Papers of Professor Fraser Mitchell (1900-1988)

Scope and Content

The papers of Professor Mitchell at Gen. 2271-2290 include poems, plays and an unfinished novel Moth and peaseblossom which was to follow Cobweb and mustard seed published in 1928; copies of A slim volume; notes and manuscripts; general letters from between the 1920s and the 1980s; papers on educational research; letters to him on education; papers on contemporary poets and artists; and, material on religion and tolerance, and pulpit teaching. There are card indexes for Mitchell's research on Monboddo; letters and papers on his Monboddo research; newspaper and other cuttings on Monboddo; and, genealogical material relating to Monboddo. There is an album of Christmas cards, Victorian and Edwardian ephemera, postcard albums, and material on the history of Dundee. There are personal papers too, and Mitchell's academic hoods. At Gen. 1948 there are poems and an essay offered for prizes at Oxford, a typescript on paganism, a fragment of a novel, a typescript for a play, a verse drama, and printed material.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Fraser Mitchell was born in Dundee in 1900. He was educated at Dundee High School, leaving in 1918. In January 1919 he matriculated at Edinburgh University, studying English. He graduated with First Class Honours in 1922 and then went on to Exeter College, Oxford, researching English rhetorical preaching in the seventeenth century. He was awarded the degree of B.Litt., and was later successful in publishing his work English pulpit oratory from Andrewes to Tillotson: a study of its literary aspects (1932). After Oxford, Mitchell studied Education at Moray House and Edinburgh University, and became personal assistant to Professor Sir Godfrey Thomson (1925-1951). After a temporary post as Lecturer in English at Armstrong College, Newcastle, he was appointed Lecturer in Education at the University of Reading in 1928 where he remained until 1944. A secondment to Farnborough Grammar School as an English master was followed by his appointment as Professor of Education in the Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, where he instructed teachers of religious knowledge, missionary teachers, overseas student teachers, Froebel students, and youth leaders. With the closure of the Department of Education at Selly Oak in 1951, Mitchell took a post as Assistant Lecturer in English at Huddersfield Technical College, but in 1955 he returned to the Midlands to take part in the establishment of the Malayan Teachers' College in Wolverhampton. There, three hundred students flown over from Malaya were trained for secondary school teaching. He then returned to Huddersfield Technical College for a time, was a Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, 1957-1958, and until his retirement in 1965 was an Assistant English Master at Colne Valley High School. In addition to his study of comparative education, religious education and comparative religion, Mitchell was interested in the life of James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714-1799). When he retired to Dundee, he took up his research again and involved himself in church work. He published collections of poetry including Off parade and other verses (1919), Cobweb and mustard seed (1928), and A slim volume (1960). William Fraser Mitchell died in July 1988.

Access Information

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The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.34. No.2. Dec.1989, pp.116-119, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Graduates' Association.

Other Finding Aids

An important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.

Related Material

The Index to Manuscripts shows a reference to letters to W. F. Mitchell covering 1947-1970 at Gen. 1971/3

Additional Information

The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.34. No.2. Dec.1989, pp.116-119, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Graduates' Association.

Geographical Names