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AL Smith Collection - Arrangement

The papers, letters, notebooks and the smaller gifts from Lady Clay together almost certainly formed the bulk of Smith's entire papers. However at some point after his death the three elements became separated. A rough list of the "Papers of A.L. Smith" was prepared at some point and signed "E.L. Morgan." It is not clear who E.L. Morgan was. This list dealt with the different areas of the papers very inconsistently. Similarly a listing of the Letters was made, but contained several errors, and a great number of letters remained loose or unlisted. The notebooks were never listed. Given the disorganised nature of the Smith material, when this catalogue was compiled it was decided to re-unite all the material within one catalogue and completely re-list it. Because of the inconsistencies in the arrangements and earlier listing of the Smith material, this has necessitated some complex arrangements within this catalogue. These are described below.

1. The Papers of A.L. Smith - General Arrangement.

Before this catalogue was compiled, the Papers of A.L. Smith were divided up by topic and kept in red file boxes which appeared to have been used by Smith himself. It seems likely that this is how Mary Smith kept the material when acting as her husband's secretary following the death of his college secretary, George Whitaker. A typed foolscap handlist of the Papers signed by "E.L. Morgan" (it is not clear who E.L. Morgan was) had been prepared - this divided up the Papers into four groups - I: "Historical and Scholarly," II: "Papers on Public Questions," III: "Balliol," and IV: "Miscellaneous." These groups may well reflect how Smith arranged his papers, as many of the titles noted in the "E.L. Morgan" list matched those marked on the red file boxes in large black lettering. The list then divided Groups I and II of the Papers into classes. Group I, "Historical and Scholarly" was divided into three classes: History, The History of Political Thought, and Political Science. Group II, "Papers on Public Questions" was divided into five classes: Extra-Mural Work, Church and State, Education During The War, The War and Public Policy, and Post-War. All three classes in Group I had been further sub-divided into individual topics, for example "The Stuarts" or "Political Thought." Only the fourth class in Group II, The War, had been subdivided further, and, as mentioned above, the compiler of the "E.L. Morgan" list had not divided Groups III and IV at all.

When this catalogue was compiled, the division of the papers into four Groups, with a further division into Classes was preserved, as this seemed to be the closest to the way in which the Smiths kept the Papers. The titles given to the various parts of the Papers by the "E.L. Morgan" list have also been re-used. The Groups kept their Roman numerals, and each Class was given a letter identifier. For example, II E is Class E, Post-War material, in Group II, "Papers on Public Questions."

No consistent method of sub-dividing the Classes had been preserved in the "E.L. Morgan" list, and no overall method was apparent after a careful initial examination of the Papers. Therefore the further divisions used here were carried when this catalogue was compiled, in order to make the material more accessible, and in order to incorporate the notebooks and other small items which had almost certainly been part of A.L. Smith's papers originally. However, where sub-divisions were found on the "E.L. Morgan" list or were apparent in the original documents, they have been preserved. The inconsistencies of this list and those within the Papers meant that each Group had to be catalogued in a slightly different way to preserve what little remained of Smith's own system. Where material has been added to or moved around within the structure of the "E.L. Morgan" list, a note to that effect has been included in the catalogue, except in the case of the academic notebooks.

Group I Arrangement.

The "E.L. Morgan" list sub-divided Classes A and B in Group I into topic areas corresponding to the various periods of history taught or studied by Smith. These have been preserved, but they have been re-ordered so that material linked to Smith's published works appears first in each class. Each topic area has been given a number, for example topic 12 in Group I Class A is teaching material on "The Papacy." The original numbers of these topics from the "E.L. Morgan" list have been noted in the relevant part of the catalogue. Each topic area was then divided again to give sets of papers and documents of a similar nature, for example set 2 in topic 12 consists of printed syllabuses on the Papacy. Then if necessary these sets of documents are listed as individual items, with Roman numerals used to identify each item. For example, I A9/2vii is a set of TS notes for a German history syllabus:

I = Group I, "Historical And Scholarly."
A = Class A in Group I, "History" teaching papers.
9 = Topic area 9 in Class A, material on "The Holy Roman Empire..."
2 = Second set of material for topic 9, "TS lectures, syllabuses etc."
v = item 5 in that set, a set of TS notes for a syllabus.

Class C in Group I, "Political Science" teaching material, had not been divided by the "E.L. Morgan" list, because all the material in it concerned the one area of Smith's teaching. Therefore Class C omits the topic divisions, and has been divided into sets and, where necessary, individual items.

