MC:F23/C3 Letters, postcards and documents from W.A.B. Coolidge, 1879-1919
Coolidge, William Augustus Brevoort (1850-1926), St Paul’s School, Connecticut, USA; Elizabeth College, Guernsey. Exeter College, 1869-75; Taylorian Scholar 1871; BA 1874, MA 1876. Fellow of Magdalen 1875-1926 (Senior Fellow 1912-26), Junior Dean of Arts 1879; Librarian 1879-80; Junior Bursar 1882. Professor of English at St David’s College, Lampeter, 1880-81. Mountaineer and author. (See ODNB).
MC:F23/C3/1 ‘Thursday’ [23 October 1879]
Letter from Coolidge (address S.M.M.C.) to Wilson. Coolidges writes to Wilson in order to inform him of Branson’s death. He reports on the actions the College has taken to mark the occasion. (The letter is dated by a note added in pencil above Branson’s name).
MC:F23/C3/2 September 13 [c.1880]
Letter from Coolidge (address, Park End, Dorking) to Wilson. Coolidge explains his delay in responding to a letter of Wilson’s containing a question about Hector Boece (c.1465-1536). (He supplies information about Boece later on in the letter). He tells Wilson about his trip to Switzerland, mentioning several people he travelled with and met. He reports that ‘W’ (perhaps Warren) ‘declined the Toronto bait’ (possibly a position at the University of Toronto), which has gone instead to Scott of Merton. He records Scott’s impressions of North America. Coolidge gives Wilson news of various friends.
Coolidge describes a degree ceremony and a ‘soiree’ in New College Hall. He also attended a Horticultural show at Queens. He comments on various building works around Oxford: on ‘The Schools’ (i.e. The Examination Schools), a building presumably at Magdalen (‘our new building’) and at St John’s. He discusses the Annual fair in St Giles and on the upcoming marriage of the ‘Vice’. Warren was to be the best man. He gives news of Pulling and Terry.
Coolidge gives Wilson various information about the library – where to find memoranda, who keeps the keys, etc. He discusses an article he has been researching for Notes and Queries, amongst other news of his work. (An additional note in pencil dates this issue to ‘6th series vii (1883).’) He asks Wilson to investigate some library material for him. He supplies various references to manuscripts.
Coolidge was about to go to Lampeter and asks Wilson to think of subjects for essays for the Lampeter scholarship. He discusses work related to his teaching duties and his preparations for moving. Coolidge reports that Bramley had changed the time of the choral service and that the Commission is to enquire into forged ballot papers in the Oxford election. He makes observations about Helen in the library and Hansell (Henry Hansell, D.1851, Bursar 1864, 1874, 1880, Pro-proctor, 1869, d.1889). He talks about the now empty living of Findon, speculating about whether Terry (Thomas Robert Terry, F.1877-) or Ogle (Harman Chaloner Ogle, D. 1862, BA 1865, F.1865-, d.1887] will get it. He notes that Warren is to visit him at Lampeter and invites Wilson to do likewise. (The letter is dated to c.1880 by the date of building work on the Examination schools).
MC:F23/C3/3 29 September 
Letter from Coolidge (address Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge responds to some corrections that Wilson had given him, one of which related to ‘reclusoria’. This has suggested an avenue of research to him. He promises to send more of his ‘library notes’. He provides information about Walter Hilton and Sheen and discusses issues from the late medieval/ early modern eras. He discusses news of various members of the College: Terry, Warren, the President, Allen. He mentions ‘Lot’s Wife’ and comments that ‘W did not seem taken with the new Mrs. Baker.’ He talks about reading essays and finding them amusing (seemingly undergraduate work). Coolidge invites Wilson to Wales and discusses how he finds it living there. Coolidge expresses how pleased he is with Wilson’s plan to stay at Magdalen. He mentions mutual friends who have settled in Wales: Roberts and Armitage. (This letter is dated to 1880 by Coolidge’s presence in Wales).
