MC:P390 Papers of D. Leslie Couper (1913-71)
David Leslie Couper was born in December 1913. Having first studied Classics at Glasgow University, he was then an Exhibitioner at Magdalen in 1935–40. He got a First in Classics Mods in 1937, a Second in Classics Finals in 1939, and then a Second in Theology in 1940. He was a Curate of Highfield, Southampton, in 1941–3, resident Chaplain to the Bishop of Chichester in 1943–6, Rector of Crawley and Vicar of West Crawley in 1946–50, and them from 1950 until at least 1966 was Vicar of Highfield Southampton again. He died in September 1971. According to a notice in the Times of 24 September, he was by now Vicar of St. Lawrence Church, Alton, Hants. His death was also recorded there as sudden.
This collection of his papers consists almost entirely of notebooks, with a few loose documents. A couple of notebooks relate to his time at Glasgow, and there are a few notes relating to his study of Theology, but everything else relates to his work towards his Classics degree. The majority of the notebooks consist of extensive notes taken by Couper at the many lectures which he attended, sometimes accompanied by handouts distributed at these lectures. These supply valuable evidence for what was being taught in Oxford in the late 1930s.
The lecture notebooks are usually inscribed on the front page. In the top right hand corner, Couper usually writes “D. Leslie Couper. E. Col. B. M. Magdalenae”; in the centre, he gives the title of the lecture and its lecturer, and at the bottom of the page he gives the date, usually in a form like “Term. Mich. Oxoniae. Anno P.C.N. mcmxxxviij”. Some volumes are used from both ends. Quite often, Couper only wrote his lecture notes on the right-hand page of an opening, but would go through his notes at a later stage adding further notes of his on the left-hand one. Where possible, the relevant lecturers have been identified.
In Mods, in addition to the basic syllabus, he evidently did options on Greek Lyric and Iambic poetry, and on Greek art. For his Finals, for ancient history he studied Greek History Period I (776–403 BC) and Roman History Period III (44 BC–117 AD).
It is not known what happened to Couper’s papers after his death, but almost forty years later they were found by a third party among his mother’s papers, and were given by him to the College in June 2009 as Accession No. 09/103.
Catalogued in February 2012.
The collection is divided into the following series:
MC:P390/MS1 Couper’s Miscellaneous Notes
MC:P390/MS2 Couper’s Tutorial Essays
MC:P390/MS3 Notes from Mods Lectures
MC:P390/MS4 Examination Papers and Prose Compositions
MC:P390/MS5 Notes from Ancient History Lectures
MC:P390/MS6 Notes from Philosophy Lectures
MC:P390/X1 Ephemera and Accounts