The Wormald Collection

The collection

The Wormald Collection was the personal library of Professor Francis Wormald, and includes numerous manuscripts and facsimiles. It was donated to the University by his widow, Honoria Wormald, as a result of the presence in York of Dr. Peter Newton, one of his pupils and the foremost scholar of stained glass of his generation.

Wormald's collection of manuscripts were divided after his death between the Fitzwilliam Museum, the British Library, the Bodleian and University of London libraries, and private beneficiaries.

The collection covers the fields of stained glass, palaeography, manuscript illumination and liturgical history, in which Professor Wormald was an international authority.

The collector

Prof. Francis Wormald, palaeographer and art historian, was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire in June 1904. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, from 1927 to 1949 he served as Assistant Keeper at the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum. During the Second World War Wormald served in the Ministry of Home Security, producing Civil Defence training films. He was Professor of Paleography at the University of London between 1950 and 1960. In 1960 he was appointed Professor of History and Director of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR). Wormald was a member of the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton University, USA, from 1955 until 1956; the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in 1957; the Advisory Council on Public Records from 1965 to 1967 and President of the Society of Antiquaries from 1965 to 1970. In 1967 he became a Trustee of the British Museum and Governor of the London Museum in 1971.

His major publications include English Kalendars before AD 1100 (1934); English Benedictine Kalendars after 1100 (2 volumes, 1939 and 1946) and English Drawings of the 10th and 11th Centuries (1952). He also contributed articles to Archaelogia, Antiquaries Journal and the Walpole Society. He was appointed Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge in 1961 and awarded a CBE in 1969. He died on 11 January 1972.

Acquisition

The University received the collection in 1973 from his widow, Mrs. Honoria Wormald.

In 2001 the University received a donation by the Wormald Trust, which was used over the years to purchase major works in the areas of Wormald’s particular interests. Among them are some books from series which he had started to acquire before his death but which have subsequently remained incomplete, such as the publication of the Henry Bradshaw Society on liturgical history. There are also art history and manuscript monographs, catalogues and facsimiles, published over the last thirty years and which were expensive to acquire. Some of the first additions include two monographs on the famous Mappa Mundi of c.1290, and a large-format volume on the Bury Bible, one of the finest of all medieval illuminated manuscripts dating from c.1140 with magnificent full size full-colour plates.

Access

The collection can be consulted without prior notice, but is not borrowable.

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