William Le Fanu: Correspondence on Sir Geoffrey Keynes's seventieth birthday party

Scope and Content

Manuscript and typescript correspondence regarding the seventieth birthday party for Sir Geoffrey Keynes, comprised mainly of replies to invitations.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Richard Le Fanu (1904-1995) was librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons, 1929-1968. He published works on the surgeon Edward Jenner (1749-1823).

Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes (1887-1982), surgeon, bibliographer and literary scholar, was born in Cambridge on 25 March 1887. His brother was John Maynard Keynes, later Lord Keynes. Geoffrey went to school at Rugby before entering Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1906, to study natural sciences. He trained at St Bartholomew's Hospital, and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War. After the war, he became part of the surgical team at Bart's, where he was appointed assistant surgeon in 1928. During the Second World War, he was consulting surgeon to the R.A.F., and was made acting Air Vice-Marshal in 1944. Keynes retired from Bart's in 1952, and received a knighthood in 1955. He died at Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, on 5 July 1982.

Keynes wrote many bibliographies and biographies. The subjects of his works include Jane Austen, Rupert Brooke, John Donne, John Evelyn, William Harvey, William Hazlitt, Siegfried Sassoon, Izaak Walton and, in particular, William Blake. His work on Thomas Willis remained uncompleted at his death. He was also a great admirer of ballet, and wrote his own ballet, Job, with music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, which was first performed by the Camargo Society in 1931.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Presented by W.R. Le Fanu, 1982.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Sir Geoffrey Keynes in Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls, eds, Dictionary of national biography, 1981-1985 (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 224-226.

Other Finding Aids


Related Material

Cambridge University Library holds other papers relating to Sir Geoffrey Keynes, MSS.Add.8482, 8542, 8543, 8633, 8828, 8829 and 9350.


W.R. Le Fanu's Three tributes to Sir Geoffrey Keynes on his seventieth birthday was published in 1957.