MC:F23 Papers of Henry Austin Wilson (Fellow 1876-1927)
Henry Austin Wilson (1854-1927), third son of William Scott Wilson, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, was born in Ayr 7 December 1854. Throughout his life he was known by his initials, H.A. He was educated at Trinity College, which was then a recently established school in Glenalmond, before matriculating at Wadham College, Oxford. In 1876 he obtained his BA and was elected to a Fellowship at Magdalen, where he would remain for the next forty years. (He received his MA in 1879). He held many College posts including Vice President, Dean of Divinity (he was ordained in 1880) and, continuously from 1881, College Librarian. He also held posts within the University, becoming a member of the Hebdomadal Council (1897-1911), Delegate of the Clarendon Press and Curator of the Bodleian Library (1895-1919). Wilson retired to Ayrshire in 1919. He remained a lifelong bachelor.
Wilson was a liturgical scholar, whose primary interest lay in the history of the liturgy of the medieval Western Church. He was the author and editor of several books in this area, the most significant of which were his index to three major Roman sacramentaries (published 1892) and his massive edition of the Gelasian sacramentary (published in 1894). Wilson did much of his work through the Henry Bradshaw Society for the Editing of Rare Liturgical Texts, in which he held the post of secretary from 1895 until his death. In addition to his liturgical work, Wilson also published a history of Magdalen College in 1899, which has remained the only book on the subject until 2008. A manuscript draft and working papers related to this book constitute a significant part of this collection.
The Wilson papers consist of several series of correspondence, the aforementioned draft of the College history and notes, a collection of papers relating to the controversy surrounding Fellows’ oath in 1854, a catalogue of the Goodyer collection and newspaper reviews of Wilson’s books. Unfortunately, the provenance for all of the Wilson papers is now unknown.
Wilson’s letters have been divided firstly according to correspondent and then (where the writer had written 3 or fewer letters) by subject. The Wilson papers are arranged as follows:
MC:F23/C1 Letters from John Bloxam, 1874-1889.
MC:F23/C2 Letters from H.R. Bramley, 1880-1899.
MC:F23/C7 Letters and documents relating to Wilson’s research and publications (besides responses to the College History) and assistance he offered to other researchers, 1889-1911.
MC:F23/MS1 MS. draft of Wilson’s history of Magdalen.
MC:F23/MS4 Notes of Class lists, c. 1855-98
MC:F23/MS5 Working Papers On The Fellows’ Oath.
MC:F23/MS6 ‘Catalogue’ of the Goodyer Collection.
MC:F23/N1 Press Cuttings and Book Reviews.
MC:F23/P1 Photographs from W.A.B. Coolidge.
MC:F23/X1 Honorary degree certificate.
Catalogued in August 2007 by Emma Burgham.