Archives and Modern Manuscripts Image of the Month: Henry Bradshaw’s near miss

MS Add.2592/302

As archivists, we spend many hours looking through much material in personal papers collections relating to the often mundane activities of day to day life; apologies for non-attendance at functions, descriptions of minor illnesses, discussions of family finance and suchlike.  However, every now and then we come across a random item which provides maybe not something of huge historical importance, but at least a spark of interest.

This letter is one of many hundreds in the papers of Henry Bradshaw.  Bradshaw was Cambridge University Librarian from 1867 until 1886 and much of his correspondence reflects his interests in manuscript studies, early printed books and his researches into librarianship, along with administrative matters relating to the University Library.  This letter, however, concerns a more serious matter.  Bradshaw, a man known for occasionally having a quick temper, shows remarkable restraint in noting that being shot at would be ‘a matter of very serious inconvenience.’ It is unknown whether the miscreant was traced and his weapon conviscated.

A list of the various collections of Bradshaw’s papers can be found online here

One comment

  • James Freeman

    More on this incident may be learned from Richard Beadle’s 2015 Sandars Lectures, which have since been published:

    Richard Beadle, ‘Henry Bradshaw and the Foundations of Codicology’ (Foxton: Langham Press, 2017).

    A copy is available for consultation in the Rare Books Reading Room: Cam.d.2017.47

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