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Derek Justin Shove Papers, 1770 - 1970, bulk: 1935-1970

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 105

Scope and Contents

The Derek Justin Schove Papers relate primarily to his research on Chinese chronologies and on the dating of eclipses and other notable historical events.

The bulk of the Chinese section is comprised of a set of 30 volumes of a 7500-year Chinese calendar compiled by Schove. There is also research material on China and its history, both published material and Schove’s own notes, and a large set of notes and calculations on lunations and Chinese chronologies.

The series on eclipses and notable historical events includes extensive research notes, eclipse-related correspondence, and preparatory drafts and notes for the publication ‘Chronology of eclipses and comets AD 1-1000’ (with Alan Fletcher).


  • Creation: 1770 - 1970
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1935-1970


Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Born in London in 1913, Derek Justin Schove was educated at the Friends’ School, Saffron Walden and later at the University of London. During the Second World War he was in the RAF serving as a meteorologist. His professional career was as a schoolmaster. He taught at St David’s College before the war and later became the school’s Principal and owner, posts he held for over 45 years.

Schove's lifelong interest was in the problem of dating historical events, to which end he began his ‘Spectrum of Time’ project. The project analyzed natural phenomena (mainly astronomical), such as aurorae, sunspots, eclipses, storms, floods and climactic fluctuations, as well as studies of tree rings and ice cores, to help fix historical dates. Schove authored over 150 papers, articles and books, making a valuable contribution to the study of historical chronologies.

Schove was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, and was Chairman of the Bromley and Beckenham Branch of the Historical Association. He died in 1986.


18 archive box(es) : Paper

Processing Information

Catalogued by Dr Emma Saunders, August 2023, based on an existing boxlist made by the RGO's Laurie Project.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom