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Material relating to John Dover Wilson, Regius Professor of English Literature

 Fonds — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Coll-1519

Scope and Contents

Collection contains:

  1. 1 x recipe book
  2. 1 x notebook: 'Ye monthly Brer', from January 1894
  3. 1 x bundle assorted postcards (11) send from John Dover Wilson to Dorothy Baldwin before their marriage in 1906, being illustrations of: Bernard Shaw, Henrik Ibsen (2), Walt Whitman, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Darwin, John Ruskin, Professor Huxley, John Burns, G. F. Watts, and cartoon 'Our imperial Hope'
  4. 1 x postcard - postmark Helsingfors 3 February 1906 - to Miss Dorothy Baldwin
  5. 1 x notebook/commonplace book: household accounts, business cards, postcards, 1920s and 1930s
  6. 1 x bundle postcards (15) - pre-war visit to Germany, 1930s, possibly 1934 - includes 'Hansa Flugdienst' ticket stub
  7. 1 x bundle postcards (4) - Malta - possibly 1930s
  8. 1 x bundle postcards and photographs (33) of Wilson's visit to Egypt, 1940
  9. 1 x group photograph - Wilderness Club, Edinburgh University, Season 1942-1943 - shows Mrs Dover Wilson (President of the Club) and Colonel R.B. Campbell (Chairman) - Wilderness Club was 'congenial Society for those who enjoy exploring the countryside and have an interest in natural history, especially ornithology' [Student's Handbook 1948-9]
  10. 1 x group photograph - 1943
  11. 1 x letter - copy - to 'Dearest Wingela...' - Balerno 16 August 1944
  12. 1 x bundle postcards (18) from a trip to South Africa in 1949 to visit Monica, Francis and Timothy - also to receive Hon.Degree from Durban- and to write prologue to the 'Sonnets' at Hunterstoun, Hogsback - 1 x postcard of Puerta de la Luz (Las Palmas)
  13. 1 x notebook: household accounts, 1950-1959
  14. 1 x bundle correspondence and off-prints arising out of a Swiss tour, 8-26 October 1952
  15. 1 x bundle correspondence and chronicle of a visit to Germany, 1953
  16. 1 x bundle correspondence relating to visit to Bochum, Germany, October 1953
  17. 1 x invitation to Miss [Angela] Wilson to attend Honorary Degree conferment ceremony (Professor John Dover Wilson) at University of London 26 November 1959, presided by Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother, and 1 x order of proceedings for the day
  18. 1 x bundle assorted letter correspondence, postcards, news-clippings, invitations, 1939-1964
  19. 1 x bundle of newspaper clippings about Wilson, 1934-1966
  20. 1 x script for Radio Tanzania / Radio Cameroun / Radio Uganda, given by Robert Govender in a programme 'Talking about books', and talking about Milestones on the Dover Road by John Dover Wilson - after 1969
  21. 1 x letter, undated, but circa 1969 - copy - to 'My dear Dover Wilson' from Joseph Needham, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, informing that 'the Council of the College passed unanimously a resolution of warmest congratulations to you upon achieving the last of the many volumes of your edition of Shakespeare'
  22. 1 x bundle of royalties statements - Cambridge University Press 1986-2009
  23. 1 x photograph of a bust of Professor John Dover Wilson


  • Creation: 1905-1964


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact repository in advance of visit.

Biographical / Historical

John Dover Wilson was born in London on 13 July 1881. His father, Edwin Wilson, was a scientific artist. He was educated at Lancing College and he studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, graduating with degrees of BA in 1903, and MA 1908. In 1906, Wilson married Dorothy Baldwin, daughter of the late Canon Baldwin, Harston, Cambridgeshire.

Wilson was an assistant master at Whitgift Grammar School, 1904-1905, and then an English lector in Finland, at the University of Helsinki (then Helsingfors), 1906-1909. From 1909 until 1912 he was a lecturer in English language and literature at Goldsmiths' College, University of London, and from 1912 until 1924 he was on His Majesty's Inspectorate (an HMI) for adult education and continuation schools. In 1924 he became Professor of Education in the University of London, King's College. Also, between 1927 and 1929 he was editor of the Journal of Adult Education. From 1935, Professor Wilson held the chair of Rhetoric and English Literature at Edinburgh University, a post which he held until 1945.

He was also a Trustee of Shakespeare's Birthplace from 1931, and a Trustee of the National Library of Scotland from 1946. Professor John Dover Wilson was made a Companion of Honour in 1936.

His publications include: Life in Shakespeare's England (1911); with others, The war and democracy (1914); with others, Shakespeare's hand in the play of Sir Thomas More (1923); The essential Shakespeare (1932); What happens in Hamlet (1935);The fortunes of Falstaff (1943); A. W. Pollard: a memoir (1948) Shakespeare's happy comedies (1962); and, Shakespeare's sonnets: an introduction for historians and others (1963). He was also the chief editor of The New Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1921-1969.

Professor John Dover Wilson died on 15 January 1969. He had lived in Balerno, Edinburgh.


1 box

Physical Location

CLX-A-604 and CLX-A-605

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession no: E2014.07

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 27 March 2014

Material relating to Professor John Dover Wilson (1881-1969)
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379