MC:F23/C3/4 12 October 
Letter from Coolidge (address Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge says that he is pleased that Wilson has decided to stay at Magdalen rather than move to Horspath. Coolidge sends his article on the library at Magdalen to Wilson for his comments. He asks Wilson to look up some references relating to glaciers or the Alps for the Alpine Journal. He also requests that Wilson copy out a passage for an article he was writing for the College magazine. Coolidge gives instructions for what items he wishes to be sent from Magdalen. He had sent notes to Wilson for his comments and criticism as well as a list of queries and an extract of his history of Sheen. (There are further comments relating to Coolidge’s research and reading). Coolidge discusses books on palaeography and the Diocesan Histories published by the SPCK. He discusses his current work on a book and the Alpine Journal. He asks Wilson for gossip about ‘Lot’s Wife’ over at Magdalen and the Election Commission. He comments on a special edition of the Oxford Chronicle related to the election. He gives a short account of Lampeter, focussing on hill walking. He recommends some reading to Wilson. Coolidge comments on the new affiliation scheme between Lampeter and Oxford.
MC:F23/C3/5 17-19 October 
Letter from Coolidge (address Lampeter) to Wilson (including postscript dated the 19th October). Coolidge thanks Wilson for carrying out some tasks on his behalf and asks him to look up a passage for him. He also expresses an interest in Skeat’s New English Dictionary [Walter William Skeat, see ODNB]. He reports that the editor of Notes and Queries has agreed to publish an article on Magdalen’s library in its entirety. He notes that Madan’s article on the Brasenose College library will be published soon and that the editor has requested an article from him. He discusses some maps that George brought to his rooms. Coolidge is amused at the reaction to the results of an election. He congratulates Wilson on his first encounter with ‘Helen.’ Coolidge discusses a planned visit to Strata Florida Abbey and the Devil’s Bridge. He reports that the new issue of the Alpine Journal is nearly ready, except for Whymper. He talks about sending books, mentioning some that he is returning due to their poor quality. He records that the Visitor came for his triennial visitation, but did not admit him to office.
Postscript, dated 19th October. Coolidge says that Wilson’s notes for his MS have arrived. He responds to Wilson’s comments and asks for clarifications, promising to send the proof for a final revision. Coolidge discusses College library business and the monthly fairs held at Lampeter. (The letter is dated to 1880 by Coolidge’s presence at Lampeter).
MC:F23/C3/6 18 October 
Letter from Coolidge (address, Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge supplies Wilson with some references relating to Walter Hilton (c.1343-1396), including various articles and two manuscripts in the Bodleian. He writes about an excursion to the Devil’s Bridge and his intention to visit Strata Florida. Coolidge discusses the latest issue of the Alpine Journal and speculates about the upcoming election of a new president of the Alpine Club. He asks after the new Academical Clerks. In a postscript he comments that the library at Lampeter has some interesting books but no catalogue. (This letter is dated to 1880 by Coolidge’s presence in Lampeter.)
MC:F23/C3/7 ‘Sunday Evening’ [Winter 1881]
Letter from Coolidge (address Lampeter) to Wilson. “Sunday Evening.” Lampeter. Coolidge comments that one of his ‘pet detestations’, Martin, has left Lampeter. He reports that one Scott at Lampeter was impressed by Magdalen’s ‘mediaevalness’ [sic], which he hopes will stop him talking about T.C.D. (Trinity College Dublin). He asks Wilson to return an enclosed letter of Barney’s, with comments, as soon as possible. This appears to be related to his quest to get a vote on some committee. He offers to send Wilson a pamphlet by ‘C. of Lincoln’ concerning Lord Penzance and the Public Worship Regulation act. He asks for a book to be sent to him. He mentions various men at Lampeter: Payne, Scott, Owen and Armitage, in connection with an ordination exam. He asks to see Wilson’s Deacon’s exam papers. (This letter is dated to winter 1881 as Coolidge mentions snow on the ground and his address is in Lampeter).
MC:F23/C3/8 11 February 
Letter from Coolidge (address Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge writes that he has accepted an offer from the ‘P’ (presumably President Bulley), which he relates to letters from Wilson and ‘B’. Coolidge discusses a pamphlet he was sending to Wilson and a Gaudy pamphlet.
