Papers of Prof. Cyril Brett (1882-1936), Professor of English, 1921-36

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Arthur Cyril Adair Brett (1882-1936) was Professor of English 1921-1936 at University College Cardiff, having joined the College staff in 1907. The Brett collection includes a number of notebooks of Herbert Bruce, Professor of History, 1908-35 and one of Harold Littledale, Professor of English 1899-1921, which were presumably given to Cyril Brett.

The collection contains several hundred notebooks, notes, lists, cuttings, postcards, essays, theatre programmes and illustrations. The notes and notebooks refer to various subjects including: English language, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Tennyson, Shakespeare, philology, plant names, innsigns, geography, chess and heraldry.

Of particular interest is an original manuscript of William Gilpin, Three Essays (published in 1792), with extensive alterations for an intended new edition, which was eventually published posthumously in 1808, with nine original drawings.

The collection also contains:

- an annotated copy of Chronicon Galfridi le Baker de Swynebroke, ed. E.M.Thompson (Oxford, 1889)

- Milton Tercentenary: the portraits, prints and writings of John Milton (Cambridge, 1908), extra-illustrated and annotated by Cyril Brett

- a 1925 edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, edited by J. R. R. Tolkien and E. V. Gordon, together with two holograph letters from Tolkien to Brett relating to the edition

- a photostat copy of Sir Edward Bysshe, Nicolai Uptoni de studio militari libri quatuor. Iohan. De Bado Aureo Tractatus de armis (London, 1654).

Administrative / Biographical History

Brett's printed books and manuscripts were purchased by the College in 1936.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is available by prior appointment, during 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

Related Material

Official records relating to Cardiff University and its predecessors are held in Institutional Archives and are the responsibility of the University Records Manager.