Sir William Napier Shaw: Correspondence and Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Box 1: Correspondence, A-G.

Box 2: Correspondence, H-Z.

Box 3: Early correspondence on hygrometry and evaporimeters, 1879-1889; correspondence between Lord Rayleigh and Napier Shaw on the observation of fog signals at N. and S. Goodwins, 1908-1909; correspondence between Sir Oliver Lodge and Napier Straw on the audibility of the sound of gunfire, 1915; miscellaneous letters on international meteorology, 1919-1922, chiefly circulars; correspondence and papers on revolving fluid, 1914-1918; The Air and its Ways, correspondence and press cuttings about the Rede lecture (1921) and its subsequent publication as part of a book with the same title (1923); data and maps relating to normal monthly differences of pressure over the Northern Hemisphere, 1932; lines of equal entropy on the D.W.R.; Christmas cards of Napier Shaw, 1930-1938; Napier Shaw's geographical and obituary notices, 1903-1945; letters to Napier Shaw on his retirement, 1920, and regarding the succession, 1919-1920; photograph, possibly the BA Intl. Met. Meeting, Southport, 1903; diagram representing the constituent parts of a cyclonic depression; UCCI Units of Time Calendar, 1930; papers of a visit to St Petersburg, 1904; miscellaneous letters of appointment, 1901-1909; testimonials and other letters regarding Napier Shaw's application for the Professorship of Mechanism and Applied Mechanics in the University of Cambridge, October 1890; published reports of committees of which Napier Shaw was Chairman or Secretary; reminiscences.

Box 4: Speeches at dinners, etc., 1913-1928; Monday discussions at the Meteorological Office opened by Napier Shaw, 1911-1923; reports of the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the Meteorology Sub Committee; typescripts of the first two lectures for the Historical Review of Meteorological Theory, University of London, 1921; typescripts and manuscripts of newspapers cuttings and letters to the press by Napier Shaw, 1905, 1910, 1919, and 1923-1926.

Box 5: The Daylight Calendar, 1933-1935; general report by Napier Shaw of a visit by a delegation of the Meteorological Office to Bergen; letters and papers concerning atmospheric pollution, 1920s; correspondence relating to agricultural meteorology, 1921-1936; miscellaneous documents concerning education, 1919-1923; letters and papers concerning ventilation, 1890-1933.

Box 6: Miscellaneous memoranda and notes, 1906-1932; The Tephigram, miscellaneous computations; A.W. Lee, 'The effect of water vapours on the statical stability of the atmosphere'; papers relating to the admission of Women to degrees at the University of Cambridge, 1895-1897 and 1920.

Box 7: MSS and TSS of unpublished lectures and discussions, 1901-1933; lectures printed in The Air and its ways, 1912-1921; other lectures of which there is no typescript, 1902-1916; lectures and papers, 1906-1924.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir William Napier Shaw (1854-1945), meteorologist, was educated at King Edward VI's school, Birmingham, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he took the natural sciences tripos. He was a fellow of Emmanuel, 1877-1906, and assistant director of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, 1898-1900. He was secretary of the Meteorological Council, 1900-1905, then director of the Meteorological Office, 1905-1920. He became professor of meteorology at the Royal College of Science in 1920 and worked there until 1924. Shaw's published works included Forecasting weather (1911) and the Manual of meteorology (4 vols., 1926-1931). He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1891 and knighted in 1915.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Miss E.E. Austin, 1983 and 1985.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Napier Shaw in the Concise dictionary of national biography, Part II, 1901-1970, p. 603 (Oxford University Press, 1982).

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.

Related Material

Cambridge University Library also holds scientific papers of Sir William Napier Shaw, MS.Add.8124.

Corporate Names