MC:F23/C3/9 23 February 
Letter from Coolidge (address Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge thanks Wilson for his letter and enclosures. He discusses the chances of Holmes or Tout obtaining a position. He writes cryptically about one ‘W’ and discusses the President’s offer of Fletcher’s assistance with a certain project. Coolidge suspects that the offer was made to thwart ‘W’s plan of forcing a deputy’ upon him. He discusses the upcoming announcement of his resignation and asks Wilson to assure him that there will not be any opposition to his taking a post at Magdalen before he committs himself publicly to leaving Lampeter. He believes that negotiations with Holmes will soon be successfully concluded. Paü has sent him lists of students taking law and history. He discusses what may be Alpine Club/ Alpine Journal politics and gossip, referring to men by single initials only: D, H, B. Coolidge complains about the journal and its editor. He discusses some research-related matters on which Wilson had asked for his help and a printed edition of a Kalender [sic] and Benediction that was being published. Coolidge writes about a book that turned out to be a duplicate and Wilson’s theory of the Divine Right of Kings, with which he disagrees. He reports that the last obstacle to his ordination has been removed and that he is sending two proofs to Wilson for him to check.
MC:F23/C3/10 27 February 
Letter from Coolidge (address Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge says that he has been lonely without Terry and Wilson. Coolidge discusses matters relating to his teaching, lecturing and reading. Coolidge discusses different liturgical practices in various parts of the world. He asks Wilson some questions related to his research and his opinions on non-Jurors. Coolidge asks him to look up some material to add to the reprint of an article. He refers Wilson to some books in his rooms and discusses articles on St Hugh, an article in Good Words and a pamphlet by Dr. Pusey. He writes about a controversy in the Torpids and Cavendish College, saying that only the ‘S.T.’ and Courtney [William Leonard Courtney, see ODNB] are likely to go and see the team. Coolidge supplies Wilson with some information about Latin place-names. He writes about the upcoming announcement of his resignation and his likely successor, Holmes. He invites Wilson to visit him in Wales, reminding him that he must come twice that year to examine. He discusses an ‘editorship row.’ (The letter is dated to 1881 by Coolidge’s tenure at St Davids in Lampeter).
MC:F23/C3/11 1 March 
Letter from Coolidge (address, Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge reports that his resignation from St David’s had been announced, creating ‘quite a stir.’ Holmes cannot take up a position, so Tout has been elected. Coolidge had accepted a post examining women in Modern Languages. He asks about Theobald, who was to join him in this task. Coolidge asks Wilson to send him several books. (The letter is dated to 1881 by Coolidge’s tenure at St David’s College).
MC:F23/C3/12 6 March 
Letter from Coolidge (address, Lampeter) to Wilson. Coolidge writes about an article of his that had just been printed, and sends the second part to Wilson for revision. He asks Wilson to look up material related to the ‘Bonaventurae formulae’ in his room. He announces that Tout has received an appointment, as Holmes could not be released from a prior engagement. Coolidge reports that his future students have thus far not been in touch, despite his request that they do so. He asks Wilson for an account of a sermon and for a clarification of Wilson’s views on non-Jurors. He discusses some College politics relating to President Bulley and Jayne. Coolidge writes about liturgical history. He mentions Pearson’s book, and complains that the diverse nature of his studies means that his knowledge of any one area is superficial. He feels stressed and consequently unable to focus properly on work. Coolidge discusses a visit to Strata Florida with friends, invites Wilson to stay and complains about his upcoming move. (The letter is dated to 1881 by Coolidge’s tenure at St David’s College, Lampeter).
MC:F23/C3/13 15 March 
Letter from Coolidge (address ‘L’, i.e. Lampeter). Coolidge asks Wilson to obtain a foreign postal order for him to pay one Richard H. Budden. Coolidge discusses family news. He sends the death date for Walter Hilton, which must have been for inclusion in a book or journal, as he instructs Wilson that he has also passed it on to the editor. He reports that he will resign from the Alpine Journal the next day. (The letter is dated to 1881 by Coolidge’s tenure at St David’s College, Lampeter).
