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Letters from Professor George Saintsbury to Rev. William Hunt

 Fonds — Box: CLX-A-1692
Identifier: Coll-2020

Content Description

This collection consists of typescript letters sent by Professor George Saintsbury to Rev. William Hunt D Litt., arranged in chronological order, dating from 1895 to 1932. The subjects of these letters are diverse, from family and personal matters, to literature and political discussions.

  1. First lot: "Letters Christmas Eve 1895 to Dec. 1917. Autograph letters and typescript copies of these letters have been sent to Professor Nichol Smith, Merton College, Oxford." 130 letters.
  2. Second lot: "Letters 1918-1919. Also letters 1915, 1916, and 1917 which ought to have been including in lot 1 with others of these years."
  3. Third Lot: "Jan. 17. 1920 - Dec. 9. 1924".
  4. Fourth Lot: "Jan. 20. 1925 - Dec. 12. 1927".

Also includes a small photo of William Hunt on cardboard, and two newspaper cuttings: with Hunt's obituary, and with a portrait of George Saintsbury.


  • Creation: 1895-1932


Language of Materials


Physical Description

Four bundles (loosely bound together with metal pins). Fair condition, although the binding covers are starting to fall apart and should be handled with care.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Rev. William Hunt was the son of the Rev. William Hunt, a vicar of Holy Trinity, Weston-super-Mare, and was born on 3 March 1842. He was educated at Harrow School during Charles Vaughan's headmastership, and then went up to Trinity College, Oxford, taking a second class in Classical Moderations in 1862, and a first in the old school of Law and Modern history in 1864. He was ordained in 1865 as curate to his father, and two years later he was appointed vicar of Congresbury, Somerset. In 1877-1879 and 1881-1882 he was also examiner in the School of Modern history at Oxford. In 1882 Hunt resigned his living and from there on devoted himself to literature. He was a frequent contributor to the Saturday Review, and to the Dictionary of National Biography, mostly for the biographies of the great English divines. In 1888 he published The English Church in the Middle Ages, and in 1893, for the Somerset Record Society, The Chartularies of Bath Priory. He was joint editor with Dr. Stephens, Dean of Winchester, to A History of the English Church; his own contribution was the first volume which deals with the English Church from its foundation to the Norman conquest. A few years later he joint-edited The Political History of England with Reginald Lane Poole, in twelve volumes. He was also the joint-editor of the series Historic Towns, and in 1907 he published a history of the Irish Parliament of 1775. William Hunt was also the president of the Royal Historical Society from 1905 to 1909, a D.Litt of his university, and an honorary Fellow of his college. Like George Saintsbury, he was well-versed in French literature. He died in 1931 at the age of 90.

The literary critic and historian George Edward Bateman Saintsbury was born in Southampton on 23 October 1845. He was educated at King's College School, London, and at Merton College, Oxford. Saintsbury was a schoolmaster at Manchester Grammar School and at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, before becoming headmaster of Elgin Educational Institute in 1874. From 1876 until 1895 he was a journalist in London, during which time, 1883-1894, he was the Assistant Editor of the Saturday Review. In 1895 he became Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at Edinburgh University. He held the Chair until 1915. His published works include Short history of French literature (1882), Essays in English literature(1890), Short history of English literature (1898), the three volume History of English prosody from the twelfth century to the present day (1906-1910), the two volume History of the French novel (1917-1919), and A last scrap book (1924). Professor George Saintsbury died in Bath on 28 January 1933.


2 folders

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated in April 2021. Accession no. SC-Acc-2021-0009.

Related Materials

Special Collections also holds the Papers of Professor George Saintsbury (Coll-79).

Physical Description

Four bundles (loosely bound together with metal pins). Fair condition, although the binding covers are starting to fall apart and should be handled with care.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in March 2022.

Letters from Professor George Saintsbury to Rev. William Hunt, 1895-1932
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