Bodleian Acquires Ducker Archives

Oxford’s Bodleian Library has announced the acquisition of the ledger books of the bespoke shoemakers Ducker and Son located for many years on The Turl. See earlier post. The acquisition was made at auction with the the financial support of the Friends of the Bodleian. The importance of the collection to Waugh studies is explained on the Bodleian’s website:

The ledgers were seen as a valuable addition to the Libraries collections given their connection with the history of the University and many prominent literary figures whose papers are already held at the Bodleian. The Library … is currently supporting OUP in its production of the first ever complete works of Evelyn Waugh, by providing access to important editions of his books. ‘We are delighted that we have been able to save this fascinating piece of Oxford history and to keep the Duckers ledgers in the city where they have been for more than a century,’ said Dr Chris Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections at the Bodleian Libraries…Two pages of entries for Evelyn Waugh suggest that he was a loyal customer, buying approximately 20 pairs of shoes or boots between 1930 and 1946.

One page of the Waugh ledger is reproduced on the Bodleian’s website. An earlier, perhaps more interesting page, accompanies a story in the Financial Times reporting the Bodleian’s acquisition. This shows Waugh’s purchases in the years between 1930 and 1933 (although there seems to be a balance in excess of £7 transferred from an earlier account). At the top of the entry, his address progresses from North End Road NW11 to Piers Court, Stinchcombe, Glos. At one point he gave his address, somewhat presumptuously, as “Madresfield Court, Gt. Malvern.” The Bodleian is mounting an exhibit of the ledgers this weekend 24-26 March at the Weston Library: In their shoes: the historic ledgers of Oxford shoemakers Ducker & Son.

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