MC:F23/C3/14 ‘Sunday’ [18 December 1881 added in pencil]
Letter from Coolidge (address S.M.M.C.) to Wilson. Coolidge relays a message concerning the return of library books. He discusses a scandal seemingly related to some Political Economy Papers, perhaps also involving the University Press. Coolidge reports on a College meeting, noting several new appointments. Hopkins and President Bulley had a dispute over whether or not the Fellows could see some reports of Wainflete School. Coolidge describes John Varley, the new Dean of Carlisle. He mentions an appointment at Lampeter and discusses two Law students. He discusses a performance and then lists days of the week with pieces of music. He gossips about members of Magdalen. Coolidge writes that he is about to start “the Pearson” and that the ‘A.J.’ is finished. He notes that Wilson’s article on the Franciscans in Scotland has appeared, as well as his own review of Bloxam. (Here a date is added in pencil: ‘Dec. 17 1881’].
MC:F23/C3/15 29 December [1881 – added in pencil]
Letter from Coolidge (address, Park End, Dorking) to Wilson. Coolidge wrote this letter to accompany a card from Mudie accidentally delivered to him rather than Wilson. He discusses his Christmas holiday, an upcoming wedding (about which he is quite rude!) and fellows and staff who have been in College during the holidays. He mentions a manuscript of Richard Rolle. He discusses his current reading, reviewing texts by Pearson and Bloxam. He seems interested in a theological question about purgatory. He discusses his work, including a controversy at the Alpine Club. He mentions the upcoming marriage of Christian Almer, seeking advice on buying a present.
MC:F23/C3/16 28 June [‘1887?’ added in pencil]
Letter from WAB Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Bern). Coolidge writes as he has come to the end of a long journey, which he describes. He talks about the number of subscribers for a book or journal. Coolidge recounts how he mediated in some sort of quarrel between his Alpine colleagues Duhanel and Pevin. He mentions Conway (William Martin Conway, see ODNB), his co-editor of the Alpine Journal, and discusses mountaineering trips and walks. Coolidge gives news of his Swiss guide, ‘Old Christian’ (Christian Almer) and one ‘Cunningham’. He discusses a visit to an English church in Switzerland. Coolidge asks for books to be sent to him.
He discusses a speech given by a Mr. Parnell.
MC:F23/C3/17 19 March [1888 added in pencil]
Letter from WAB Coolidge (address ‘S.M.M.C.’) to Wilson. Coolidge writes to offer his condolences to Wilson for his father’s death. He mentions some library-related business. In a postscript he discusses a dinner attended by Garnsey, Balfour, Buckmartin, and Vines.
MC:F23/C3/18 Maundy Thursday, 1888
Letter from Coolidge to Wilson. Coolidge writes about the deaths of Wilson’s father and his own mother. He mentions that he is in correspondence with Dr. Fell with regard to some research. Coolidge invites Wilson to visit him at St David’s.
MC:F23/C3/19 3 April [c.1888]
Letter from WAB Coolidge (address ‘S.M.M.C.’) to Wilson. Coolidge passes on the news that Rigaud is terminally ill. He discusses a service in the College chapel. He notes that Chapman and his wife were visiting, that Gorley has been climbing in the Alps and that Luke Rivington has converted to Catholicism. Coolidge discusses a sermon and the number of communicants. He alludes to some research that he had done on behalf of Dr. Fell. [A note added in pencil records that Rigaud died in July 1888, which dates this letter to that year].
MC:F23/C3/20 [2 May 1888]
Postcard from Coolidge with a b/w photograph of Konstanz, addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire), stamped 88.05.2-3M. A message on the front notes that Coolidge was dining close by.
MC:F23/C3/21 16 January 1889
Letter from WAB Coolidge (address Hotel de L’Oues, Grindelwald, Kanton Bern) to Wilson. Coolidge writes as Wilson was in the midst of a Fellowship examination. He writes about his excursions in Switzerland. He tells a story about a woman who had run off with a man being restored to her family. Coolidge met a Harrow master and he discusses several of their mutual acquaintances. He closes by talking about his forthcoming publication of a guidebook.
Postcard from Coolidge (in Switzerland) to Wilson. Coolidge reports that “Ball” was finished the previous day. He gives news of Christian Almer. Coolidge says that he has ‘at last’ been made an honorary member of the French Alpine Club.
