Papers of Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers

Scope and Content

Working papers for publications by Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers (1866-1954), English scholar, historian of the English stage and civil servant, including:

  • The Mediaeval Stage, 1903
  • The Elizabethan Stage, 1923
  • William Shakespeare: a Study of Facts and Problems, 1930
  • Sir Thomas Wyatt and Some Collected Studies, 1933
  • Sir Henry Lee: an Elizabethan Portrait, 1936
  • Shakespearean Gleanings, 1944
  • Sources for a Biography of Shakespeare, 1946. Also includes unpublished notes to a proof copy of Richard III, edited by R.B. McKerrow

Administrative / Biographical History

Edmund Kerchever Chambers, born West Isley, Berkshire, 16 March 1866. Educated at Marlborough; Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Employed by the Education Department from 1892; served under Sir Robert Morant, permanent secretary to the newly constituted Board of Education, 1903-; became second secretary, 1921; resigned 1926. During his years as a civil servant he did much higher journalism and edited many editions of the English classics, especially Shakespeare. First president of the Malone Society (1906-1939). Chamber's services to education and scholarship led to many honours including honorary degree of D.Litt. from Durham, 1922, and Oxford, 1939; honorary fellowship at Corpus, 1934; F.B.A., 1924; C.B., 1912; K.B.E., 1925. He married Eleanor Christabel (Nora) in 1893. Died, Beer, Devonshire, 21 January 1954. Publications included:

  • The Mediaeval Stage, 1903 (2 vols.)
  • Early English Lyrics, 1907
  • The Elizabethan Stage, 1923 (4 vols.)
  • Arthur of Britain, 1927
  • Shakespeare, 1930 (2 vols.)
  • The Oxford Book of Sixteenth Century Verse, 1932
  • Sir Thomas Wyatt and Some Collected Studies, 1933
  • Sir Henry Lee, 1936
  • Eynsham Under the Monks, (Oxfordshire Record Society, 1936)
  • Shakespearean Gleanings, 1944
  • English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, (in Oxford History of English Literature, 1945

Reference: Dictionary of National Biography, 1951-1960

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue is available in electronic format on the University of Birmingham Special Collections website: A paper catalogue to file and item level is available in the Shakespeare Institute Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Papers on E.K. Chambers held by Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (Special Collections and Western Manuscripts): papers, 1822-1950 [ref. MSS Eng lett c 483-86, d 471-73; Eng misc c 717-19, d 1097, e 1129-31, f 637-38]; letters received [ref. MSS Autogr e 10-11]; Papers held by the British Library (Manuscript Collections): correspondence with Society of Authors, 1923-56 [ref. Add MS 56681]