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St John’s College W.17 (James 583)

Memoir of Sir William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875) by his son J.R. Sterndale Bennett, late headmaster of Derby School.  c.1907

[J.R. Sterndale Bennett]: autograph manuscript of the biography of Sir William Sterndale Bennett by his son. This is JRSB’s own beautifully written manuscript copy of the work published by Cambridge University Press as The life of William Sterndale Bennett in 1907. Although in manuscript, it is laid out exactly as a printed edition would be, with numbered preliminaries (preface, list of illustrations, and contents pages), and appendices, which follow the preliminaries, but are annotated to indicate that they should be placed at the end of the eventual printed work. The preface is incomplete. The work contains occasional marginal corrections, footnotes, pasted insertions and some deletions. A press cutting from the Observer, June 10 1928, pasted into the front of the volume, describes the manuscript copy as having been returned to the author by the University Press, who requested a rough copy instead, as they feared to damage such a fine copy in the print room.

265 x 210 mm. Quarto, xxiv, 402 pages, plus 12 unnumbered leaves indicating the location of plates (illustrations not present). College bookplate. Plain leather-bound volume with simple blind tooled border, in custom clamshell box. The volume is accompanied by three letters from the donor, J.B. Sterndale Bennett, dating from 1929 and 1930 (one to the Master of St John’s, and two to Charles Previté-Orton) which outline the circumstances of his gift to the College of the manuscript of his grandfather’s life written by his father, and the making of a box to house the manuscript.