A quick post to alert readers to the URL of the beginnings of the online version of the catalogue that I am producing for the ‘new’ Sassoon deposit. The collection’s classmark is MS Add.9852 and the catalogue to it may be found at:
Readers may also be interested to see catalogue entries for Sassoon items held in various other Cambridge repositories which are made available on the same website. They are indexed as part of the unified Cambridge online archival catalogues initiative at the Janus website:
A freetext search for ‘Sassoon’ using the site’s search function will also turn up further references.
Something of a milestone in the cataloguing process has been reached today; the material has now been placed physically into the intellectual system of arrangement outlined in the post of 26 May. So far rearrangement has reached what is generally known as ‘item’ level (i.e. where an ‘item’ refers to a volume or bundle that will be treated as one discrete object). A decision will need to be made at a later date if any of the bundles of correspondence and papers merit rearrangement at ‘piece level’ or whether their original order should be maintained.
Some basic repackaging to aid the preservation of the material has also begun. In particular this means replacing metal items like paperclips, staples and treasury tags with brass paperclips; and plastic items like document wallets and polythene bags with folders made from acid free card. With this collection this is largely a precautionary measure as the paperclips found so far have not been exposed to the kind of atmospheric conditions that induces rust. In any case the temperature and humidity controlled stacks which the material will be kept in here at Cambridge University Library will inhibit further corrosion.
Cataloguing the collection began at the beginning of May. The material was purchased in December from the executors of George Sassoon, the only child of Siegfried Sassoon, via Sotheby’s auctioneers. The sale inventory compiled by Sotheby’s has provided enough detail to allow the identification of the main groups, or in archival jargon ‘series’, into which descriptions of the collection will be arranged. Ideally the archivist aims to preserve as much of the ‘natural’ or ‘original order’ of the material as possible whilst also creating a logical structure of ‘categories’ that allows the researcher to readily identify material of relevance to their work.
So far the following series and sub-series have been identified:
- Sporting notebooks
- Commonplace books
- Legal and accounts
- Poetry notebooks
- Material relating to prose works:
- ‘The Old Century’
- ‘The Weald of Youth’
- ‘Siegfried’s Journey’
- Critical writings
- Printed matter
- Papers of other individuals:
- Katherine Gatty
- The Gatty family
- Hester Sassoon
- Rupert Hart-Davis
- Dom Wulstan Phillipson
- George Baker
Once this structure is a little clearer more detailed descriptions of the series (such as covering dates) will begin to appear under the classmark MS Add.9852 amongst the Cambridge University Library Department of Manuscript’s other catalogues displayed online at: