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Matthews Collection

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0369 MAT
Held at: School of Slavonic and East European Studies
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Full title: Matthews Collection
Date(s): 1911-1958, mostly 1930-1958
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 5 boxes and 2 outsize items
Name of creator(s): Matthews | William Kleesman | 1901-1958 | slavonic scholar
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Kleesmann Matthews (1901-1958) was born in Narva, Estonia of an Estonian mother and an English father. The family came to live in Blackpool, Britain in 1914. After graduating from Manchester University, he gained a PhD from SSEES in 1926. His interests at that time were in Slavonic literature rather than linguistics. However since there were few suitable career opportunities for him in Britain at that time, Matthews went to live in Latvia where he worked as a lecturer in English at the State Institute of English, Riga and later at Latvia University. During this time he wrote several books, numerous articles on linguistic and literary subjects and also translated Latvian poetry.

After the incorporation of Latvia into the Soviet Union in 1940, Matthews was evacuated as a British citizen via Moscow to Australia. He spent the rest of World War One in Brisbane serving as a military censor, interpreter and German teacher to the Australian and U.S. Armed Forces. During this time he also studied Australasian languages. He returned to Britain in June 1945 and was employed once more by SSEES. From 1946-1948 he was lecturer in Russian and in 1948 became Professor in Russian Literature and Language. In 1950 he was appointed head of the Department of Language and Literature and also editor of "The Slavonic and East European Review". In addition to publishing several books on linguistics, Matthews wrote many articles on linguistics and literature and translations of Latvian, Estonian and Slovenian poetry.
Ref: "Slavonic and East European Review" vol 37, no 88, 1958, pp 1-16


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of William Kleesman Matthews on East European linguistics and literature, 1911-1958, comprising:
papers on Baltic languages, c 1926-1947, including drafts of an anthology of translated Baltic poetry and a Latvian calendar of Saints; notebooks on Bulgarian linguistics, 1921, 1947-1951, including notebooks on the grammar and phonetics of Bulgarian and Old Bulgarian; papers on Estonian literature, 1939-1950, comprising drafts of an anthology of Estonian poetry which Matthews began before the Second World War; papers on German lingusitics, 1943-1944; papers on Polynesian linguistics and the Marathi language in particular, 1945-1946; papers on Russian linguistics and literature, 1911-1958, including mss and proofs of published works, notes and translated poems some intended for publication, articles, minutes of meetings of the Kings College London Russian Society, Russian appointment diary and typescript by Emmanuil Kazakevich; notebooks on Slav languages, 1935-1958; notebooks on Ukranian linguistics, 1946-1954; general papers on the study of literature and linguistics, 1930-1958, including bibliographies, articles and notes on linguistics and literature, translated poetry and correspondence; typescripts and manuscripts of Matthews' (mainly) unpublished poetry, c 1935-1958

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Bulgarian, Czech, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Latvian, Marathi, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Slovene, Spanish and Ukrainian.

System of arrangement:

Papers divided into twn classes as described in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Unrestricted access. Researchers wishing to consult the archives or seeking further information should contact UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) Library, 16 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW.

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 Librarian.

Finding aids:

Online catalogue available on the UCL Archives website.

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:
Revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G), 2nd edition 2000 and National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Date(s) of descriptions:
Revised Jan 2003

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