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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the George Gordon Coulton Papers 1875-1941

© 2008 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Coulton, George Gordon. Papers

Dates:

1875-1941

Size:

19.5 linear feet (38 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

Abstract:

G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton (1858-1957), Professor of Medieval History. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, notes and writings documenting Coulton's scholarship and his advocacy of compulsory national service.

Information on Use

Access

Open for research. No restrictions.

Citation

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Coulton, George Gordon. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton, Historian, was born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England in 1858. He was educated at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge. Although ordained as a deacon in the Church of England in 1883, Coulton served only briefly before spiritual doubts led him to resign his curacy in 1885. For the next decades, he held a series of teaching and tutoring positions and studied and wrote extensively in medieval history.

In 1911, Coulton was named Birkbeck Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1919, he became a Lecturer in English and a Fellow St. John's College. He retired from his faculty position in 1934, and devoted himself to research and writing. He spent the majority of the war years (1940-1944) in Canada, as a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto. Coulton married Rose Dorothy Ilbert in 1904; they had two daughters. He died in Cambridge in 1947.

As an historian, Coulton was most noted for his attention to primary sources, particularly those illuminating religious, social and economic topics, and the controversy generated by his disputes with mostly Roman Catholic scholars. Among his published works are the anthologies of medieval sources A Medieval Garner, 1910 and Social Britain from the Conquest to the Reformation, 1918, monographs, including The Medieval Village, 1925; Art and the Reformation, 1928; Inquisition and Liberty, 1938 and Medieval Panorama, 1938 and the four-volume work Five Centuries of Religion, 1923-1950.

In addition to his scholarship, Coulton was a strong advocate for compulsory military service and an active member of the National Service League. He wrote and spoke publicly on the subject, particularly in the first two decades of the 20th century.

Scope Note

The Coulton papers have been divided into six series.

Series I: Correspondence and Personal, contains mostly correspondence received by Coulton from 1905 to 1939. Some copies or drafts of outgoing letters are included. Most of the correspondence concerns Coulton's scholarship and his advocacy of compulsory national service; little personal material is included. Among Coulton's major correspondents are fellow historians James Gairdner, H. G. Richardson and H. P. Stokes, and Reginald L. Poole, editor of the English Historical Review. The correspondence with Poole includes Coulton's essay "A Point of Monastic Costume and Discipline," on codpieces in monastic dress, which Poole declined to publish.

Series I also includes several files of unidentified and undated photographs. The photos appear to be snapshots taken on travels through towns and countryside in Britain, Switzerland and Germany, in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. Many of the photos are likely to have been taken in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland. A small group of photos are identified as having been taken at Coulton's family home, Pentney, Norfolk, in 1901.

Series II: War and National Service, contains Coulton's notes from his readings and writings about compulsory military service, pamphlets he collected on the subject during the first World War, and annotated proofs of his book The Case for Compulsory Military Service, 1917.

Series III: Writings by Others, contains two MA theses on late medieval and early modern English nunneries by British women historians. Particularly notable is Some Chapters in the History of English Nunneries in the Later Middle Ages, (c. 1250-1535), University of London, 1916, by Eileen E. Power, a prominent economic historian and pioneer in the study of medieval women's history.

Series IV: Writings and Notes contains notes and transcriptions on a variety of subjects, particularly monasticism, usury and the 13th century Italian chronicler Salimbene. Also included are annotated proofs of Coulton's Christ, Saint Francis and Today, 1918. The material in Series IV is similar to that in Series VI, but does not form part of Coulton's designated series of "British Museum Notebooks."

Series V and VI contain the volumes Coulton called his "British Museum Notebooks." Originally comprising "extracts and notes made when [Coulton] could manage to get to the British Museum," the scope of the notebooks expanded to include notes, transcriptions of articles and historic documents, clippings, and a small amount of correspondence relating to Coulton's widespread scholarly and civic interests. While the majority of the volumes focus on medieval social, economic and religious history, the notebooks also demonstrate the degree to which Coulton's historical studies were matched by an interest in the role of religion in contemporary life. Notebook 53, for example, is a scrapbook of clippings of a 1901 debate carried on among Coulton and others in the pages of the New Statesman, on the relative "morality," as defined by the rate of illegitimate birth, of Protestant and Catholic regions. The notebooks in Series VI are numbered from one to 271. Volumes 24, 38, 150, 180 and 269 are not included in the collection.