MC:F23/C3/23 9 June 1898
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerland) to Wilson. Coolidge discusses the publication of ‘Ball’, vol. I. He talks about the inability to travel over the Franco-Italian frontier, blaming ‘spy mania’. Coolidge writes that he has produced a list of all his ascents for a proposed autobiography, and has signed an agreement for that book and the ‘Conquest of the Alps.’ He talks about some of the Alpine-related work he has been undertaking. He gives his opinions on a religious controversy involving Kensit (John Kensit, 1853-1902) and Creighton (Bishop Mandell Creighton 1843-1901) and, seemingly, the Boer War. Coolidge sends Wilson his support for the College History and asks after his ‘little liturgiological book.’ He says that he and Christian are setting off for Tyrol, partly in preparation for a book (‘Ball. ii.I’) and that he received an abusive card from Wethered, who thought he ought to have been mentioned in the first volume.
MC:F23/C3/24 30 July 1900
Letter from Coolidge (address Grindelwald) to Wilson. Coolidge writes about his health and a journey from which he has just returned. He mentions several articles he has written and comments on the success of the German version of his guidebook. He discusses some letters and documents from ‘Wh’ (perhaps Edward Whymper of the Alpine Club), and the response to these. He says that Freshfield (Douglas William Freshfield, President of the Alpine Club 1893-95) is on his side and alludes to his legal position.
MC:F23/C3/25-26 5 March 1901
Letter and accompanying document from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge responds to some gossip reported by Wilson, referring to those involved by single intials: N., B. He believes that ‘Hutton will succeed Bright, unless Turner takes Orders in a hurry like Driver did.’ He comments on lay canons. He notes Stubbs’ illness, supposing that Paget will succeed him, and passes on a rumour that Weldon will get London. He also comments on Burge’s rise and Pollock’s BCL. Coolidge discusses his progress with his various publications. He reports that Ball II and III are practically abandoned, claiming that these publications and the Alpine Journal itself seem to be lost without him. Coolidge discusses his Suffolk ancestors. An MS document entitled ‘The Descent of W.A. Coolidge’ accompanies the letter. This is a family tree with concluding remarks about Coolidge’s nationality.
MC:F23/C3/27 29 May 1901
Postcard from Coolidge (from Grindelwald, Switzerland) to Wilson. Coolidge writes that he has been asked for an article about Archdeacon William Coxe (d.1828) (See ODNB) for Nelson’s New Edinburgh Encyclopedia. He has sufficient material to research the Swiss part of his life, but asks Wilson to gather material from the Dictionary of National Biography.
MC:F23/C3/28 17 June 1901
Letter from Coolidge (Grindelwald, Switzerland) to Wilson. Coolidge thanks Wilson for supplying quotations for him and discusses his progress on a book. He mentions that he must go to Grenoble for his book, but believes that it is increasingly dangerous to travel in France. Coolidge is amused by the idea of Wilson ‘standing up’ for centenaries and mentions something about the old postern into the Chapel. Coolidge and his guide Christian were about to set off climbing. Coolidge discusses various projects: a joint scheme with Conway to publish a set of translations of Early Alpine Foreign Classics, a re-arranged edition of Murray’s Switzerland, articles for Simler, the Nelson Encyclopaedia and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Coolidge says that he turned down an appeal made in the Alpine Journal for him to take over as editor.
MC:F23/C3/29 6 August 1905
Postcard from Coolidge to Wilson (address Ayrshire) of Einsiedeln, with 4 b/w photographs, dated 6/8/1905. Coolidge writes a brief note about weather.
MC:F23/C3/30 24 December 1906
Postcard from Coolidge to Wilson (address, Ayrshire) with a b/w photograph of Grindelwald, stamped 24.XII.06.XII. Coolidge sends his Christmas wishes and points out his house in the photograph.
MC:F23/C3/31 8 October 1907
Postcard from Coolidge addressed to Wilson (Magdalen College) with a b/w photograph from Milan. Stamped 10.07.10S. Coolidge discusses a funeral mass that he attended and reports that he met Ceriani’s successor, a mountaineer and acquaintance of Wilson’s.
MC:F23/C3/32 16 October 1907
Postcard from Verona with a b/w photograph addressed to Wilson (Magdalen College) and stamped ‘Oc 16 07.’ (Addressed in Coolidge’s hand).
