Cambridge University Library

Readers' Newsletter No. 11


Manuscripts and Rare Books Reading Rooms

Following the award from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enlarge the Manuscripts and Rare Books reading rooms, work is expected to start during the summer of 1999 and to be completed by the early autumn of 2001. During that period all materials from the collections will remain available to readers. Some classes will be fetched to other reading rooms in the Library, but most will have to be consulted in a temporary reading room accommodating readers of both manuscripts and rare books, where space will be limited. It may be necessary at peak times to place some restrictions on access and usage.

If you are planning to work on the rare book and manuscript collections please try if at all possible to plan your visit to avoid the peak times (June to September) and, if possible, to use the Library before May 1999. Further details will be made available on the University Library's Web site.

Fundraising for the remaining amount needed to match the Lottery grant is still under way, led by a committee under the chairmanship of Lord Tugendhat. We are pleased to announce that a grant of £100,000 towards this development has recently been offered by the Dr Scholl Foundation.

Physical Sciences and Technology Library

The Vice-Chancellor has announced that the University will be establishing a new Physical Sciences and Technology Library, to be built in Clarkson Road, as part of the mathematics development. The establishment of the new library has been made possible by a gift of $12.5 million from Gordon Moore, the founder of the Intel microchip corporation, and his wife, Betty, to the Cambridge University Development Office in the United States.

The new library, which will be a dependent library of the University Library, will house the mathematics, physics and engineering journals from the Scientific Periodicals Library, the contents of the two departmental libraries in the Mathematics Faculty, part of the holdings of the Isaac Newton Institute, and some of the books in the relevant subjects from the main University Library building. Detailed planning is now under way and we hope to move into the new library in the summer of 2001.

Entrance Hall barriers

The new barriers in the Entrance Hall will go `live' this term. As you enter the Library the bar-code on your reader's ticket is read, partly to check its validity and partly to provide statistical information. The statistical `loop' is completed when your card is read again as you leave the Library. We shall shortly be receiving additional funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England towards the costs of providing access for academic staff and postgraduates from other universities. The continuation of this funding will depend upon our ability to provide accurate information on the use of the Library by such readers. It is, therefore, in the interests of all Library users that we collect such information as the funding received will help to support an improved library service for all.

The new barriers will ensure that readers will benefit from quicker entry. The Library staff will not have to check tickets, because the machine will stop expired tickets automatically. Staff will still have to ensure that large bags and other items are not being taken into the Library, and at the exit staff will still check books and bags as they have always done.

The barrier outside the locker room has been installed to try and reduce the level of theft of readers' property. The old locker room, to which anyone, whether reader or not, had access, was frequently subject to theft. We appreciate that the new barrier is inconvenient at peak times but it does at least ensure that only readers have access to the locker room.

Readers who hold the oldest Polaroid style of tickets (with colour photographs) should consider getting them replaced. There is no charge for exchanging the old style ticket for the new swipe-card. An appointment can be made with the Admissions Office by telephoning (3)33030.

The Siegfried Sassoon Archive

Siegfried Sassoon probably thought he had seen the last of Cambridge at Easter 1907. He had struggled with Law for a year, and with History for two terms, and had decided to give up rather than face certain failure in his exams. So he went home to his familiar life of fox-hunting, playing cricket, and writing poetry. He returned to Cambridge in very different circumstances in August 1915, as an officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. This time, the month's training course gave him an opportunity to make lifelong friends, in particular with the musicologist Edward Dent, and Theo Bartholomew of the University Library. Over the next few years they both helped to edit and publish his increasingly bitter war poems, many of which first appeared in the Cambridge Magazine. It was to Dent that he wrote, in March 1916, sending some recent poems and describing the death of his subaltern, who had just been buried, with two others equally young, by the fitful light of the moon, and with the noise of the guns drowning the clergyman's words. Sassoon's grief expressed itself in more poems, including the angry To a Citizen-Soldier, recently published in a Daily Telegraph article for Armistice Day by Dr Jean Moorcroft Wilson.

The young subaltern was immortalised as `Dick Tiltwood' in the semi-autobiographical Memoirs of a fox-hunting man (1928), a best-seller that encouraged Sassoon to write five more books of memoirs. But he always felt that poetry was his true vocation. He liked to print private editions of his poems before going to a commercial publisher, and Theo Bartholomew helped in the production of Picture show (1919), Recreations (1923), and Lingual exercises (1925). After his death in 1933 a new Cambridge friend, Sir Geoffrey Keynes (Pembroke 1906-9), stepped in and helped with five more publications, from Vigils (1934) to Lenten illuminations (1958). Keynes was an eminent surgeon and an avid book-collector - an interest he shared with Sassoon - and compiled a bibliography of Sassoon's works, spending several days with him in 1959, trawling happily through his archives and peppering him with questions about early poems that Sassoon had long since lost interest in.

