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PRESTAGE, Professor Edgar (1869-1951)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0100 KCLCA K/PP74
Held at: King's College London College Archives
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Full title: PRESTAGE, Professor Edgar (1869-1951)
Date(s): 1881-1949
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 7 boxes
Name of creator(s): Prestage | Edgar | 1869-1951 | Professor of Portuguese | historian


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Manchester, 1869; his interest in Portugal arose from reading adventure stories, particularly of Vasco da Gama's voyage to India; while at school at Radley, began to study Portuguese; converted to Roman Catholicism, 1886; first visited Portugal, 1891; second class in modern history, Balliol College Oxford, 1891; admitted in 1896 and practised as a solicitor in his father's firm, Allen, Prestage & Whitfield, at Manchester until 1907; often visited Lisbon, mainly for historical research, and befriended several prominent Portuguese scholars, 1891-1906; elected to the Portuguese Royal Academy of Sciences; in Lisbon, introduced to the salon of Dona Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho, a distinguished writer and widow of the Brazilian poet Gonçalves Crespo, whose daughter he married, 1907; later lived in Lisbon; pursued research in the Portuguese state and private libraries; a monarchist, never reconciled to the republican regime until the advent of Dr Salazar; press officer at the British legation in Lisbon, 1917-1918; Camoens Professor of Portuguese, King's College London, 1923-1936; engaged in little teaching and mostly in research, arranging periodical public lectures on Portuguese themes; delivered the Norman MacColl lectures at Cambridge, 1933; lecture on the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance to the Royal Historical Society, 1934; elected Fellow of the British Academy, 1940; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; grand officer of the Order of São Tiago; corresponding member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, the Portuguese Academy of History, and the Lisbon Geographical Society; in his later years, concerned with spiritual matters rather than work; died in London, 1951. Publications include: translation, from the French, of Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Marianna Alcoforado (1893); with (Sir) C R Beazley, translated for the Hakluyt Society the chronicler Azurara (2 volumes, 1896, 1899); biography, in Portuguese, of the writer D Francisco Manuel de Mello (Coimbra, 1914); published diplomatic correspondence relating to the Portuguese Restoration of 1640, including (collaboratively) that of João F Barreto, Relação da Embaixada a França em 1641 (Coimbra, 1918) and of F de Sousa Coutinho, Correspondência Diplomática (Coimbra, volume i, 1920; volume ii, 1926; volume iii, 1950); Diplomatic Relations of Portugal with France, England and Holland from 1640 to 1668 (Watford, 1925 and Coimbra, 1928); Afonso de Albuquerque (1929); The Portuguese Pioneers (1933); Portugal: a Pioneer of Christianity (1933); lecture on the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance to the Royal Historical Society included in the society's Transactions, 1934; numerous articles in Portuguese historical reviews; contributed chapters to several publications; compiled a bibliography on Portugal and the War of the Spanish Succession (1938); published various Lisbon parish registers.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Edgar Prestage, 1881-1949, largely relating to his work on the history of Portugal, 16th-19th centuries. Letters to Prestage from various correspondents, 1886-1948 and undated, relate to a variety of subjects pertaining to his work, publications and translations, sources and interpretation, and also to acquaintances and contemporaries, other publications, and some personal matters such as correspondents' health and families, and include six letters from Fortunato de Almeida, 1917-1933 and undated; 24 letters from Joao Lucio de Azevedo, 1914-1933 and undated; 13 letters from Pedro Augusto de S Bartolomeu de Azevedo, 1910-1927 and undated; six letters from Henrique de Gama Barros, 1908-1925; five letters from Carlos Roma du Bocage, 1915-1918; three letters from Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1888-1889, and 12 letters from Lady Isabel Burton, 1894-1896, relating to Sir Richard's translation of Camoens; 22 letters from Julio de Castilho, 1908-1918; nine letters from Harold Castle, 1903-1906; six letters from Fidelino de Figueiredo, 1911-1918 and undated; eight letters from James Fitzmaurice-Kelly, 1905-1919; five letters from Anselmo Braamcamp Freire, 1905-1919; two letters from Pieter Geyl, 1923, 1926; letter from William Ewart Gladstone, 1893, congratulating Prestage on Letters of a Portuguese nun; ten letters from Edward Heawood, 1922-1933; letter from Benjamin Jowett, 1887, explaining entrance examinations at Oxford; five letters from Margery Lane, 1927 and