AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Ker Papers

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0103 KER
Held at: University College London
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Ker Papers
Date(s): 1867-c1955
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 21 boxes
Name of creator(s): Ker | William Paton | 1855-1923 | Professor of English Language and Literature
Chambers | Raymond Wilson | 1874-1942 | Professor of English Language and Literature
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Ker was born in Glasgow, the eldest son of William Ker, a merchant, and Caroline Agnes Paton. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and Glasgow University, then in 1874 he went to Balliol College Oxford with a Snell exhibition. He was elected to a Fellowship of All Souls, Oxford, in November 1879. In 1878 Ker was appointed assistant to William Young Snellar, Professor of Humanity at Edinburgh University. In 1883 he was appointed Professor of English Literature and History in the new University College of South Wales, Cardiff. In 1889 he became Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London, where he remained until his retirement in 1922. In 1900 Ker was appointed Chairman of the Modern Languages Board and later of the English Board in the University of London. A department of Scandinavian studies was founded in London University in 1917 and Ker was its first director. Ker died walking in Italy in July 1923 and was buried in the old churchyard at Macugnaga, Italy. Ker wrote numerous books, articles and lectures, mainly on literature and poetry, many of which are listed in John Pafford's bibliography 'W.P. Ker, 1855-1923: a bibliography' (University of London Press, 1950). Ker's successor as Quain Professor of English at University College, R.W. Chambers, wrote a number of biographical studies of Ker.

Raymond Wilson Chambers studied at University College London, 1891-1899, and was appointed Quain Student in English there in 1899. He stayed at University College and was Librarian from 1901 to 1922. He was also Assistant Professor in the English Department, 1904-1914. In 1915 he became Reader in English. From 1915 to 1917 he served for a time with the Red Cross in France, and with the Y.M.C.A. with the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium. In 1922 he became Quain Professor of English at UCL in succession to W.P.Ker. In 1933 he visited the U.S.A. to deliver the Turnbull lectures in Baltimore. He published 'Thomas More' in 1935 and 'Man's unconquerable mind' in 1939. Chambers retired in 1941 and died in 1942.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection consists of published and unpublished works including lectures, essays, poems and reviews by Ker; notes for works and lectures covering the whole of Ker's career; correspondence collected by Chambers; and miscellaneous material including Chambers' notes and writings on Ker, Ker's personal and administrative papers, obituaries of Ker, and other papers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Open. The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

Handlist and card index to correspondents at University College London Special Collections.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"