Series V contains indexes to the British Museum notebooks. The most complete are Index A, by author and title, and Index B, a subject index. Index B also includes various other sources, not in the notebooks, which are listed in the beginning of the book. The other notebooks and note cards in the series are less complete; several appear to be early drafts superseded by Indexes A and B.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/select.html

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: Correspondence and Personal

Box 1   Folder 1

Correspondence A-B, 1875, 1905-1939

Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence C, 1909-1911

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence D, 1905-1939

Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence E-F, 1906-1932

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence G, 1905-1912

Box 1   Folder 6

Correspondence H, 1905-1924

Box 1   Folder 7

Correspondence I-L, 1908-1941

Box 1   Folder 8

Correspondence M, 1905-1913

Box 1   Folder 9

Correspondence N, 1920-1923

Box 1   Folder 10

Correspondence O-P, 1907-1923

Box 1   Folder 11

Correspondence, Reginald L. Poole, 1910-1919

Box 1   Folder 12

Correspondence Q-R, 1905-1924

Box 1   Folder 13

Correspondence S, 1907-1935

Box 1   Folder 14

Correspondence T-V, 1908-1920

Box 1   Folder 15

Correspondence W-Z, 1905-1935

Box 1   Folder 16

Photographs, undated

Box 1   Folder 17

Photographs, Pentney, ca. 1901

Box 1   Folder 18

Address Book

Box 1   Folder 19

Maps

Series II: War and National Service

Box 2   Folder 1

Notes

Box 2   Folder 2

Notebook, "War and Education"

Box 2   Folder 3

Notebook, notes and transcriptions of scholarship on war and service in world history

Box 2   Folder 4

Pamphlets

  • G. G. Coulton, "Our National Army. A Question for the People," 1900
  • National Service League, "A Speakers' Handbook," 1914
  • Socialist Labour Party, "Compulsory Military Service. Should the Working Class Support It?" undated
  • Charles Roden Buxton, "A Practical, Permanent, and Honourable Settlement of the War," 1916
Box 2   Folder 5

Pamphlets and notes

  • Union of Democratic Control, "The Peace Debate in the House of Commons (May 23, 1916)
  • Arthur Ponsonby, "Why Must the War Go On?" undated
  • Charles Trevelyan, "The Case for Negotiation," 1916
  • Charles Roden Buxton, "Peace this Winter: A Reply to Mr. Lloyd George," undated
  • Union of Democratic Control, "The Morrow of the War," undated
  • Union of Democratic Control, "The Union of Democratic Control: Its Motives, Object and Policy," 1916
  • Norman Angell, "The Prussian in Our Midst," undated
  • Union of Democratic Control, "The Attack upon Freedom of Speech: The Broken-Up Meeting at the Memorial Hall, 29th November, 1915"
  • Norman Angell, "Shall this War End German Militarism," undated
  • Norman Angell, "American and the Cause of the Allies," 1916
  • New Statesman, "An Allied Peace: Being an Unofficial Forecast of the Terms of Peace," 1916
  • J. Ramsay MacDonald, "War and the Workers: A Plea for Democratic Control," undated
Box 2   Folder 6

G. G. Coulton, The Case for Compulsory Military Service, annotated proofs, 1917

Series III: Writings by Others

Box 3   Folder 1

H. T. Jacka, The Dissolution of the English Nunneries, MA Thesis, University of London, typescript, 1917

Box 3   Folder 2

E. E. Power, Some Chapters in the History of English Nunneries in the Later Middle Ages, (c. 1250-1535), MA Thesis, University of London, typescript, 1916

Series IV: Writings and Notes

Box 4   Folder 1-10

Monasticism, notes, transcriptions and correspondence, ca. 1930-1940

Box 4   Folder 11

Usury, notes, transcriptions and correspondence, ca. 1927

Box 5   Folder 1

Skeat's Piers Ploughman B-Text (EETS, 1869), heavily annotated

Box 5   Folder 2

Notes and "From St. Francis to Dante: Translations from the Chronicle of the Franciscan Salimbene," chapters 26-end, typescript, circa 1905

Box 5   Folder 3

"Salimbene Index," notebook

Box 5   Folder 4

"Salimbene Additions, Vol II," notebook

Box 5   Folder 5

"Christ, St Francis and Today," annotated proofs, 1918

Series V: Indexes

Box 6   Folder 1-5

Notecards

Box 6   Folder 6

Index A, Author-Title Index to British Museum notebooks

Box 7

Index B, the most complete subject index of the British Museum notebooks and of other works indicated.

