Sir William Napier Shaw: Scientific Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content


1. Folder entitled 'Twice Twenty & Four', containing typed pages for Napier Shaw's autobiography, as well as press cuttings, letters and a menu.

2. Photograph album of 'The Cruise of RMS Duchess of Richmond, 25 Jan. - 7 Mar., 1927'.

3. Photograph album, untitled, c.1927, containing mostly group photographs.

4. Napier Shaw, 'cave letters', 1903-1933.

5. Photographs of Napier Shaw, including a Christmas card from D.C. Archibald.

6. Meteorological photographs and some journal clippings.

7. Two boxes of slides: a) Studio clouds; b) Chaves clouds.

8. G.C. Simpson, British Antarctic Expedition: Meteorology, vol. II: weather maps and pressure curves (Thacker, Spinker; Calcutta, 1919), volume.

9. L.F. Richardson, Forms for weather prediction by numerical process (Cambridge University Press, 1922), pamphlet.

10. Maps of the distribution of temperature, rainfall, pressure and cloudiness over the globe, volume.

11. 'Manual of Meteorology: Thermodynamics', handwritten notebook, 1918.

12. Napier Shaw, Manual of meteorology, part IV (Cambridge University Press, 1918), volume.

13. Portrait photographs of Napier Shaw, with a letter from the Art Photo Service, 1930.

14. Membership certificate and letter of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, 1933.

15. Four slides (broken) of the International Committee, 1921 (3 slides), and Thermometers at the Cavendish Laboratory, 1886.

16. Catalogue cards for journal articles, c.1965.

17. Particulars of the life-history of Sir Napier Shaw and titles of his contributions to science.

The air & its ways

1. Photograph, Upper Air Commission in St Petersburg, 1904.

2. Reprint from Anxivs de l'Institut de Ciencies, a review of Napier Shaw's The air & its ways.

3. Folder, 'The air & its ways: Diagrams'.

4. Folder containing proofs of The air & its ways (Cambridge University Press, 1922).

5. Miscellaneous small diagrams for The air & its ways.

6. Miscellaneous loose proofs and notes for The air & its ways.

7. Copies of Printed Content page from The air & its ways.

8. Tone scale in box.

Manual of meteorology, part 2

1. Correspondence and notes relating to the Manual of meteorology, some loose, some in envelopes.

2. Envelope containing pages and labelled 'Volume 4, Blocks sent to CUP'.

3. Notebook containing notes for the Manual of meteorology, August 1918.

4. Envelope, 'Diagrams M.O. 234: Proofs of blocks'.

5. Notes of Wind.

6. Notes for Chapter II of the Manual of meteorology, 'General equations of motion'.

7. Library copy of the Manual of meteorology (1919), with corrections for the revised edition.

8. Loose sheets, 'Tables worked for the Manual (& charts)'.

9. Press cuttings and letters for the Manual of meteorology.

10. Corrected proofs of the Manual of meteorology.


1. Notebook, 'A Notebook of Notebooks, 1872-193-', outline and cuttings for an autobiography.

2. Book presented with a portrait by W.W. Russell to Napier Shaw on his retirement from the directorship of the Met. Office (signed by Met. Office members), 1913.

3. Photograph album, 'Riunione de Comitato Meteorologico Internazionale a Roma, 7-12 Aprile 1913'.

4. Pamphlet, Biological press agency - biography of Napier Shaw.

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

Deposited by the Cavendish Laboratory on permanent loan, 1976.


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 correspondence and papers of Sir William Napier Shaw, MS.Add.8434.