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Archive of Henry Graham Pollard


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The Pollard papers fall into two groups: records of Birrell & Garnett Ltd., antiquarian and new booksellers, and bibliographical working papers and personal correspondence of Henry Graham Pollard. There is inevitably some overlap in the subject matter of the papers in the two.

The papers of Birrell & Garnett Ltd. in the collection include the firm's catalogues, orders for books, and files of correspondence, mainly 1927-39. The account books were given to the British Library by Jane Norton's executors, and are now Add. MSS. 52862-52870.

This catalogue is an edited version of a more detailed description compiled by Esther Potter. A subject index prepared to accompany that description, photocopied from Ms. Potter's cards is now MS. Pollard 425. The Library is most grateful to her for the many months she has devoted to the arrangement and cataloguing of these papers.


  • Creation: 1890-1984


49.39 Linear metres (449 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. , MS. Pollard 1, fols. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Pollard 1-154, 156-425

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12840


Papers of Henry Graham Pollard, (1903-1976) bibliographer.

Biographical / Historical

Graham Pollard was born in Putney on 7 March 1903, the son of A.F. Pollard, historian, and first director of the Institute of Historical Research, and of Catherine Susannah Lucy, daughter of William Lucy, director of the Oxford iron-working company of that name. From Willington Preparatory School, Putney, Pollard went to Shrewsbury School (1916-20), where his housemaster was J.B. Oldham, the school librarian. He read history of Oxford, winning a scholarship to Jesus College in 1921, and became a partner in Birrell & Garnett in 1924, when he went down from Oxford. An appreciable part of this collection of letters and working papers belongs to the Birrell & Garnett period.

In 1934 Pollard, with John Carter, published An enquiry into the nature of certain nineteenth century pamphlets. Working papers for this are at the University of Texas. Notes for the catalogue of books at Waddesdon Manor compiled by him are at Waddesdon. All the other working papers that have survived are in this collection. In the 1930s Pollard was on the editorial board of Oxford Books on Bibliography, and there is a lively correspondence with John Johnson, Printer to the University, who was general editor of the series. Another notable sequence of letters was exchanged with Stanley Morison. After a short tenure of the special lectureship in the history of newspapers at the University of London, which was curtailed by the war, Pollard served in the Board of Trade from 1942 to 1959. Bibliographical publications were few during this period, but correspondence continued, and the collection includes many carbon copies of Pollard's own letters. After his retirement from the Board of Trade he resumed work on many bibliographical projects, including the medieval book trade in Oxford, on which he published comparatively little, but for which he accumulated a great deal of material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given, together with a collection of photographs of medieval manuscripts (now MS. Facs. c. 108), by the administrators of Pollard's estate, Dr. D.E. Butler and Mrs. C.E. Colvin, in 1987

Related Materials

A collection of 18th- and 19th-century autograph letters, mainly literary (now MS. Eng. lett. c. 461) was bought by the Bodleian Library from Pollard's estate in 1979.

Twelve boxes of Pollard's papers relating to the Communist Party of Great Britain were given by Pollard to John Johnson, probably in the 1930s, and are now part of the John Johnson collection of Printed Ephemera in the Bodleian.

The account books of Birrell amp; Garnett were given to the British Library by Jane Norton's executors (Add. MSS. 52862-70).

Catalogue of the archive of Henry Graham Pollard
Finding aid prepared by E. Potter
1988, EAD version 2018
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom