side only, stapled at the head. The one for Easter 1907 is marked-up throughout in pencil. Each has a title-page, the last four of which give some details of requirements, and list 'Holiday Reading'.FOUR: Twenty-one items relating to concerts and entertainments, 1902 and 1912. Includes: 'Programme of Concert & Tableaux Vivants', 14 December 1903; programme from 1902 including 'Scenes from Alice in Wonderland.; programme, 15 February 1902, with list of 'Exhibits' on the reverse; nine mimeographed concert programmes in facsimile handwriting, four dated between 1903 and 1910, the others undated, including 'EMPIRE DAY | May 23rd for 24th 1908. | Perse School, Cambridge, programme'; three concert programmes nicely printed as cards, 1907 to 1909; 'Perse Grammar School. | Programme.', 2 April 1903 (for a dramatisation of Thackeray's 'The Rose and the Ring'); 'Programme of Annual Concert', 15 December 1904 ('Proceeds in aid of the school amalgamated games' club funds'); programme for 'Sports' Concert and Prize Distribution', 5 April 1904; programme for 'Sports Concert, March 29th, 1911' ('The Prizes will be presented at 8 o'clock by Miss ROUSE'); concert programme, 18 May 1912 ('The Sports Prizes will be presented at 8 p.m. by the Mayoress.').FIVE: Seventy-five items relating to the Old Persean Society, 1902 to 1932. Comprising programmes, circulars, invitations, forms, cards (some addressed to Knaster), agendas of meetings, and other material relating to the Old Boys' Day, Athletics Club, Rugby Club, Annual Dinner and other matters. The earliest item is a program for the 'O. P. Society's Concert', 1 April 1902, followed by a similar item for 'Old Boys' Day', 28 July 1904. Other items include: invitation to 'the unveiling of the War Memorial of Old Perseans who fell in the War by General Lord Horne', 21 May 1921; announcement of a 'Reunion at the Blue Boar Hotel, Trinity Street', 14 May 1914; card for the 'O. P. R. F. C. Whist Tournament at the Oriental Café', 27 February 1911; fixture list for the O. P. Rugby Football Club, 1910-1911; a circular on 'The O. P. Tie'; a note on the 'New Blazer'; agenda of an EGM, 15 April 1914; signed circular, on letterhead of the Hotel Metropole, regarding Playing Fields appeal, 14 April 1927. One item names 'R. M. J. Knaster' of 96 Mawson Road, Cambridge, as honorary secretary of the Old Persean Rugby Football Club. SIX: Twenty fixture lists, between Michaelmas 1920 and Autumn 1934, the first fifteen said to be listing 'Arrangements' and the last five only titled 'Fixture List'. Eleven of the early cards end with the words 'This card is issued by the Old Persean Society for the information of Members.' Varying in design and quality of printing; eleven between 1926 and 1931 with the school crest printed on the front in purple; quality declining thereafter.SEVEN: Fourteen items relating to school sports and games, 1917 to 1931. Includes: 'Athletic Sports' programme, 22 May 1917; undated (Edwardian) mimeographed 'Swimming Sports Programme' in facsimile of handwriting, with names of winners added in pencil manuscript; circulars and subscription lists from between 1927 and 1931 relating to 'The Perse School Games Fund' ('for the maintenance of the school games and grounds' and the acquisition of 'an additional playing field of approximately 10½ acres'); a circular by H. P. Cooke on 'The New Playing-Field'.EIGHT: Eight items relating to the Perse School Tercentenary: six (1919-1920) headed 'Perse School Tercentenary and War Memorial Fund', comprising four circulars (one headed 'Confidential') and two subscription lists. A seventh item (1918) headed 'Perse School Tercentenary Commemoration'. The other item (1918), simply headed 'Perse School', reproduces a message of congratulation to the school on its tercentenary, that was 'read from His Majesty the King at a Dinner held in the Hall of St. Catherine's College on November 16th, 1918', and another from 'The Right Hon. H. A. L. Fisher, M.P., President of the Board of Education'.NINE: 'The Curriculum at the Perse School, Cambridge.' Undated. 4pp, 4to. Bifolium. The first page carries a few pencil emendations. The Curriculum is said to be 'based on Dr. Rouse's experience and observation during eleven years' work at Cheltenham and Rugby […] It has been largely influenced by what is known as the Frankfort Experiment'. A detailed description of branches from 'English Composition and Literature' to 'Bodily Training' and Drawing and Clay Modelling', in small print. Two-thirds of the document given over to explanatory 'Details'.TEN: 'The Perse School, Cambridge. | A List of Books for Home Reading.' 12pp, narrow 12mo. In printed wraps. Drophead title: 'The Boy's Bookself: A List of Books for Home Reading. Selected and arranged by H. B. Browne, M.A., Hymers College, Hull.' 