Mont Follick Papers

Scope and Content

Mont Follick's papers mostly concern his work on spelling reform, and include his draft manuscripts and typescripts of the The case for spelling reform. as well as some of his more ephmeral writings (MON/1). MON/2 is a small body of correspondence and related documents, most of which relate to Follick's early career and travels, and include testimonials for employment and personal correspondence; there is also some correspondence concerning his attempt to find a published for The case for spelling reform. MON/3 comprises cuttings collected by Follick, relating to spelling reform and his political activities in the 1930s and 1940s. MON/4 is a miscellanuous series, whcih includes papers relating to Follick's sponsorship of parliamentary bills for spelling reform.

The collection does not include Follick's political correspondence, and only very little relating to his business activities particualry the Regent School of Languages.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mont Follick (1887-1958) was a politician and a notable figure in the movement for spelling reform in middle decades of the twentieth century.

Little is known of Follick's early life; he grew up in Cardiff, and appears to have worked in London. He emigrated to Australia around 1907-8, but by 1909 he was working at the Berlitz School of Languages in Paris, where he remained until 1912. In 1912, he was studying at the University of Halle, Germany, and by 1914 Follick was living in Italy. During and after the First World War, he maintained this peripatetic lifestyle, working as a language teacher in Spain, and also, it is believed, as a private secretary to the Aga Khan and Muley Hafid, a Moroccan ruler.

Follick helped establish the Regent School of Languages in London, and acquired a substantial fortune through the commercial teaching of foreign languages. By the mid-1930s he had become involved in politics, unsuccessfully contesting West Fulham for the Labour Party in the 1935 general election. In 1945 he was elected Labour MP for Loughborough, and held his seat until he retired in 1955.

Follick's great passion was spelling reform. As a MP, he introduced several unsuccessful private bills for spelling reform, working with the Conservative MP, Sir James Pitman (1901-1985) over such initiatives. Follick was also very active in the Simplified Spelling Society.

Follick was the author of several books including fiction, The Adams lottery, and other Australian tales (1918) and The efforts of chance(1938), a political study, Facing facts : a political survey for the average man (1935), as well as works on spelling reform, most notably the posthumously published The case for spelling reform (London 1965).


This small collection is arranged into series:

  • MON/1 - Typescripts/Manuscripts
  • MON/2 - Correspondence and related papers
  • MON/3 - Cuttings
  • MON/4 - Miscellaneous

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The Follick papers were transferred to the University of Manchester Library c.1960. It is believed they were acquired in association with Follick's endowment of a chair of linguistics at the University.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.


No accruals expected.

Related Material

Follick's political correspondence with the Colonial Office, can be found in the Private Office Papers, CO 967 & 959, The National Archives.

Papers of Follick's parliamentary colleague and fellow spelling reformer, Sir James Pitman, are kept at the London School of Economics, Archives Division, (ref. PITMAN), and at the University of Bath.

The University of Manchester vice-chancellor's archive has a file relating to Follick's bequest to the University to establish a chair in linguistics, VCA/7/432 .