William Gerald Briggs (1885-1975), for whom the collection is named, was educated at WakefieldGrammar School and Malvern College Oxford, graduating in 1907. He became assistant inspector ofhigher education for the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1911. He was appointed the Assistant Directorof Education for Derbyshire from 1919-1933, and Director from 1933-1948. Dr Briggs was a member ofThe University of Nottingham's Council from 1939 to 1973, Vice-President of Council from 1948 to1963, and Pro-Chancellor from 1962 to 1973. The University conferred an honorary Doctor of Lawsdegree upon Briggs in July 1961.
Dr Briggs combined his professional interest in education with a passionate personal interest inthe history of pedagogy in its broadest sense. He was an avid collector of published works relatedto this subject, both those used in formal education, and in literature which supported personalprogrammes of instruction and self-improvement. His acquisition of miscellaneous related manuscriptsforms a very small element within this broader collection.
The Reverend Francis Hodgson (1781-1852) was educated at Eton College and Cambridge Universitybefore being ordained in 1815. He was the vicar of Bakewell, Derbyshire from 1816-1836, Archdeaconof Derby from 1836-1840, and Provost of Eton College in 1840. He was related to the Coke family ofBrookhill Hall, Pinxton, Derbyshire, ran a school in Bakewell, and was a close friend of LordByron.
German Pole, of the Chandos-Pole family of Radbourne Hall in Derbyshire, is the earliest instance of a member of that family in this collection. He is recorded donating money for the education of poor children of Radbourne, Derbyshire in 1743. Sacheverell Pole was born in 1769 and assumed the added name of Chandos in 1807. The name Edward Sacheverell Pole refers to two individuals in the collection. The younger was born in 1792 and was still alive in 1847. His son, William Chandos Pole (1833-1895) was educated at Eton College. He was ordained and became the rector of the church at Radbourne, Derbyshire.
Sir Henry Fitzherbert of Tissington Hall, Tissington, Derbyshire (1783-1858) was the third baronet of a line created in 1784. He was succeeded by his third son, Alleyne Fitzherbert (1815-1860), who was ordained and became the rector of Warsop, Nottinghamshire. Sir Henry and Rev. Sir Alleyne were both educated at St. John's College Cambridge. Anthony (1818-1855) and John (1820-1894) Fitzherbert were the fourth and fifth sons of Sir Henry.