Wright, Cyril Ernest

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Photographs, accompanied by notes and correspondence of manuscripts, collected by Cyril Ernest Wright c1933-1972. The first section of the collection contains papers, plates, photocopies, photographs, translations and notebooks containing notes of certain Middle English manuscripts held in The British Library, Oxford Bodleian Library, Durham Cathedral and Cambridge University Library. There are also some items of correspondence concerning Middle English Manuscripts (1948-1977). The second section contains photographs taken from Italian Renaissance manuscripts, notebooks of notes concerning manuscripts in various Dutch, Italian and English libraries and museums. Section 3 contains photographs of manuscripts, plates and proofs for Fontes Harleiani: a Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum . In the final section of the collection is a list of Harley Manuscripts in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Library.

Administrative / Biographical History

Cyril Ernest Wright was born in 1907 and was educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh. He received an MA in English Language and Literature with first class Honours in 1929 from Edinburgh University. At Clare College, Cambridge he received first class Honours in Archaeological and Anthropological Tripos in 1931 and in 1936 he was awarded a PhD. for his thesis on The Cultivation of Saga during the Dark Ages . His career was spent in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum where he became assistant keeper in 1933. After being seconded to the Telegraphic Censorship and Home Office during the War, Wright returned to the British Museum to take up the post of Deputy Keeper of manuscripts in 1955. He was Senior Deputy Keeper from 1961 to his retirement in 1972. Wright was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1941 and served on several of the Society's committees including the Croft Lyons Committee from 1957 until his death. He was a member of the British Records Association from 1940 to 1970. He contributed to 30 publications during his career on subjects such as Icelandic, Anglo-Saxon, and Middle English literature, on palaeography and on heraldry; and the history of collectors and libraries, from the dispersal of the monastic libraries to the collections of the eighteenth century. He died in 1980.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Other Finding Aids

M.J.Grant, The C.E.Wright Papers in the University of London Library: a handlist , University of London Library (1982)

Archivist's Note

Separated Material

Edinburgh University Library holds notebooks; Cambridge University Library contains correspondence and notes from lectures by H M Chadwick (Ref: Add 8281-2); the British Library holds papers (Ref: Add MS 61948).

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.