MC:F23/C3/33 16 October 1907
Postcard from Verona with a b/w photograph, addressed to Wilson (Magdalen College) and stamped ‘Oc 16 07.’ Addressed in Coolidge’s hand but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/34 16 October 1907
Postcard from Venice with b/w image, addressed to Wilson (Magdalen College) Stamped Oc. 16 07. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/35 26 October 1907
Postcard from Coolidge (signed WABC) addressed to Wilson (Magdalen College) with a b/w image of Firenze. Stamped 10-07-9S. Coolidge comments on Florence.
MC:F23/C3/36 6 November 1907
Postcard from Coolidge to Wilson (address Magdalen College) with a picture of a painting. Coolidge writes about his holiday in Rome.
MC:F23/C3/37 7 November 1907
Postcard from Coolidge (from Rome) with b/w image, addressed to Wilson (Magdalen College). Stamped 11.07.7S. Coolidge writes about a legend concerning St Paul.
MC:F23/C3/38 7 November 1907
Postcard from Rome with b/w image, addressed to Wilson (Magdalen College), stamped 11.07.7S. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand but not signed.
Postcard of Rome without any writing or stamps. (The postcard may date from 1907, along with the other postcards in the collection sent from Rome. It was found amongst all of the other postcards from Coolidge).
MC:F23/C3/40 21 December 1907
Postcard from Coolidge (signed WABC), from Firenze, addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire), with a b/w image. Coolidge sends his best wishes for the season.
MC:F23/C3/41 17 September 1909
Postcard from Reichenau with b/w image, addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire) Stamped 17.9.09.7-8M. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand, but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/42 16 September 1909
Postcard from Reichenau with coloured image, addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire), stamped 16.9.09.5-6v. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand, but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/43 17 September 1909
Postcard from Reichenau with b/w reproduction of an engraving, addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire). Stamped 17.9.09.7-8N. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand, but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/44 17 September 1909
Postcard from Reichenau with b/w image, addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire), stamped 17.9.09.7-8M. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand, but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/45 17 September 1909
Postcard from Reichenau with b/w image, addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire), stamped 17.9.09.7-8M. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand, but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/46 15 October 1909
Postcard from St Gallen with a b/w photograph addressed to Wilson (in Ayrshire) and stamped 15.X.09-0. Addressed in Coolidge’s hand, but not signed.
MC:F23/C3/47 24 August 1916
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge discusses delays in receiving post from abroad. He talks about the second edition of the Magdalen War Record, the number of College servants serving, and Magdalen being used as a barrack. He writes about his nephew’s career in the navy and prisoners of war held at Mürren. Turning to more personal matters, he discusses the health of his dog and how he continues to write Alpine articles, although he does not know when they will be published.
MC:F23/C3/48 18 October 1916
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge comments on the state of the postal service and the actions of the censor. He mentions the compliments he has received on his article concerning the history of the Col de Tenda for the English Historical Review and says that Poole must be busy with his article for that journal. He passes on the news that Poole’s nephew has become his nephew’s commander. He writes about some English P.O.W’s whom he had seen. Coolidge says that he has starting studying the history of the guides of Chamoix and asks Wilson to send him information on an ‘Alpine man’ not found in the DNB. He ends the letter with news of his niece and nephew.
MC:F23/C3/49 31 October 1916
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge discusses the delays in the postal service. He writes about the difficulties he is experiencing in trying to revise his will. He wishes he could return to England, but his collection of 23,000 books and his dog keep him away. He mentions Macray’s death, as well as news of Madan, and asks after Roberts, whom he calls ‘the heretic.’ He jokes about Lloyd George’s plans for Magdalen. Coolidge writes about his health, dog and loneliness. He comments on the war, reporting a rumour that the Germans are struggling and noting how the prices for everything have gone up.
MC:F23/C3/50 26 November 1916
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge thanks Wilson for supplying him with information on King, and tells Wilson about him. He writes about Clayton, noting that even the chapel is suffering from the war. Coolidge observes that Madan must be pleased with a ‘splendid’ gift given to the Bodleian. He discusses the sale of his American houses and his preparations for a new will. Coolidge talks about two British sergeants held at Mürren whom he entertained.
