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Poetry in the Archives and Library Collections

08 Oct 2015

Geraldine O’Driscoll

National Poetry Day 2015: Anne HunterOn October 8th 2015, we celebrate National Poetry Day, inspiring us to revisit our collections in search of poems. We were pleased to find several examples, both good and bad, in our Archives and Library collections. You can see some examples in an exhibition in the Library Reading Rooms during October.

The archives contain several volumes of manuscript poems penned in the 18th-19th centuries by Anne Hunter, wife of John Hunter. These are particularly interesting as some of them were set to music by her friend the composer Joseph Haydn. A poem by Rudyard Kipling can be found in a visitor’s book belonging to his friend Sir John Bland-Sutton. Other, less well-known, visitors also embellished their entries in the book.

National Poetry Day 2015: Rudyard Kipling

Also, we have poems written by Henry Victor Martin, a Fellow of the College, and Eliza Millard MacLoghlin who, along with her husband, was a generous benefactor to the College.

National Poetry Day 2015: Henry Victor MartinNational Poetry Day 2015: Eliza Millard MacLoghlin

From the Library collections we have poems by Victor Plarr, College Librarian for more than thirty years; Thomas Ogilvie, who was a medical practitioner, and Solyman Brown, an American considered the “Poet Laureate of Dentistry” by his peers.

A Book of Cheerful Cats by J.G. Francis stands out from the other more medical and scientific books in the collection. This was donated to the Library by Sir Charles Sherrington, a Fellow of the College and an ardent book collector, and signed by a number of eminent American surgeons including Harvey Cushing.

National Poetry Day 2015: A Book of Cheerful CatsNational Poetry Day 2015: A Book of Cheerful Cats

National Poetry Day 2015: A Book of Cheerful CatsNational Poetry Day 2015: A Book of Cheerful Cats

Selected images from our collections accompany this article.

Geraldine O’Driscoll, Library & Archives Assistant

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