undated; six letters from Manuel de Oliveira Lima, 1910-1927; two letters, 1928, 1932, from Manuel II, King of Portugal, concerning the monarch's bibliography of early Portuguese books; eight letters from Jacinto Octavio Picon, 1911-1920; seven letters from Jacinto Inacio de Brito Rebelo, 1895-1908; eight letters from Jaime Batalha Reis, 1894-1896, 1904-1905, 1922; 12 letters from Francisco Rodrigues, 1913-1918, 1930 and undated; two letters from John Ruskin, 1886 and undated, on the study of architecture; seven letters from Antonio Maria Jose de Melo Cesar e Meneses, 5th Conde de Sabugosa, 1905-1913; five letters from Luis Teixeira de Sampayo, 1921-1928; letter from Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel, 1905, congratulating Prestage on Eca de Queiroz's The sweet miracle; five letters from Georg Schurhammer, 1930-1936; five letters from Wilhelm Storck, 1894-1895; five letters from Herbert Thurston, 1905-1913; ten letters from Pedro Tovar de Lemos, 2nd Conde de Tovar, 1916-1927 and undated; 13 letters from Carolina Michaelis de Vasconcellos, 1895-1896, 1907-1922, and 11 letters from her husband, Joaquim de Vasconcellos, 1897, 1908-1925; six letters from Afonso Lopes Vieira, 1910, 1914, 1927 and undated; five letters from Tomas Maria de Almeida Manuel de Vilhena, 8th Conde de Vila Flor, 1925-1929 and undated; letter from Oscar O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, [1892], regretting he cannot send a copy of his unnamed play (perhaps Lady Windermere's Fan) as it has not yet been published. There is also a letter of 1881 from Antonio Candido Goncalves Crespo to Maria Amalia Vaz de Carvalho (father and mother of Prestage's wife). Ephemera includes signatures of Gomes Eannes Azurara, William Wordsworth, [? Isaac] Disraeli and Samuel Wilberforce; Christmas cards; the visiting card of S T P Kruger, President of the Transvaal Republic, 1903; menus, including the House of Commons Coronation luncheon in Westminster Hall, 1902; a ticket to the coronation of Edward VII, 1902; and an invitation to a party at Windsor Castle, 1912. Otherwise the collection comprises research notes and transcriptions on various subjects and sources, including Restoration period Portugal; Sousa Coutinho; Portuguese in Africa, Brazil and Asia; the War of the Spanish Succession; 17th century Portuguese history, including diplomacy; the sermons of Father Antonio Vieira SJ; Portuguese bibliographies prepared by Prestage; annotated typescripts on the Portuguese in Abyssinia down to 1543, aspects and results of Portuguese colonisation, and Portuguese reminiscences (1948); Prestage's 'The Mode of Government in Portugal during the Restoration Period'; photographs of Portuguese fortresses in Morocco; notebook on 'Analyse das "Cartas Familiares" '; copies of letters of F de Sousa, including his embassies to France and Rome; copies of letters of Sir R Southwell, English ambassador to Lisbon; material relating to relations between Spain and Portugal; pamphlets and articles of Prestage; proofs for a chapter entitled 'L'Intevention Anglaise dans la Peninsule Iberique', in an envelope addressed to Prestage and labelled 'D Fernando & the Holy See by E Perroy'.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Portuguese, English, French

System of arrangement:

Some letters are bound in three volumes (two volumes Portuguese, the other English), two of which also contain ephemera. Other letters are located in files which reflect the subject themes of Prestage's work.

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services, King's College London.

Finding aids:

Typescript index (compiled by Richard Pound, Deputy Librarian of King's College) arranged alphabetically by correspondent giving the writer, date, and subject of each letter, and its location, and an outline manuscript list of the other material, are available in the reading room at King's College London Archives.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The Prestage papers were received by King's College London Archives in two accessions, the larger via King's College Library in 1980 and the smaller purchased from George H Green in 1985.

Allied Materials

Related material:

King's College Library purchased c2000 volumes relating to Portuguese studies from Prestage in 1948, which were taken possession on his death in 1951. Most were integrated into the library's Portuguese studies collection, except for some rarities retained in Special Collections.

Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections, holds Prestage's correspondence with Charles Sarolea, 1936-1940 (Ref: Sar coll 232). Harvard University, Houghton Library, holds Prestage's commonplace book, 1887-1946.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: brief description in King's College London Manuscripts and Private Papers: A Select Guide (1982); Dictionary of National Biography; Who's Who; National Register of Archives; British Library online catalogue.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Feb 2001

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