Bundle of letters

Scope and Content

From Thomas Seccombe, (1866-1923), literary scholar. Thomas Seccombe attended Balliol College with Tait, and later worked at the Dictionary of National Biography. A successful literary scholar, he also lectured at East London College, Birkbeck College (University of London ) and Oxford, before becoming professor of English literature at Queen's University, Ontario from 1921-1923.

198/1 3 Jun 1888, queries when Tait will be visiting the Black Forest; expresses desire to accompany.

198/2 21 Jun 1888, discusses trip to Germany and desire to visit Antwerp and Cologne.

198/3 9 Feb 1889, asks for copies of Owens College Magazine containing Tait's articles on the Black Forest [published as "In the Black Forest" Owens College Magazine, Oct 1888 and Jan 1889].

198/4 28 Mar 1890, appears to relate to walking trip they are planning for the Lake District.

198/5 5 Jun 1890, discusses the recent walking trip to Lake District, also encloses ask for translation of transcript of a document; asks if he is applying for a literature lectureship at Owens (Seccombe had applied for this) (with envelope).

198/6 14 Jun 1890, thanks for translation of the charter (see /5); refer to ill-health of [G.A.] Wood, and possibility of visit to Germany.

198/7 16 Jul 1890, refers to his trip to Europe, asks for opinion of Spencer Walpole's English history.

198/8 21 Jul 1893, re. Dictionary of National Biography article on William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, 1474/5-1572.

198/9 21 Jan 1896, Tait's Dictionary of National Biography article on Sir John Ratcliffe; asks for information on family genealogy; Seccombe's ill-health.

198/10 27 Jan 1896, thanks for information on the Radcliffe family; comments unfavourably on a Dictionary of National Biography entry for Joseph Priestley (written by Alexander Gordon and Philip Hartog); hopes can meet in Spring (with envelope).

198/11 31 Aug 1897, ask if Tait would like to meet in Germany, where he is planning to visit shortly, refers to Black Forest holiday in 1888 [note by Tait says did not meet Seccombe] (with envelope).

198/12 4 Dec 1897, expresses admiration for Tait's review in English Historical Review [presumably of Maitland's Domesday Book ]. Discusses his research on Charles II, discusses whether Frances Stuart known as "La Belle Stuart" is model for Britannia on English coins; discusses examples of books which demonstrate "the waste of literary power".

198/13 27 Aug 1901, requests testimonial for post he is applying for (University College, Aberystwyth?).

198/14 2 Sep 1901, thanks for the testimonial; personal matters.

198/15 postcard stamped 26 Oct 1901, sends news from Rome which he is visiting with Sidney Lee.

198/16 15 Nov 1901, accepts Tait's proposal concerning revision of exam papers; has also been recommended for an assistant examinership at London (includes envelope).

198/17 19 Apr 1904, recently visited Devon, asks if can recommend a Manchester academic for a volume on religions and philosophies published by Constable. Recounts a recent lunch with (Hilaire ) Belloc and W. H. Hudson, and recommends Hudson's work.

198/18 2 May 1904, thanks for loan of Owens College Magazine which he has lent to 'Wells'. Requests information on the "literary side" of the Paston letters, and refers to Gaudier's edition in preparation. Has recent a paper to the Johnson Club on Samuel Johnson as poet, which was praised by (Augustine) Birrell. Recently met (William Dean) Howells at a Shakespeare celebration found him a "most agreeable, unaffected little man, undisfigured by the common florid fluency of the homo Amercianus".

198/19 3 May 1909, hopes Tait can "give some sort of show" to J W Allen's recent work.

198/20 12 Jul 1914, organising a dinner in honour of "Waverley".

198/21 16 Jul 1916, hopes he will be able to go walking with Tait in Lake District; recent death of his son.

198/22 (27 Jul 1917), can't meet him in the Lake District; regrets to hear of the death of Mark Hovell (Manchester historian), recommends (Alec Waugh) The loom of youth. Remarks on G G Smith's "Toryism and hatred of Ireland".

198/23 27 Aug 1917, thanks for his account of his literary society at Woolpack Wells; refers to military activities; also been discussing the Dictionary of National Biography with Sidney Lee; anecdotes about G G Smith and Sir Frederick Pollock.

198/24 11 Jul 1918, hope can meet in August; has been teaching a member of the Royal family; asks after Tout's health; praises "cynicism" of Strachey's Eminent Victorians; asks for his views on League of Nations, saying "Expect the Peace when it comes will give Diogenes a feast"; working on a history of the British Empire; his literary tastes and reading; news of his family and siblings.

198/25 6 Mar 1919, Tait's impending retirement; refers jocularly to T F Tout; will be lecturing at Oxford, his research work research on Johnson and Walter Scott, death of Stephen Reynolds, recommends some recent novels.

198/26 23 Mar 1919, personal news; will be leaving Sandhurst after seven years; congratulates Tait on his retirement asks for advice on definition of medieval English terms.

198/27 postcard stamped Dec 1920, personal details; has lost some notes on Jacobite rising of 1745.

198/28 31 Dec 1920, discusses their friendship; feels "everything seems to have taken a gloomier & more sombre prospect" since the War. Describes his teaching work at Oxford, has visited Abbot's Hospital; encloses a photo of his son, Lionel (present); Sidney Lee's work on Edward VII; praises Oliver Elton as a literary historian.

198/29 23 Apr 1921, hopes can attend a gaudy at Balliol.

198/30 postcard stamped 3 May 1921, refers to an academic gown requested by Tait.

198/31 21 May 1921, requests advice concerning the work of a Roman Catholic priest he is supervising

198/32 15 Aug 1921, hopes can visit Tait soon.

198/33 15 Dec 1921, personal news, news of Sidney Lee; news of Queen's University and his life in Canada.

198/34 newsletter of Queen's University, Ontario which refers to appointment of Seccombe as professor of English, includes a note in pencil by Seccombe, 10 Feb 1922, personal news and his activities.

198/35 23 Jun 1922, loss of Raleigh to Newcastle, discusses possible successors.

198/36 5 Jul 1922, his son's scholarship to Pembroke College, Oxford.

198/37 16 Jan 1923, his ill-health means that he must return to Britain personal news, asks after mutual acquaintances.(with envelope).

198/38 9 Feb 1923, ill health, and imminent retirement, planning to move to Devon.

198/39 25 Mar 1923, plans to return to Britain, death of his sister (with envelope).

198/40 1 May 1923, returning to Britain in late May and hopes can meet in June.

198/41 11 May 1923, his travel plans, says "feeling very sticky".

198/42 postcard dated 2 Jun 1923, currently in a nursing home [in London], planning to move to Torquay, hopes Tait can visit.

198/43 dated Feb 28 [dated at Merton College, Oxford, so probably 1919-20] teaching activities at Oxford.

198/44 Carte de visite photo of Seccombe as a young man.