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Edward Harry William Meyerstein 

1889 - 1952

1c Slipcase Box - Title_edited.jpg
Ms. title page of Meyerstein's A Life of Thomas Chatterton

Meyerstein's manuscript of this wonderful book was written on the recto pages of what looks like a school exercise book, with additional notes on the verso of many of the pages.


The first link below contains the correspondence between  Meyerstein and the chief librarian of Bristol, James Ross, offering and accepting the gift of the manuscript.


 It took 853 photographs to capture the manuscript in full, and not until I was finished (after many, many, many hours of collation and preparation) could I see that it had nothing new to add to the printed edition - that's  'A life'! 

I do wish that I had read Meyerstein's letter a little more carefully, especially the part where he has written "from which my life of Chatterton was printed"  this tells me now that the copy in the Bristol Library is a fair copy (loosely speaking), and that the copy in the British Library is probably the working MS, although I can't be sure as I haven't seen it yet.  My excuse for failing to understand the letter, is that I was so excited to actually hold the MS. in my hands that my forensics deserted me.  No matter, I felt I owed it to Meyerstein to present his manuscript on this website.  It is presented below as a host of links offering either a section or a chapter of the book. 

If there is a collaborator local to the British Library who can spare the time (and you will need a lot of it), it would be a real treat to upload Meyerstein's original working MS. to the project - there are a few assumptions being made here and I won't know the truth of it until I get to see the 'original.'

Meyerstein's handwriting is quite difficult to read, so I recommend reading the printed edition instead, which, although it is quite a rare book, is usually available in libraries, on Abebooks or, if you are a member of the academic classes with an affiliation, you will be able to read it online for free.

I should add that there is much more to EHW Meyerstein than Chatterton; for he was an Academic ; Poet ; Novelist ; Flagellant ; Whip Collector ; Playright ; Manuscript Collector ; Man of Letters ; etc.

I haven't the time to prepare a menu, so you must scroll to read more.

'A Life of Thomas Chatterton'

Meyerstein's handwritten Manuscript

Note : 

Letters gifting and accepting the Ms.  :  View

Titles, Acknowledgements, Contents, Introductions   :  View


Index & Illustrations  :  View    

(Index missing from the manuscript, so I've added a copy from the printed edition).

Index - OCRD and searchable  :  View

Created March 2023 and still working on it.

Name, Parentage, Birth  :  Chapter 1   View

Environment  :  Chapter 2 :  View

Infancy  :  Chapter 3  :  View 

Colston's  :  Chapter 4  :  View

Early Verses  :  Chapter 5  :  View

The Blank Years  :  Chapter 6  :  View

Lambert's  :  Chapter 7  :  View

Girls  :  Chapter 8  :  View

The Bridge and the Parchments  :  Chapter 9  :  View

Barrett, George Catcott, & Henry Burgum : Chapter 10  : View

Thomas Rowley  :  Chapter 11  :  View

Dodsley and Walpole  :  Chapter 12  :  View

Elegies  :  Chapter 13  :  View

Religion and the Temple Vicar  :  Chapter 14  :  View

Breaking Away  :  Chapter 15  :  View

Shoreditch and Liberty  :  Chapter 16  :  View

Brooke Street  :  Chapter 17  :  View

Suicide  :  Chapter 18  :  View

Years of ControversyChapter 19   :  View

 Fame Chapter 20  :  View

Appendix  View

List of Manuscripts  :  View

Index & Illustrations  :  View    

(Index missing from the manuscript, so I've added a copy from the printed edition).

Index - OCRD and searchable  :  View

Created March 2023 and still working on it.

 ‘An Article by E. H. W. Meyerstein

In The Times Literary Supplement, 1947

 John Baker's Letters to Thomas Chatterton


Sir Thomas Phillipps

Bakers two letters to chatterton sothebys sale crop.jpg

   Meyerstein's delight with buying the two Chatterton letters at the Sotheby's auction is palpable, although, to be clear, I have a recollection that he may have actually bought them from Quaritch, the famous London book dealers.  Quaritch acted on behalf of many clients and no doubt was instructed by Meyerstein to keep an eye open for anything related to Chatterton. None of the foregoing matters a jot, for our two letters were a mere speck in the auction of the enormous library of Thomas Phillipps; 'enormous' is too small a word to describe the size of Phillipps' library, for it was so big that after his death it took upwards of 60 years to sell it all.

  His collections were so vast it is not surprising that Baker's two letters to Chatterton had disappeared into his library, but how did they get there?  Well, it seems that Phillips was so besotted with his pastime that he would indiscriminately buy all the lots in an auction.  