'Printed by A. Brown & Sons, Ltd., London and Hull; and entered at Stationers' Hall, 1911.'ELEVEN: Publicity brochure ('pamphlet') for the school, with its title announcing that it is 'An illustrated Account of a Pioneer Public School. | Its Methods of Education, Games and Institutions. | With some Opinions of Public Men.' Undated, but from 1910, which is the date of the latest of the quotations, and the accompanying circular by A. I. Tillyard (Item 13 below). 19pp, 4to, with an additional ten plates including school scenes and frontispiece of Rouse. Stitched with red thread into red printed wraps.TWELVE: 'Addendum to Some Opinions of the Work of the Perse School.' 1p, 4to. Giving a long quotation from 'Direktor Dr. Max Walter, of the Musterschule (Realgymnasium), Frankfort a. M. (in letter to the Hon. Sec. of the Old Persean Society, dated July 20, 1910'.THIRTEEN: Circular by A. I. Tillyard, Chairman of Governors, August 1910. 2pp, 8vo. Appealing 'for help in order that the work now being carried out in the School may have a fair trial. […] The whole position can be summed up in Dr. Rouse's own words: By our improved methods we can teach all the new subjects, and Classics as well.' Clearly intended to accompany Item 11 above.FOURTEEN: Publicity brochure. Undated (latest internal reference to 1922, and comparison with other items suggests late 1920s), but with H. A. Wootton named as headmaster, and so certainly dating from between 1928 and 1945. Printed by R. I. Severs of Cambridge. 12pp, 4to. Stapled into card wraps with school name and crest in purple on cover. After lists of staff and governing body, the pamphlet describes various aspects of the school, beginning with 'Brief History' and ending with 'Successes' and 'References to Press Notices'.FIFTEEN: Six pamphlets, each titled 'Report of the Headmaster & Examiners to the Governors of the School, with Form Lists and Honours obtained.' Between August 1905 and August 1914. All printed in Cambridge by J. Webb & Co. Uniform apart from the paper stock of the wraps, ranging from 27 to 33pp, 12mo. A couple of the pamphlets contain pencil annotations.SIXTEEN: Seven Speech Day programmes, between 1902 and 1910. The first on one side of a single leaf, four of the others eight-page pamphlets, with the texts to be acted and recited on the day.SEVENTEEN: Pamphlet describing 'The School House, Glebe Road'. 12pp, 4to., and frontispiece. Undated, but naming J. W. Gunn as House Tutor, and containing a reference to 1909, and dating from around then. Four of the twelve pages carry full-page floor plans and illustrations. Nice stitched booklet, describing everything from to 'Advantages of Position' to 'Sanitary Arrangements'.EIGHTEEN: Circular by E. D. Berridge and five others, regarding a planned dinner on Rouse's 'approaching retirement' in 1928, headed 'Perse School House'. 1p, 12mo. Undated, but from 1928.NINETEEN: Text of 'Speech by Mr. S. H. Butcher, M.P.', 'At a Public Meeting held in support of the School at the Guildhall, Cambridge, July 11th, 1906'. 4pp, 12mo. In small type.TWENTY: Leaflet containing lyrics of seven hymns to be sung at 'Cadet Corps Camp. | Welbeck, Worksop, August, 1907.' 2pp, 12mo. (Knaster attended the camp: see his hand-written label in Item 27 below.)TWENTY-ONE: Offprint of long article titled 'Friends of the Perse | Hint at Old Boys' Dinner | A Prince's Club?', 'Reprinted from Cambridge Daily News, Monday, October 31st, 1932'. In two columns, on one side of 41.5 x 19 cm piece of paper.TWENTY-TWO: 'Perse Grammar School' card for recording individual boy's personal details. Undated. Not filled in. Columns for date, age, form, height, weight, chest, sight, hearing and teeth.TWENTY-THREE: Rules for 'Boarders'. Undated. 2pp, 16mo. 22 numbered rules covering meals, dormitories, clothes.TWENTY-FOUR: Form from the school Chemical Laboratory, meant to be completed following experiments analysing salt 'for base'. Undated. 4pp, 4to.TWENTY-FIVE: Two sets of test questions relating to current affairs, 1906 and 1907. The first a mimeographed facsimile of handwriting, headed 'Events of 1906', comprising thirteen questions, the last being, 'Would it be a good thing to make a Channel Tunnel?' The second, a conventionally printed set of nine tasks relating to 'Recent Events', dated September 1907, beginning with 'Give some account of the adventures of Sir Harry Maclean.' On the reverse of the second is a juvenile pencil note by 'R. Knaster' relating to 'Damas' Method'.TWENTY-SIX: Two volumes of 'Perse Playbooks': 'No. 1. Dramatic Work by Boys of the Perse School, Cambridge' and 'No. 2. Poems and Ballads by Boys of the Perse School, Cambridge'. Both published in 1912 by W. Heffer & Sons, Cambridge. Nicely printed in uniform style, with quarter binding of cream buckram spine and purple printed covers.TWENTY-SEVEN: Five items relating to Knaster's own schooldays. A crude hand-written label for him (and by him?) on Cadet Corps Camp at the Yeomanry Camping Ground, Worksop, Notts (see Item 20 above), and four of his school books: a geometry text book; a text of Eutropius; 'Latin Grammar Rules' by Jones and Rouse; and Jones, 'Exceprta Brevia'. All books marked-up (the first three heavily), and the grammar interleaved with pages of notes.