MC:F23/C3/51 ‘Easter Day’ 1917
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge writes about College matters: Poole’s proposed promotion, ‘Bannister’ (an additional note added in pen reads ‘H.M. Bannister of Pembroke’), and his pleasure at Roberts’ (‘the heretic’) absence. He asks disapprovingly why Lord Chelmsford is to be made an honorary fellow, questioning President Warren’s motives. Coolidge reports that a French Alpine friend, H. Duhamel, died recently and that he wrote up his recollections of the man. He comments on the war, saying that he finds it difficult living amongst ‘Germano-philes’, discussing rationing, the American entry and the Emperor’s illness. He also writes about the influenza and ‘lung trouble’ that was prevalent. Finally he criticises Mrs. H. Ward’s Lady Connie, written about Oxford c.1880, declaring that there are ‘many mistakes and absurdities and much Jowett -worship.’
MC:F23/C3/52 15 August 1917
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge says that he was sorry to hear about Mrs. Roberts, and complains about Lord Chelmsford being made an honorary fellow. He notes the election a new research fellow, but observes that he has never been interested in natural science. Coolidge talks about visitors to Grindelwald, both tourists and two companies of Swiss mountain artillery. He discusses French and English P.O.W.s at Mürren. He writes about his vegetable garden and food rations, as well as supplies of coal and wood. He writes that he is studying the history of the Grindelwald region and includes some of his findings.
MC:F23/C3/53 ‘Palm Sunday’ 24 March 1918
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge discusses delays in the postal service. He asks how the College manages with rationing, and talks about the system in Switzerland and his difficulties in obtaining fuel. He reports that he has been in correspondence with the Estates Bursar about his ‘many bothers’, asking him to show the letter to Wilson and Warren. Coolidge writes that he has nearly finished cataloguing his library and has been asked to write some Alpine articles for a Swiss history encyclopaedia. He gives news of his nephew and niece, both involved in the war effort. He reports that the English P.O.W.’s had returned home, and that all the remaining prisoners are French. He adds a postscript regarding exchange rates and taxes.
MC:F23/C3/54 26 August 1918
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. He writes about the latest postal delays, which he attributes to ‘the great British offensive’ and to the influenza epidemic in Berne. He compares English with Swiss newspapers. He comments on liturgical scholar Edmund Bishop (1846-1917) and his Liturgica Historica. He observes that all of the hard work of the Henry Bradshaw society goes to Wilson, but envies his busyness. He complains that he already has too much material in manuscript form to ever print it all, besides which the demand for his articles was lower as many Alpine journals were not being published during the war or were being produced in a reduced format. Coolidge talks about his nurse, Albert, and the influenza epidemic in the village. He talks about mutual acquaintances: Segar and his son, Horsley and Mrs. Terry, whose re-marriage is discussed. He asks Wilson to clarify new rules about income tax and complains about prices in Switzerland and the exchange rate. He passes on news of his family and talks about his loneliness. He notes with surprise that Underhill has become an Oxford Justice of the Peace and provides brief reviews of journal articles. Coolidge reports that even the Germano-philes in Switzerland now admit that the Germans will lose and complains of the Swiss military authorities.
MC:F23/C3/55 ‘Sunday’ 6 October 1918
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge reports that Trotzy [sic.] and Lenin are expected in Switzerland. The newspapers were saying that some members of the New Helvetic Society were to visit Oxford. Coolidge warns Wilson that ‘they are ultra-Swiss …and very pro-German.’ He says that they were to go to the German colony in Manchester, which surprises him as he “ thought it was all “interned” as it ought to be!” Coolidge discusses his vegetable garden, rationing and coal supply and the influenza epidemic. He complains about income tax, and expresses his wish that Germany will be made to pay ‘a real good war indemnity’ to reduce the rates. He discusses some English prisoners of war, with whom he had become friendly. He writes that more English soldiers arrived lately and that the Germans will not allow them to return to England until German prisoners are released in China. Coolidge reports that he has been helping several young Swiss men with preparing various histories of parts of Alpine Switzerland, meaning that his notes are not wasted. He adds in a postscript that he has heard the news of the demand of the Central powers for a truce, but thinks it might be a trap.
