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Correspondence concerning the Frederic William Maitland Memorial Fund1907-09

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.4497

Scope and Contents

The correspondence listed below charts the establishment and progress of the Fund. It includes letters concerning invitations to attend (and in some cases speak at) the public meeting of 1 June 1907, and to join the General Committee; suggestions as to the purposes to which the Fund should be devoted ; the formation of groups of supporters in London, the United States and elsewhere; payments or pledges of contributions; and the commissioning of a medallion or (as was finally decided) a bust of Maitland for the Squire Library.

Correspondents include the former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour and his brother Gerald; several bishops; Cambridge University worthies; an array of active and retired senior judges; teachers of law at British and American universities; prominent British historians; and French and German scholars. Once Alexander Hill had relinquished his early central role in the establishment of the Fund, the principal recipients of the letters in this collection were Ward and Higgins. Ward received and acknowledged subscriptions, which he periodically passed to Higgins. On the latter’s shoulders fell the bulk of the administrative tasks: general correspondence, dispatch of circulars, banking of subscriptions, acknowledgement of subscriptions sent to him instead of to Ward, and liaison with B.F. Lock, the Fund’s most active supporter in London


  • Creation: 1907-1909

Conditions Governing Access

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

Frederic William Maitland, Downing Professor of the Laws of England in the University of Cambridge, died of pneumonia at Las Palmas on 20 December 1906, at the age of 56. He had been widely respected for the depth, independence and originality of his scholarship in the field of English legal history, and widely liked for his charm, courtesy and generosity to other scholars. Opinion among his friends and colleagues favoured the establishment of a fund in his memory, and to this end a steering committee was set up in the spring of 1907, under the auspices of Alexander Hill, Master of Downing College , with A.P. Higgins acting as secretary.

The committee promoted a public meeting to consider proposals for a memorial, which was held in the Hall of Trinity College on 1 June 1907 . Tributes were there paid to Maitland, letters of support (most of which survive in the present collection) from various eminent men were read, and several resolutions were discussed and passed. A.W. Ward was appointed honorary treasurer of the Fund , and Higgins and R.V. Laurence joint honorary secretaries. They were backed by an executive committee of 17 members (soon increased to 23) and by a larger general committee composed of prominent figures in law, politics and academia.


205 item(s)

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Immediate Source of Acquisition

The provenance of this collection and the date of its acquisition by the University Library are uncertain, but it is likely that it was the gift of either Professor Higgins or Sir Adolphus Ward.

Language of description
Uncoded languages
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Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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