By now Sassoon was leading an increasingly reclusive life. He made occasional trips to Cambridge, and was very pleased when his old College, Clare, made him an Honorary Fellow in 1953. His private life had not been altogether happy, but a correspondence with Mother Margaret Mary of the Convent of the Assumption led him, at the age of 70, to find peace and comfort in the Catholic Church, and to face death with serenity ten years later, in 1967.

Sir Geoffrey Keynes's energetic collecting benefited the University Library very greatly, when it acquired much of his library in 1982, including his Sassoon papers: rare printed editions, correspondence, and the manuscripts that he had inherited from Theo Bartholomew. Edward Dent gave the Library his World War I correspondence (a detailed catalogue was issued in 1992) and Mother Margaret Mary gave her collection of Sassoon's letters. In 1997 Sassoon's literary adviser, Sir Rupert Hart-Davis, generously gave the Library further correspondence, and eight notebooks, containing Sassoon's draft poems 1897-1964. The Library has also bought material from time to time, including letters to Sassoon from friends and admirers, from aspiring poets hoping for advice and encouragement, old soldiers down on their luck (Sassoon was notably generous), and schoolgirls wanting to tell him about their ponies.

A brief summary of the Sassoon material in the Manuscripts Department can be found on the Library's web pages in the section on Additional Manuscripts.

Genizah Collection audio tape

Those who live far from Cambridge and have no access to a library with reading material about the University Library's medieval Hebraica and Judaica from the Cairo Genizah may now hear all about the collection on an audio tape in the series Cambridge Audio Tapes, produced by the American Friends of Cambridge University. There are contributions from five of the team in the Library's Genizah Research Unit.

Professor Stefan Reif discusses the history and importance of the Genizah Collection and Dr Avi Shivtiel deals with Arabic material and relations between Jews and Arabs. The mounting of exhibitions is explained by Mrs Shulie Reif and the use of computer technology is the subject dealt with by Mr Ellis Weinberger. Miss Rebecca Wilson covers the role of women and introduces the theme of the Hebrew poetry found among the fragments.

Copies of the tape, which lasts for 45 minutes, are available at a cost of £6 plus postage and packing from the Library's General Office (admin@ula. or fax 01223 333160).

Shulie Reif recording her contribution to the Cambridge Genizah Collection audio tape

University Library and Scientific Periodicals Library: provisional periodical subscriptions

The University Library has taken out a provisional subscription, for one year, to the following journals, and the level of use will be monitored in order to ascertain whether a longer-term subscription is justified. West Room pigeonhole locations are given in brackets for each title:

The Scientific Periodicals Library has taken out provisional subscriptions for the journals listed below:

Royal Commonwealth Society photograph collection

The Royal Commonwealth Society Collections include approximately 70,000 photographs, representing a unique record of life in the Empire. At present, the catalogue is simply a typed list, and considerable specialist knowledge is needed to make the best use of the collection and guide users most effectively to its treasures. Work will shortly start on the conversion of this catalogue into machine-readable form. When the work is completed, it will be possible to search it not only for individuals whose names are recorded but also for more general themes and places, such as `royal visits to Malaysia', etc. Such a database will immensely improve the value of the collection to users. A further stage in making these photographs accessible will be to digitise as many as possible of the more important ones and link these to the catalogue database, with the eventual aim of mounting the images on the Library's World-Wide Web pages.

Law Librarians' Joint Study Institute

In early September the Squire Law Library, using the spectacular backdrop of the new Law Faculty Building, hosted the inaugural Joint Study Institute (JSI) on behalf of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL). This new, biennial, event was also sponsored by BIALL's US and Canadian counterparts, the American Association of Law Librarians and the Canadian Association of Law Libraries/Association Canadienne des BibliothFques de Droit. It was intended that each association would take it in turn to host the event, with BIALL having the honour of organising the first Institute. When the opportunity arose for Cambridge to host this prestigious international occasion it was considered to be too good an opportunity to miss and, as a result, the Squire's reputation among law libraries was clearly enhanced. A total of 61 people attended the JSI.

The programme for the JSI centred initially on matters relating to the legal systems of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with special attention given to constitutional issues. The programme then changed direction to focus on legal education in the UK, and current issues facing law firms and academic libraries. Finally there were papers given on legal publishing and national legal research collections which, appropriately, included the Squire Law Library.

New scientific databases

The Library is pleased to announce the availability of networked access to the INSPEC database for current students and staff of the University.

INSPEC is produced by the Institution of Electrical Engineers. The database covers the international research literature of physics, electrical engineering, electronics, computers, control, and information technology. It provides bibliographic references and abstracts of journal articles and conference papers. References to significant books, technical reports and dissertations are also included. The INSPEC database includes material from 1969 to the present and is updated weekly. The URL for this service is: Users will need to establish personal ATHENS authentication usernames and passwords in order to login to the service. Please see for further details of how to apply for ATHENS accounts.

The Library's electronic collections have been further enhanced by the addition of five databases published by Cambridge Scientific Abstracts: Animal Behaviour Abstracts, Ecology Abstracts, Nucleic Acids Abstracts, Toxicology Abstracts, and Virology Abstracts. Two important databases in geography, geology, and the geosciences have been networked to staff and students of the University via the University Computing Service's ERL service: GeoRef, from the American Geological Institute, and GEOBASE, an interdisciplinary database from Elsevier Science Limited. Details of how to use ERL databases are available from

Information about these services and links to databases on the World Wide Web can be found on the Library's Information Services Web pages at

Armistice Day: Memorials and Memories

Eighty years after the end of the Great War, the Library's new exhibition draws upon the wealth of unusual and unique material among the collections of Cambridge University Library in an attempt to survey changing attitudes to Britain's commemoration of the fallen, in both World Wars. The exhibition gives an impression of events on 11 November 1918: the stories, ceremonials, and memories of Armistice Day in Cambridge, on the Western Front, and around the world. It outlines the development of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, looking too at the memorials themselves, literary and artistic as well as architectural. Finally, it illustrates the strength and the importance of continuing remembrance, as we approach the Millennium.

Among the items on display are the manuscript of Sir Arthur Bliss's Morning heroes dedicated to his brother Kennard who was killed on the Somme in 1916, an autograph copy of Siegfried Sassoon's poem Ex service, illustrated by the author, a plan for a war memorial in King's Parade, and an intriguing description of Armistice Day in Cambridge from the diary of an Under Librarian at the University Library. Evocative and unusual works by Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Laurence Binyon and Vera Brittain can also be seen. Visitors are welcome to consult the newest item on display, an interactive CD-ROM containing the names and details of some 700,000 British soldiers who died in the Great War. Like many earlier items, this example of nineties technical wizardry helps convey the scale of loss: nearly five hundred British troops died on Armistice Day 1918.

Current and forthcoming exhibitions (Main Library)

In the Exhibition Centre

Armistice Day: memorials and memories
to 10 April 1999 (closed 2-5 April inclusive)

`A brave bad man': Cromwell 1599-1658
27 April to 9 September 1999

Opening hours:

Monday - Friday	09.00 - 18.00
Saturday 	09.00 - 12.30

The Exhibition Centre is open to the public and admission is free

Reading Room Corridor

Goethe, 1749-1832
Lent Term 1999

The exhibition forms part of the University's commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Goethe's birth - a commemoration which includes a series of lectures and recitals as well as a conference on Goethe and the English-speaking world.

The Friends of Cambridge University Library

Forthcoming meetings

All these talks will take place in the Library's Morison Room and are free to members: non-members £3.50

Saturday 30 January 10.00 (coffee will be served) Mr Nick Hewitt, Dr Alex King and Mr Peter Francis

Memorials and Memories: a study morning

Nick Hewitt is Project Co-ordinator for the National Inventory of War Memorials, Imperial War Museum.

Dr Alex King, formerly a member of staff in the Manuscripts Department who now works in the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is the author of Memorials of the Great War in Britain: the symbolism and politics of remembrance, Oxford 1998.

Peter Francis is Media and Public Relations Co-ordinator at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Saturday 27 February 11.30 (coffee will be served from 11.00) Professor Derek Brewer

The Cambridge Review

Derek Brewer, Emeritus Professor of English in the University and Master of Emmanuel College from 1977 to 1990, was Editor of The Cambridge Review between 1981 and 1986.

Saturday 13 March 11.30 (coffee will be served from 11.00) Dr Peter Searby

William Whewell: the man behind the myth

Dr Searby taught in the University from 1968 until his retirement in 1994 from a Fellowship at Fitzwilliam College. He is the author of A history of the University of Cambridge. Volume 3: 1750-1870, published by CUP in 1997.

The Friends' Book Sale will take place in the Morison Room on Saturday 6 March 10.15 - 12.00 (Friends admitted from 9.30). All welcome.

Editor: Ray Scrivens ISSN:1360-9033

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