The Kenneth Povey Manuscript Collection

Scope and Content

The Kenneth povey Manuscript Collection comprise of three groups of manuscripts:

MS.3.56(2) two fragments of autograph letters to him, one mentions Mr. Harter's retirement. 20th century.

MS.10.55-77 Offprints notes and correspondence, two albums containing offprints of his published work 1926-1964. Three unpublished papers, on Sir Anthony Panizzi, Johann Lomeier and materials of biography, c.1932-33. Folders of correspondence, notes on and proofs of articles and notes on biographical topics, c.1949-63. Two booklets and a leaflet printed on a miniature press designed and contsructed by him, 1948, 1955-1956. 4 boxes date 1926-64

MS.14.1-29 Typescript copies of 29 letters dating from 1960-1965 to D.F. McKenzie, mainly concerning McKenzie's PhD thesis subsequently published as The Cambridge University Press, 1699-1712: a biographical study, see the bibliography for further details.

Administrative / Biographical History

Kenneth Povey was born on 7 November 1898. He was educated at Whitgift School and in 1916 won an open scholarship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Before going into residence he served as a gunner subaltern during the last year of the 1914-1918 War on the Western Front and subsequently as an interpreter with the army of occupation. He graduated from Caius with a first in Mediaeval and Modern Languages Tripos Part I (French and German) in 1921.

After graduation, and a short time working for his father's textile company, Povey took the Diploma in Librarianship at University College London. After only a year at Durham, Povey was appointed as Librarian at Queens University Belfast, in 1930. From 1938 until his retirement in 1961 Povey served as librarian at the University of Liverpool.

Povey was president of the North west Branch of the Library Association in 1957, and chiefly responsible for forming the North Western Group of its University and Research Section. Besides these professional activities his major interests were in the techniques of early printing and in William Cowper and George Crabbe. Indeed Povey's interest in early printing was so strong that he constructed himself two working models of early printing presses (now in the Bodleian). He conducted detailed research into the life and works of William Hayley, James Hurdis, and Charlotte Smith, but most of this never reached publication. Kenneth Povey died on 11 July 1965


The collection has been arranged into three seperate groups:

  • MS.3.56(2) Two fragments of autograph letters.
  • MS.10.55-77 Offprints of Povey's published work, three unpublished papers, notes and correspondence
  • MS.14.1-29 Typescript copies of letters to D.F. McKenzie

Access Information

Access is open to bona fide researchers.

Acquisition Information

MS.10.55-77 and MS.14.1-29 were given to the University of Liverpool Library in 1966  by Miss D. Povey. doesn't state any provenence on the third deposit.

Other Finding Aids

A finding aid is available for consultation in the reading room.

Archivist's Note

The Povey collection consists of three seperate series of manuscript material, as the material is all by Kenneth Povey and was deposited by Miss D. Povey it has been incorporated into the one collection level description.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and licensing rules available on request.

Appraisal Information

All of the material in this collection has been preserved.


There are no anticipated accruals.

Related Material

The University of Liverpool Library hold D538 records of library staff, this includes typescript of the Presidential Addresses of Kenneth Povey.

The University of Sussex Special Collections and Archives hold a collection called The Sussex Poets these are notes (manuscript, typescript and printed), articles, and photographs relating to three minor Eighteenth Century Sussex poets compiled by Kenneth Povey.


McKenzie, Donald FrancisThe Cambridge University Press, 1696-1712: a bibliographical studyCambridge University Press 1966Cook, D.F. and Ricketts, Obituary Notice: Kenneth Povey A.N. (1898-1965) from Transactions of the Bibliographical Society,March 1968 , p.51-56.

A copy of this book is available in the University of Liverpool Library, Special Collections and Archives Reference Collection SPEC R/Z232.C17.M15.

A copy of the above book is available in the University of Liverpool Library, Special Collections and Archives Reference collection, SPEC R/Z720.P .C77 .