MC:F23/C3/56 18 December 1918
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge writes about the influenza epidemic, with three people in his house infected. He asks Wilson what Magdalen decided about Income tax at a meeting on the 11th.
MC:F23/C3/57 Christmas Day 1918
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge writes that he is homesick for the Christmas carols, but notes that Magdalen had to give them up this year anyway. He writes about Dr. Roberts clinging to his post, Edwin Clarke suffering a stroke and Williams’ death. He writes that he wishes that he had never moved to Switzerland. He talks about influenza, and particularly of his nurse Albert’s illness, as well as Scarlet fever affecting the village. He discusses the visit of the New Helvetic Society to England, apologising for landing Wilson in trouble over his warnings and describing the society’s political position. He passes on his nephew’s report about the surrender of the German fleet. Coolidge discusses a strike, blaming ‘silly peasants’ for bringing the flu to the village. He mentions the election and his support for the ‘Coalition men’, although he did not receive his ballot papers.
MC:F23/C3/58 15 February 1919
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge responds to the news of Edwin Clarke’s death. Clarke, Bird’s private servant, had written with news about his family: that his son was a flight Sergeant and had been gassed. Coolidge says that he received a begging letter from Mr. Vaughan, late of Parker’s, reporting that James Parker had died suddenly and the shop was rapidly going down. (Coolidge seems to have received regular parcels of books and perhaps newspapers through Parker’s). He writes about a new ‘Burgess’ coming from Magdalen, Godley becoming an MP, and asks about the New Room at Magdalen. Coolidge discusses coal rations in England and Switzerland. Albert’s health has recovered. He sends news of Walter Brock and Tout, who has been asking him if he would sell the Swiss part of his library to the John Rylands Library. Coolidge says that he wanted to send him some Freeman books for the Freeman Library at the University of Manchester, but new laws in Switzerland prevented him. He talks about an ice carnival planned in Grindelwald. Coolidge expresses his political views, both on the negotiations between Germany and England and on the socialist congress in Berne. He mentions an Italian book of 1476 given to him by a cousin. Coolidge discusses his family history in the context of looking at old letters. He adds postscripts about the new university calendar and about the fact that the Swiss sent thousands of cattle to Germany and Russia, meaning that everyone in Switzerland must eat vegetarian meals two days a week.
MC:F23/C3/59 11 June 1919
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge responds to the Proceedings of a College meeting, addressing ‘no.16’ in particular. Coolidge wants the fellows’ right to celibacy to be ‘specially reserved and that explicitly’ as he is concerned to avoid paying extra tax for being a bachelor. He says that he was sorry to see another University commission proposed ‘simply so that the natural science professors may get more money.’ He speculates about the identity of the ‘new Bodley man.’ He writes about Gardiner, about whom he had been requested to write a notice in the Alpine Journal, and his quarrel with the society. He asks about further points from the Proceedings: houses to be built within the College grounds and the W.E.A. Finally he outlines his difficulties with the Swiss authorities in trying to get his nephew to visit him in Switzerland.
MC:F23/C3/60 3 July 1919
Letter from Coolidge (address, Grindelwald, Switzerald) to Wilson. Coolidge comments that it must have been strange for Wilson to meet Joffre and his party, and that he didn’t know that ‘the P.’ [President Warren?] could speak French. He is still exercised about the income tax issues, writing ‘I am much opposed to this almost compulsory marriage of Fellows.’ He declares himself opposed to letting Professor Fellows have a vote in internal college matters, but observes that Wilson is almost the only one living full time in College and laments the passing of the old system. He says he has been amused by the Natural Science Professors asking for an unprecedented £1 million for their faculty. He comments on Magdalen’s new organist and Wilson’s edition of the calendar of St Willibrord. He observes that there are hardly any English speakers left in Grindelwald, gossiping about an Indian prince and an English officer. He sends news of his niece, recovering from the ‘flu, and nephew. He says that Grindelwald is ‘threatened with an influx of sick Jewish children from Vienna.’
Return here to the introduction to this catalogue.