Box 8   Folder 1

Index C, partial index to British Museum notebooks and other texts

Box 8   Folder 2

Index F, partial index to British Museum notebooks and other texts

Box 8   Folder 3

Index G, partial index to British Museum notebooks and other texts

Box 8   Folder 4

Index H, partial index to British Museum notebooks and other texts

Box 8   Folder 5

Indexes to British Museum notebooks and other texts

  • Index I
  • Index to multiple works
  • Unidentified index

Series VI: British Museum Notebooks

Box 9   Folder 1

Notebooks 1-3

Box 9   Folder 2

Notebook 4

Box 9   Folder 3

Notebook 5

Box 9   Folder 4

Notebooks 6-8

Box 9   Folder 5

Notebook 9

Box 9   Folder 6

Notebooks 10-12

Box 9   Folder 7

Notebooks 13-14

Box 9   Folder 8

Notebook 15

Box 10   Folder 1

Notebook16

Box 10   Folder 2

Notebook 17

Box 10   Folder 3

Notebook 18

Box 10   Folder 4

Notebooks 19-22

Box 10   Folder 5

Notebook 23, 25-26

Box 10   Folder 6

Notebooks 27-28

Box 10   Folder 7

Notebooks 29-30

Box 11   Folder 1

Notebooks 31-32

Box 11   Folder 2

Notebook 33-33a

Box 11   Folder 3

Notebook 34

Box 11   Folder 4

Notebooks 35-35a

Box 11   Folder 5

Notebook 36

Box 11   Folder 6

Notebooks 37-37a

Box 11   Folder 7

Notebooks 39-41

Box 11   Folder 8

Notebooks 42-43

Box 12   Folder 1

Notebooks 44-45

Box 12   Folder 2

Notebooks 46-47

Box 12   Folder 3

Notebooks 48-50

Box 12   Folder 4

Notebooks 51-52

Box 12   Folder 5

Notebook 53

Box 12   Folder 6

Notebooks 54-55

Box 12   Folder 7

Notebooks 56-57

Box 13   Folder 1

Notebooks 58-59

Box 13   Folder 2

Notebook 60

Box 13   Folder 3

Notebooks 61-62

Box 13   Folder 4

Notebooks 63-64

Box 13   Folder 5

Notebooks 65-66

Box 13   Folder 6

Notebooks 67-68

Box 13   Folder 7

Notebook 69

Box 14   Folder 1

Notebook 70

Box 14   Folder 2

Notebook 71

Box 14   Folder 3

Notebooks 72-73

Box 14   Folder 4

Notebook 74

Box 14   Folder 5

Notebooks 75-76

Box 14   Folder 6

Notebooks77-78

Box 14   Folder 7

Notebook 79

Box 14   Folder 8

Notebooks 80-82

Box 15   Folder 1

Notebooks 83-84

Box 15   Folder 2

Notebooks 85-86

Box 15   Folder 3

Notebooks 87-88

Box 15   Folder 4

Notebooks 89-90

Box 15   Folder 5

Notebooks 91-92

Box 15   Folder 6

Notebook 93

Box 15   Folder 7

Notebook 94

Box 16   Folder 1

Notebooks 95-96

Box 16   Folder 2

Notebook 97

Box 16   Folder 3

Notebooks 98-99

Box 16   Folder 4

Notebook 100

Box 16   Folder 5

Notebook 101

Box 16   Folder 6

Notebooks 102-103

Box 16   Folder 7

Notebook 104

Box 17   Folder 1

Notebook 105

Box 17   Folder 2

Notebook 106

Box 17   Folder 3

Notebook 107

Box 17   Folder 4

Notebook 108

Box 17   Folder 5

Notebook 109

Box 17   Folder 6

Notebook 110

Box 17   Folder 7

Notebook 111

Box 17   Folder 8

Notebook 112

Box 18   Folder 1

Notebook 113

Box 18   Folder 2

Notebook 114

Box 18   Folder 3

Notebook 115

Box 18   Folder 4

Notebook 116

Box 18   Folder 5

Notebook 117

Box 18   Folder 6

Notebook 118

Box 19   Folder 1

Notebook 119

Box 19   Folder 2

Notebook 120

Box 19   Folder 3

Notebook 121

Box 19   Folder 4

Notebook 122

Box 19   Folder 5

Notebook 123

Box 19   Folder 6

Notebook 124

Box 19   Folder 7

Notebook 125

Box 20   Folder 1

Notebook 126

Box 20   Folder 2

Notebook 127

Box 20   Folder 3

Notebook 128

Box 20   Folder 4

Notebook 129

Box 20   Folder 5

Notebook 130

Box 21   Folder 1

Notebook 131

Box 21   Folder 2

Notebook 132

Box 21   Folder 3

Notebook 133

Box 21   Folder 4

Notebook 134

Box 21   Folder 5

Notebook 135

Box 21   Folder 6

Notebook 135a

Box 21   Folder 7

Notebook 136

Box 22   Folder 1

Notebook 137

Box 22   Folder 2

Notebook 138

Box 22   Folder 3

Notebook 139

Box 22   Folder 4

Notebook 140

Box 22   Folder 5

Notebook 141

Box 22   Folder 6

Notebook 142

Box 22   Folder 7

Notebook 143

Box 23   Folder 1

Notebook 144

Box 23   Folder 2

Notebook 145

Box 23   Folder 3

Notebook 146

Box 23   Folder 4

Notebooks 147-148

Box 23   Folder 5

Notebook 149

Box 23   Folder 6

Notebook 151

Box 23   Folder 7

Notebook 152

Box 23   Folder 8

Notebook 153

Box 24   Folder 1

Notebooks 154-155

Box 24   Folder 2

Notebook 156

Box 24   Folder 3

Notebook 157

Box 24   Folder 4

Notebook 158

Box 24   Folder 5

Notebook 159

Box 24   Folder 6

Notebook 160

Box 24   Folder 7

Notebook 161

Box 25   Folder 1

Notebook 162

Box 25   Folder 2

Notebook 163

Box 25   Folder 3

Notebook 164

Box 25   Folder 4

Notebook 165

Box 25   Folder 5

Notebook 166

Box 25   Folder 6

Notebook 167

Box 25   Folder 7

Notebook 168

Box 26   Folder 1

Notebook 169

Box 26   Folder 2

Notebook 170

Box 26   Folder 3

Notebook 171

Box 26   Folder 4

Notebook 172

Box 26   Folder 5

Notebook 173

Box 26   Folder 6

Notebook 174

Box 26   Folder 7

Notebook 175

Box 27   Folder 1

Notebook 176

Box 27   Folder 2

Notebook 177

Box 27   Folder 3

Notebook 178

Box 27   Folder 4

Notebooks 179, 181, 182

Box 27   Folder 5

Notebook 183

Box 27   Folder 6

Notebook 184

Box 27   Folder 7

Notebooks 185-186

Box 27   Folder 8

Notebooks 187-188

Box 28   Folder 1

Notebook 189

Box 28   Folder 2

Notebooks 190-191

Box 28   Folder 3

Notebooks 192-193

Box 28   Folder 4

Notebooks 194-195

Box 28   Folder 5

Notebooks 196-197

Box 28   Folder 6

Notebooks 198-199

Box 29   Folder 1

Notebooks 200-201

Box 29   Folder 2

Notebook 202

Box 29   Folder 3

Notebook 203

Box 29   Folder 4

Notebook 204

Box 29   Folder 5

Notebook 205

Box 29   Folder 6

Notebook 206

Box 29   Folder 7

Notebook 207

Box 30   Folder 1

Notebook 208

Box 30   Folder 2

Notebook 209

Box 30   Folder 3

Notebooks 210-211

Box 30   Folder 4

Notebook 212

Box 30   Folder 5

Notebook 213

Box 30   Folder 6

Notebook 214

Box 30   Folder 7

Notebook 215

Box 31   Folder 1

Notebook 216

Box 31   Folder 2

Notebook 217

Box 31   Folder 3

Notebook 218

Box 31   Folder 4

Notebook 219

Box 31   Folder 5

Notebook 220

Box 31   Folder 6

Notebook 221

Box 31   Folder 7

Notebook 222

Box 31   Folder 8

Notebook 223

Box 32   Folder 1

Notebook 224

Box 32   Folder 2

Notebook 225

Box 32   Folder 3

Notebook 226

Box 32   Folder 4

Notebook 227

Box 32   Folder 5

Notebook 228

Box 32   Folder 6

Notebook 229

Box 32   Folder 7

Notebook 230

Box 33   Folder 1

Notebook 231

Box 33   Folder 2

Notebook 232

Box 33   Folder 3

Notebook 233

Box 33   Folder 4

Notebook 234

Box 33   Folder 5

Notebook 235

Box 33   Folder 6

Notebook 236

Box 33   Folder 7

Notebook 237

Box 34   Folder 1

Notebook 238

Box 34   Folder 2

Notebook 239

Box 34   Folder 3

Notebook 240

Box 34   Folder 4

Notebook 241

Box 34   Folder 5

Notebook 242

Box 34   Folder 6

Notebook 243

Box 34   Folder 7

Notebook 244

Box 35   Folder 1

Notebook 245

Box 35   Folder 2

Notebook 246

Box 35   Folder 3

Notebook 247

Box 35   Folder 4

Notebook 248

Box 35   Folder 5

Notebook 249

Box 35   Folder 6

Notebooks 250-251

Box 35   Folder 7

Notebook 252

Box 35   Folder 8

Notebook 253

Box 36   Folder 1

Notebook 254

Box 36   Folder 2

Notebook 255

Box 36   Folder 3

Notebook 256

Box 36   Folder 4

Notebook 257

Box 36   Folder 5

Notebook 258

Box 36   Folder 6

Notebook 259

Box 36   Folder 7

Notebook 260

Box 37   Folder 1

Notebook 261

Box 37   Folder 2

Notebook 262

Box 37   Folder 3

Notebook 263

Box 37   Folder 4

Notebook 264

Box 37   Folder 5

Notebook 265

Box 37   Folder 6

Notebook 266

Box 37   Folder 7

Notebook 267

Box 38   Folder 1

Notebook 268

Box 38   Folder 2

Notebook 270

Box 38   Folder 3

Notebook 271