Chambers Papers

Scope and Content

Papers, c1894-1942, of Raymond Wilson Chambers, including papers on all Chambers' major published works, and on his unpublished work with J H G Grattan on the Piers Plowman A-text. There is also a good deal of correspondence with friends, students and fellow scholars. Extensive family correspondence includes letters written home by Chambers when he was a student at UCL, and wartime letters from France and Belgium in 1916-1917. Also includes a small but valuable collection concerned with the study of Sir Thomas More.

Administrative / Biographical History

Raymond Wilson Chambers studied at University College London (UCL), 1891-1899, and was appointed Quain Student in English there in 1899. He stayed at UCL and was Librarian from 1901 to 1922. He was also Assistant Professor in the English Department, 1904-1914. In 1915 he became Reader in English. From 1915 to 1917 he served for a time with the Red Cross in France, and with the YMCA with the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium. In 1922 he became Quain Professor of English at UCL in succession to W P Ker. In 1933 he visited the USA to deliver the Turnbull lectures in Baltimore. He published 'Widsith: a study in Old English heroic legend' in 1912, 'Beowulf: an introduction to the study of the poem, with a discussion of the stories of Offa and Finn' in 1921, 'Life of More' in 1932, 'Thomas More' in 1935, and 'Man's unconquerable mind' in 1939. Chambers retired in 1941 and died in 1942. The fullest account of Chambers' life is given by C J Sisson in the 'Proceedings of the British Academy', vol xxx (1944), pp 427-39, with a bibliography by H Winifred Husbands.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Chambers' executors shortly after his death. Supplemented soon afterwards by a bequest from Dr E Hitchcock, who had worked with Chambers for many years in the Department of English.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed list is available online.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Related Material

Special Collections holds Chambers' books comprising approx. 600 items.