Munby Centenary Fund

Munby in the Library

In June 2013 King’s College held a conference to mark the centenary of the birth of A.N.L. (Tim) Munby. Tim was Librarian at King’s from 1947 to 1974, and occupied many other College offices besides.

The conference was highly successful, with a distinguished panel of speakers from the world of bibliography and the history of books, and 120 registered participants. There were exhibitions at King’s and the University Library, a tour of the Fitzwilliam Founder’s Library, and a dinner with entertainments.

Tim Munby pioneered the historical study of British book collecting and the use of sale catalogues to trace the history of taste in books.  His work brought sale catalogues into the academic domain as important literary and historical documents worthy of study. 

As a follow-up to the conference, and as a permanent tribute to Tim Munby, King’s College inaugurated a fund in his name.  Donations to the fund support projects initiated by Munby, or related closely to his interests and achievements.

The initial objective is to complete the online cataloguing of all of the books in the collection of John Maynard Keynes and generous donations have already made it possible to hire Dr Iman Javadi to begin carrying out this work.  Tim Munby began his career at King’s as the first cataloguer of Keynes’s great collection.

The Fund’s next objective will be to support the Modern Archives, created by Munby. King’s has received a major award of £430,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to enable the purchase of the John Schroder collection of Rupert Brooke manuscripts. This gives the College a wonderful opportunity to secure the largest Brooke collection in private hands. Another £70,000 is needed, and individual donations to help achieve this target will be gratefully received and acknowledged.

The arrival of Rupert Brooke papers at King’s from 1931 onwards gave Tim Munby the nucleus around which he built the Modern Archives collections. He encouraged donations of the archives of important literary figures of the twentieth century. The collections include papers of T.S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, and key members of the Bloomsbury group. Donations will enable us to continue to acquire important items relating to the collections and to catalogue and conserve them.

A summary of the Fund’s progress to date has appeared on our Special Collections Blog King's Treasures and further updates will follow. You can also read there brief articles about Keynes books (with images) as they are catalogued by Dr Javadi. We would like to acknowledge the generous contributions made by our inaugural donors. A separate page contains details about how to donate to the Munby Centenary Fund. Enquiries may also be made to Peter Jones (pmj10@cam.ac.uk ), Fellow and Librarian, King’s College.

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