Fortunately, books and manuscripts can only hide for a few generation and then they usually surface again. Although there are exceptions, for example when books enter vast and established family estates, or academic institutions never to be seen by the general public again. This is why the Thomas Chatterton Manuscript Project is important as it aims to bring all of Chattertons original works and correspondence to a common source and make it all available without cost to all parts of the wider community.

Thanks to Dr. Toby Burrows of the UWA, for his help with information and supplying an image of the page in the Sotheby's sale catalogue - a first class gent.  We can now show that the two letters are genuine and that Meyerstein is innocent of the claim, made by a Chatterton commentator, that he himself created the letters.  I never doubted Meyerstein for a moment! 

Suffice it to say that this page is a temporary offering.  I will have more to add here as time allows. 

Meyerstein's Letter, to The Times Literary Supplement.

Includes Baker's letters to Chatterton in full.

In my Google Drive : View

Forget the Books and Manuscripts

A sale of the 22 Sotheby's catalogues of Phillipps collection fetched $3,120

Online :  View

Sir Thomas Phillipps a Manuscript Collector and his Legacy

A piece about the above by Dr. Laura Cleaver

Online : View

Biography of Sir Thomas Phillipps on Wiki

Online : View

Manuscript Mania:

How Sir Thomas Phillipps built the world’s greatest collection of medieval manuscripts.

Online : View

 ‘A Bristol Friendship'

'Thomas Chatterton and John Baker’
The Wedmore Memorial Lecture

E. H.W. Meyerstein 1947.

A Bristol Friendship.jpg

 A Bristol Friendship   :  View

Working on this page

Redcliff Hill

A Colloquy in one Act


Redcliff Hill

(No Link yet - it's on my to-do list.)

The Pageant and other Stories

the Pageant1.jpg

The Pageant and other Stories

(No Link yet - It's on my to-do list.)

Tom Tallion

meyerstein tom tallion.jpg

Tom Tallion - Connoisseurs

(No Link yet - It's on my to-do list.)

The Door (1911),  Joshua Slade (1938), Robin Wastraw (1951), and Phoebe Thirsk (1953), and many more. 

Working on this.


U DX56 Manuscripts of Edward Harry William Meyerstein c.1922-1952

Biographical Background: Meyerstein was a poet, scholar and man of letters.


Born in London in 1889, he was educated at Harrow and Magdalen College, Oxford.

He joined the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum in 1913 before serving in the First World War.


Thereafter he became a full-time writer. His first publication was a slim volume of poetry, The door (1911). He subsequently produced many lyrical and narrative poems, translations, short stories, novels, plays and biographies.


He died at his London home in September 1952.

Custodial history: Donated by Catharine Freeman, Mar 1964

Description: The Meyerstein collection contains about 300 items, including manuscripts of plays and poems. There are also about 200 letters and postcards to Donald Mitchell between 1944 and 1949.


The Brynmor Jones Library also holds first editions of a number of his works, including The Door.

Extent: c.234 items Access conditions: Access will be granted to any accredited reader U DX56/1 Ms.


U DX56/1 :

'The Wadhursts. A Domestic Play' With ms. 1922.  

'Redcliff Hill. A Colloquy' (published 1948).


U DXM/2 : Ms. 'Sketches and Tales of Shrimptonhill' 1924


U DX56/3 : Ms. 'Cockadoodledont' (poems) 1 item 1927


U DX56/4 :  Ms. 'Retribution. A Discursive Biography' (Chapters 1-80) 1930s


U DX56/5 :

Ms. 'Retribution' (Chapters 81-100).

ms. 'A Girl's Heart', [1934] 2 items 1930s


U DX56/6  :

Ms. and ts. poems 24 items c.1931- c.1948


U DX56/7 :  Letters and postcards from E.H.W. Meyerstein to Donald Mitchell c.200 items 1944-1949


U DX56/8 :

Copies of letters from E.H.W. Meyerstein to R.N. Green–Armytage. Anecdotes of Stanley Baldwin and Winston Churchill 2 items 8-10 Mar 1940


U DX56/9 :   Epitaph of E.H.W. Meyerstein from 'The Times,'  13 Sep 1952.

Sundry Holdings

working on this, gathering as I find time

Papers of E.H.W. Meyerstein : View

50 Boxes held by : English Faculty Library, University of Oxford

Meyerstein Bequest  :  Add. MS. 47861a   :  View

The Meyerstein Bequest  :  Add. MS. 47843-82  :   View 

Meyerstein (one box papers) UCLA  :   View 

John Baker's Letters to Chatterton
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