Papers of Professor Leonard W Forster relating to the sale of books to the University of Hull

Scope and Content

This small file of correspondence relates to the sale of Professor L W Forster's collection of Dutch books to the University of Hull. The books were bought by the university for £3000 in 1982 and one of the conditions of sale was that they would remain in Professor Forster's possession, as a working collection, until his death. In the event the books were transferred in 1991 and 1993. The sale was initially suggested by Professor Forster to Professor Peter King in 1978, and the negotiations around the sale were undertaken by the then University Librarian, Philip Larkin. There is also correspondence regarding a disagreement between Larkin and Forster in 1984 about how the books were to be kept secure.

The correspondence consists mainly of letters from Larkin to Forster and copy letters from Forster to Larkin. There is also correspondence between Forster and his solicitors, and several letters to and from Peter King. A copy of the bill of sale for the books is also included.

Correspondence relating to the acquisition of Professor Forster's books and an inventory of the titles acquired also appear in the records of the Brynmor Jones Library, reference U LIB/2/116. The two files are not duplicates of each other, although some letters do appear in both, and taken together they present an interesting picture of how both parties approached the sale.

Administrative / Biographical History

Leonard Wilson Forster (1913-1997) studied at the University of Cambridge and the University of Basel, where he received a PhD in 1938. Following work at Bletchley Park during World War II he was Lecturer in German at the University of Cambridge from 1947-1950, and Professor of German at University College London from 1950-1961. In 1961 he became Schröder Professor of German at Cambridge University, in which post he remained until his retirement in 1979.

Peter King (b. 1922) studied at the University of Groningen and University College London after World War II, and in 1952 he moved to the University of Cambridge where he taught Dutch language and literature. In 1976 he moved to the University of Hull as director of the new Institute of Modern Dutch Studies, where he remained for the next 11 years. The Institute offered undergraduate and research programmes and the university's Brynmor Jones Library built up a collection of around 10,000 books on modern Dutch studies.

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Conditions Governing Use

With author(s)

Custodial History

The papers were in the possession of Peter King until March 2016 when they were donated to Hull University Archives.

Related Material

U LIB/2/116 File. Forster (Professor LW) Library.

U DPL Papers of Philip Arthur Larkin.