This division into sets of material has enabled material excluded from from the "E.L. Morgan" list to be placed within the framework of the catalogue, but still identifiable as having been added when this catalogue was compiled. Thus the notebooks, the later gifts of Lady Clay, and the Smith, Wardrop, MacCurdy and Bullard gifts have been incorporated into the main catalogue, but are still identified as being separate from the Papers of A.L. Smith as listed on the "E.L. Morgan" listing.

Group II Arrangement.

The "E.L. Morgan" list divided Group II into five classes, and when these were examined the material in each class was found to have been carefully arranged into chronological order. This was possibly done by Mary Smith, acting as her husband's secretary, but was more probably carried out by a later user of the Papers. However as this arrangement had obviously been in place for some time it was decided to preserve it. As each Class was concerned with a single topic, there was no need for division into topics, so the Classes are listed in sets of material within the chronological order, and each set is divided, if necessary, into individual items. For example, II C6x is a set of TS notes on a resolution on citizenship from the Balliol Education Conference of 1916:

II = Group II, "Papers on Public Questions."
C = Class C of Group II, material concerning "Education During the War."
6 = Sixth set of material in Class C, "Material from the Balliol Conference."
x = item 10 in that set, a resolution on citizenship.

Classes D and E are exceptions in that the "E.L. Morgan" list did divide them into topics, following the contents of the file boxes, but still in a chronological order. Therefore they are listed in a similar way to Classes I A and I B.

Group III Arrangement.

The "E.L. Morgan" list made no divisions of the "Balliol" material in Group III, but in 1979, Dr. John Jones, Dean and Archivist, examined the original box containing this material and listed the contents as he found them. However, when this catalogue was compiled, more "Balliol" material and material from Smith's involvement with the University Endowment Fund had come to the Library - see "Provenance of the Collection" above. Group III thus became "Balliol and the University" and was divided into two classes. Class A is Balliol material, and is divided into topics and sets of material in the same way as Classes I A, I B, III D and III E. Topic area 1 is the Balliol material which Dr. Jones listed, and this catalogue followed the eleven sets of material that he identified, only it lists them in more detail.

Class B consists of the material from the University Endowment Fund which was found among the Strachan-Davidson Papers. This is divided in the same way as Classes I C, II A, II B and II C.

Group IV Arrangement.

The "E.L. Morgan" list made no division of the "Miscellaneous" material in Group IV, and when it was examined, it was found that much of this material had obviously been moved from other Groups. Where possible such material was restored to its Group of origin. However some material was added to Group IV, such as some notebooks belonging to members of the Smith family, and the Bullard Gift, which contained several small unconnected items but was obviously a Class of material in itself as a gift. Group IV was thus divided into four classes, Class A being material from the original "Miscellaneous" box that could not be replaced into the main body of the catalogue, Class B consisting of the Bullard Gift material, Class C consisting of non-academic exercise books from the Smith family, and Class D being a class in which later additions to the collection can be placed. These Classes are divided in the same way as Classes I C, II A, II B, II C and III B, ie they are listed by sets of material with no arrangements into topic areas - the Classes were already small, and, being miscellaneous, did not fall naturally into topic areas.

2. The Letters To A.L. Smith - Arrangement.

As noted above, these formed a separate collection to the Papers, and they date from 1916 to 1921, the most active years of Smith's Mastership. They were found in alphabetical order in 14 storage boxes, which included one box of unsorted correspondence, and one box of material relating to the WEA. George Whitaker and Mary Smith may have filed letters sent to Smith as Master separately from his other papers, in alphabetical order, but this arrangement was probably imposed on the letters by E. Vincent Quinn, former Librarian of Balliol. This structure has been preserved, but it should be noted that the original order of the Letters had been disturbed. The amount of unsorted material and letters that had got out of place would seem to point to this. A hand-list of the letters had been made, but it only listed authors and gave no idea of the content of each letter. Some items were in the wrong boxes, many loose unlisted letters were found in each box, and some boxes appeared not to have been listed at all. When this catalogue was compiled, these letters were replaced in the main alphabetical sequence, and every attempt was made to place them as they would have been placed in Smith's time. Also when this catalogue was compiled, the box of unsorted correspondence was sorted. Therefore the list of the Letters in this catalogue supersedes the older list. References to the Letters consist of a letter of the alphabet followed by the letter's (or set of correspondence's) individual indentifying number. For example F20 is correspondence concerning H.A.L. Fisher. A small amount of unidentifiable material consisting of envelopes, fragments of letters etc was found in the various boxes, and this has been placed after the list of the Letters.

Note also that the box of WEA material in the Letters is somewhat anomalous, as it contains minutes of meetings and reports as well as correspondence, and was found to be arranged chronologically rather than alphabetically.

 

- Tim Procter, Modern Manuscripts Assistant, 1993


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