The Peers Collection 1921-1960

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Author: Katy Hooper
Held at: University of Liverpool,Special Collections and Archives
Reference and contact details: GB 141 Peers
Title:Peers Collection
Dates of Creation: 1921-1960
Extent: 31 archive boxes, 1 box of medals and over 900 books
Name of Creator: Peers, Edgar Allison (1891-1952) Professor of Spanish
Language of Material: English, Spanish, Basque, French

Administrative/Biographical History

E.Allison Peers (1891-1952) was appointed lecturer in Spanish at the University of Liverpool in 1920 and Gilmour Professor of Spanish in 1922. He was the first to recognise the importance of Spanish Studies in Great Britain after the First World War, and campaigned tirelessly to promote Spanish through lectures, conferences, holiday courses in Spain (San Sebastian) and England, and in publishing a stream of textbooks, anthologies and study aids.

Peers believed passionately in higher education teaching methods based on original research and hard learning. He provoked lively debate and major contribution to the polemic of university problems and policies in the 1940's by publishing, under the pseudonym Bruce Truscot', he published two controversial and highly influential books, Redbrick University(1943) and Redbrick and these Vital Days(1945). Published at a crucial period in the debate over the future form and development of post-war universities, they contained thinly-disguised criticism of some of the leading educationalists at Liverpool.

In 1923 he founded the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, the column analysing contemporary events in, 'Spain, Week by Week' equipped him admirably, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, to write with astonishing prescience The Spanish Tradgedy(1936) and Spain, the Church and the Orders (1939) - a defence of the Catholic Church.

Peer's output was prolific, amounting to the writing or editing of some 60 books. His works Studies of the Spanish Mystics(1927-1930)The History of the Romantic Movement in Spain(1940) were ground-breaking and his translations of the complete works of San Juan de la Cruz and Santa Teresa have received international acclaim and and the imprimatur of the Catholic Church - a significant achievement for a scholar who was neither a Roman Catholic by conviction nor a theologian by training.

His scholarship was rewarded with distinctions from the universities of Glasgow, Madrid, Columbia, New York, New Mexico, California, Cambridge, Oxford, the Hispanic Society of America and the Institut d'Estudis Catalans. Peers died in December 1952 at the age of sixty-one.

Scope and Content

The collection contains working papers relating to a number of Peer's published works, including his Studies of the Spanish Mystics(vol. 1 1927, vol.2 1930, vol.3 1960), his translations of P.Silvero de Santa Teresa's editions of The Complete Works of st John of the Cross (3 vols. 1934-1935), The Complete Works of Santa Teresa of Jesus(3 vols 1946), The letters of Santa Teresa of Jesus(1951), a projected fourth volume of Studies of the Spanish Mystics, and A life of Ramon Lull(1929) and press cuttings, lecture notes and correspondence relating to Spain during the Civil War and its aftermath and includes a collection of over 900 books and pamphlets. The collection also includes the Spanish civil war microfilm collection of 3,000 pamphlets arranged by subject, based on the collection of the American journalist and historian, Herbert Rutledge Southworth.

System of Arrangement

The Peers Collection is arranged into groups of Books (catalogued separately) pamphlets, press cuttings (arranged chronologically), lecture notes and correspondence relating to Spain during the Civil War and its aftermath and letters, notes and press cuttings relating to his work on Spanish Mystics

The material is grouped in three broad sections:

  • PEERS I-VII: The Spanish mystics
  • PEERS VIII: Offprints of Peers' work on other subjects
  • PEERS IX-XXX & BII/12: Press cuttings and ephemera relating to the Spanish Civil War and later Spanish politics

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Peers collection was originally collected by Edgar Allison Peers and was given to the University of Liverpool Library after professor Peers death in 1952. The collection has since been added to, in 1991 Birmingham University Library offered the University of Liverpool a bound volume of press cuttings on the foundation and the early history of the Liverpool Institute of Hispanic studies dating from October 1934-1939, this was part of the library collection of Prof. Derek Lomax. The Southwark microfilm collection was bought to supplement the Spanish Civil War collections already held in the archive.

Accruals

There are no anticipated accruals

Processing Information

The collection level description was revised in 2004 by Roy Lumb, additional material (BII/12) was listed by Hayley Thomas in 2006.

Access Conditions

Access is open to bona fide researchers

Copyright/Reproduction

Reproduction and licensing rules available on request

Finding Aids

A full hand list is available for consultation in the reading room and online.

Details of the book collection can be accessed on the University's online catalogue

The originals of the material in the Southworth microfilm collection are held at the University of California at San Diego

Related Units of Description

Collections held at the University of Liverpool Special collections and Archives.

D265 - Papers of Professor E Allison Peers

D770 - Photographs of University of Liverpool Summer School of Spanish, 3 photographs taken in San Sebastian Spain

The Ronald Fraser oral history collection held at the University of Liverpool was gathered by Ronald Fraser, the leading oral historian in the field of modern Spanish History, for his books In Hiding the life of Manuel Cortes and The Pueblo a mountain village on the Costa del Sol, which recorded first hand accounts of living in post-War Spain. It includes tapes of interviews (in Spanish with English transcripts) with Manuel Cortes, the last republican mayor of a small Spanish Village, who lived in hiding from Franco's regime for 30 years.

The Elanor Rathbone papers contain four files relating particularly to the Spanish Civil War: RP XIV.2.10-14 their contents are described in the online Archival Finding Aid for the Rathbone Papers

The Southworth microfilm collection was bought by the University of Liverpool to suppliment the Peers collection. The microfilm consists of 57 reels representing 300 pamphlets from the Southworth collection at the University of California at San Diego.

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre holds collections relating to the Spanish Civil War

Associated Material

The University of Leeds University Library, Special Collections hold the Library of E. Allison Peers received April 1953 and Ms. 737 and Ms. 583 Additional letters and papers of E. Allison Peers

Publication Note

Peers, Edgar Allison edited by MacKenzie, Ann Logan and Allan, Adrian R Redbrick University Revisited The autobiography of Bruce Truscot, Liverpool University Press 1996Orssich, Paul, Homenaje al Prof. E. Allison Peers: suplemento al catlogo 43 2000Allan, Adrian, Redbrick revisited: the university of Liverpool, 1920-1952: an exhibition mounted in the Art Gallery, University of Liverpool (University of Liverpool, 1994)Lomax, Derek, `The Peers collection in Liverpool University Library' in Iberian Studies, II:1 (Spring 1973)