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Lincoln Unlocked: The Bareham Collection

Lucy Matheson

Lucy Matheson

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Professor Terence 'Tony' Bareham came up to Lincoln in 1959. He published his first book on the poet George Crabbe (1754-1832) in 1977, when he was Lecturer in English Literature at New University of Ulster. In 2019, he was commissioned to write a second, and hoped, once it was complete, to donate his collection of books by and about George Crabbe to Lincoln College Library. He wrote:

'The collection is probably the largest anywhere in private hands and has been assembled over fifty years; it now includes first editions of virtually everything he wrote, (with the obvious exception of extreme rarities like Inebriety and The Candidate)…It also includes virtually everything of importance which has been written about Crabbe.'

Unfortunately, Tony died in January 2020, before he had begun writing the book. His sons Tristan, Simon and Gareth, honoured his wish that his Crabbe books should come to Lincoln, as a reflection of his appreciation of his time as a student here. They carefully shipped them from his house in Ireland and forwarded Tony’s preliminary notes, so that these too could be included in what is now, as he wished, called the Bareham Collection.

Many processes had to be applied before these books reached the shelves:

  1. Quarantine. As they had been stored in an unoccupied house, the books were quarantined for several months in the Archive quarantine room in Museum Road, in case we were importing more than just books.
  2. Condition assessment and checking the contents of the boxes against Tony’s original list.
  3. Conservation. Louise Drover and Ian Beaumont, paper and leather conservators, cleaned the collection, dressed the leather bindings and carried out minor repairs, as well as making bookshoes to stabilise the books that needed them.
  4. Arrangement and allocation of shelfmarks. Sarah and I worked out a logical way to arrange the books on the shelf (complete works by date of edition; works in alphabetical order with editions arranged chronologically within each work; selections arranged alphabetically by selector; anthologies arranged alphabetically by editor, secondary literature arranged alphabetically by author/editor). We were then able to give them a running Bareham shelfmark.
  5. Cataloguing. Sarah catalogued the pre-20th century volumes, providing copy-specific notes, and Marina catalogued the more recent volumes. All these records are now available for researchers on the Oxford union catalogue SOLO.
  6. Security marking. Specially hand-printed bookplates on acid-free paper were pasted into each volume using wheatstarch paste and the books were stamped with Lincoln College Library stamps in heritage ink.
  7. Shelflist. Once all the books had been taken up to the Tower, a full Bareham Collection shelflist was produced and filed together with a record of how the donation came to Lincoln, the Terms of Donation and Tony’s prelimiary notes at the start of the run.
  8. Melinex (a conservation grade inert plastic) covering was fitted as dust protection for the collection.

We hope that this will be an excellent resource for future reseachers.

Image of Tony Bareham kindly supplied by Tristan Bareham.

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