Papers of Ernest de Selincourt (1870–1943)

Ernest de Selincourt (1870–1943) matriculated at University College in 1890, getting a Second in Classics in 1894.

He then changed disciplines, and became a specialist in English. In 1895 was appointed lecturer in English at University College (thus becoming one of the first people to teach English at Oxford), and in 1899, he became a university lecturer. In 1908 was elected Professor of English at Birmingham University, where in 1931–5 he served as Vice-Principal. De Selincourt’s main scholarly activity came to centre on the life and work of William Wordsworth, and he acquired a home at Grasmere, where he lived after his retirement from Birmingham in 1935. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of University College in 1930, and in 1928–33 was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He died in the Lake District in 1943.

Many of de Selincourt’s papers remain with his family. These papers and copies were given to the archives of University College by his descendants in June 1943 as Accession No. 441. Applications for the further copying or publication of these documents should therefore be made to de Selincourt’s family via the archivist.

Catalogued in June 2003.

UC:P205/C1/1    n.d. (‘Friday’) [c. 1928–33?]
        Photocopy of a letter (2 sheets) from C. S. Lewis (address, Magdalen College) to de Selincourt saying how much he enjoyed  one of his lectures (presumably one of those delivered when he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford).

UC:P205/C1/2    4 May 1926
        Photocopy of a letter from Sir Michael Sadler (address, University College) to de Selincourt expressing his appreciation of de  Selincourt’s latest book.

UC:P205/C1/3    30 Nov 1928
        Photocopy of a letter (2 sheets) from A. S. L. Farquharson (address 3 Kybald Street) to de Selincourt concerning his election as Professor of Poetry, and the canvassing which Farquharson did on his behalf.
        Farquharson and de Selincourt were contemporaries both at Dulwich College and at University College, and remained lifelong friends. In his letters to de Selincourt, Farquharson addresses him by the nickname “Denning”. Family tradition says that this went back to schooldays, when de Selincourt was called this name by mistake on a list for a football team.

UC:P205/C1/4    8 Mar 1929
        Photocopy of a letter (2 sheets) from A. S. L. Farquharson (address as above) to de Selincourt, commenting on his lecture as Professor of Poetry, and reporting on a meeting with A. C. Carlyle.

UC:P205/C1/5    15 Jan 1934
        Photocopy of a letter (2 sheets) from Sir Michael Sadler (address as above) to de Selincourt congratulating him on his book on Dorothy Wordsworth.

UC:P205/C1/6    n.d. (after 1943)
        Photocopy of a letter (2 sheets) from J. E. Hales (matr,. 1891) to Helen Darbishire, written in response to a request for biographical information on de Selincourt for a memoir which Darbishire was writing. Hales gives details of de Selincourt’s life at Oxford, including his involvement in the Durham Society and the Martlets.

UC:P205/C1/7    n.d. (after 1943)
        Photocopy of a letter (2 sheets) from Hugh de Selincourt (matr. 1899) to Helen Darbishire, also providing memories of his brother Ernest.

UC:P205/P1/1    1917
        Laser copy of a crayon portrait (signed) of de Selincourt made in 1917. The original is with de Selincourt’s family.

UC:P205/P1/2    n.d. (1930s–1940s)
        Photograph of de Selincourt in old age.