This archive comprising two series of files relating to the compilation of a Bible in Basic English. The first series (BBE/1) comprises over 600 letters, notes, retained copies and typescripts relating to the Bible in Basic English project, which was run by the Orthological Institute, between 1931 and 1955. The series is mostly composed of correspondence between C.K. Ogden, the Director of the Orthological Institute, or his assistant, Leonora Lockhart, and those involved in the project, notably Samuel Hooke, the editorial director of the BBE project.
The archive includes 116 letters, cards etc. from Hooke; 77 letters, cards etc. from Professor Theodore Robinson, professor of Semitic languages, University College of South Wales, who undertook a review of the translation; 140 letters from the publishers (Cambridge University Press) including many from the Secretary, S.C. Roberts, who took a personal interest in the project. Many of the letters from Professor Robinson contain textual criticisms of the translation. Other correspondents include W.R. Matthews, Dean of St Pauls and various Bishops and leading Churchmen, including an interesting letter from Bishop Barnes of Birmingham.
Of particular interest are: the draft of the original proposal in 1931 and correspondence with Professor Hooke relating to it; the amusing note by Ogden (1939) on vices(drunkenness and adultery) in the Bible and the difficulty of rendering them into Basic English; a detailed report of the Review Committee appointed by the C.U.P; various controversies regarding the translation, most of which were linked to Basic English itself , in particular the attack by C.S. Lewis in December 1944 in the Times Literary Supplement. The material relating to Professor Robinson includes the typescripts of various broadcast talks which he gave about Basic English and his paper on Basic English presented to a meeting of the English Association in 1944.
The second series (BBE/2) relates to a book The Bible, What It Is, and What Is In It, written in Basic English and published in 1938. It comprises 39 letters, retained copies etc. between Professor Theodore Robinson and Leonora Lockhart of the Orthological Institute. Much of the correspondence concerns Lockhart's efforts to ensure that the manuscript submitted by Evans and Robinson was correctly written in Basic English. The book represents a pioneer effort to use Basic English in the work of the Church overseas.