PLEDGE, Humphrey Thomas

Published: 20 November, 2023  Author: admin


THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS Report on the papers of HUMPHREY THOMAS (1903 = 1960) PLEDGE, C.B.E. deposited in the Library of the University of Sussex THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS by London WC2A 1HP Reproduced for the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre Noo74,/68 Quality House, Quelity Court, Chancery Lane, 1974, 411 rights reserved THE ROYAL SOCIETY THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS Committee on Scientific and Technological Records CONTEMPORARY SCIENTIFIC ARCHIVES CENTRE Papers of HUMPHREY THOMAS PLEDGE, C.B.E. (1903 - 1960) 1974 Deposited in the Library of the University of Sussex Harriot Weiskittel Listed by Jeannine Alton H.T.P. GrSeAeC. 16/10/74 Description of the collection The collection was received from Mrs. Ruth Pledge. It consists of manuscript notes,drafts and working papers; there is a small amount of correspondence. The papers had been stored for 10 years following Pledge's death and many are marked by rust and corroded metal. Pledge spent almost the whole of his working life in the Science Museum Library,as Assistant Keeper (1927 — 45) and Keeper (1945 - 60),and is best known for his book Science since 1500,London H.M.S.0., 1939, 2nd.ed.1966,. Some of the notes in the collection,written on grey paper,were probably assembled for this book; but it is clear that throughout his life Pledge had been accumulating material for an ambitious project which would be both an encyclopedia of world history and an interpretation and synthesis of - 5. The ‘intellectual autobiography ' can be traced in the notes and working papers. Item 4 contains Pledge's own explanation of his methods of work,his use of different coloured papers,inks or An account of the origin and development of his ideas is contained knowledge. Work on this became his main concern from (c) 1940 until his death in 1960,as is shown by the dating of his notes. His wide range of reading and thinking produced copious notes,which he re~arranged and reallocated according to an increasingly elaborate system,while the many plans and charts he devised (see Ibems 27 — 36) show the scale of his intention and the problems he encountered. in Section I,Biographical Material,Items 1 addressed to Dr. K.P.0akley in 1955 (Item1) discusses the importance for him of the history of trade-routes,maps and charts; formal properties,sets,number and dimension; chronology and synchrony; 'degrees of acquaintance’; personalities such as Hilaire Belloc; literary forms such as the Maxim. These ideas or interests subject to extensive revision; they appear as Items 37 — 39,91,92. Some, though pencils,signs and abbreviations amounting to a private language,and his own interpretation of alphabetical symbols. He admits that the esoteric nature of his system,to which puns,numbers and etymologies (real or fanciful) contributed, as well as his constant revision of his categories and plans,made the notes difficult to follow,and that some were too fragmentary to convey meaning. Some sections of the work had reached draft stage,though still H.T.P. C.S.A.C. 16/10/74 2. left in note-form,could be grouped under ascertainable subject—headings. A large number were clipped or pinned in clusters or irregular shapes; they have been retained as Items 101 — 105,although they cannot be assigned to a definite topic. Others were received as loose jottings and may have been displaced or disordered after Pledge's death; no attempt has been made to regroup them. Summary of Pledge's career be. 1903 1916 — 21 Educated at Tonbridge School 1921 - 25 Trinity College,Cambridge (Senior Science Exhibitioner) Natural Sciences Tripos,Class I 1925 — 26 Assistant Master,Wrekin School 1927 — 45 Assistant Keeper,Science Museum Library,South Kensington 1934 1939 Married Ruth Brown Science since 1500,London H.M.5.0. 1945 — 60 Keeper,Science Museum Library 1960 C.B.E. Contents of the handlist publications VI.Working papers and notes VII. Correspondence I. Biographical material II. Bibliographies III. Articles,addresses,essays V. Drafts and notes for Maxims IV. MSS drafts and synopses for proposed no.4 April 1961. "An intellectual autobiography'; essay addressed to Kenneth Oakley, 1955. 63 pp. Contains some explanation of the growth of Pledge's ideas. Obituary notice of Pledge by A.C.Townsend,Library Association Record,63 Handlist die I.Biosravhical material 1955 Helebe C.SeAC 16/10/74 . Se Letter dated 2/9/39, inscribed "Open only if I become a casualty.’ 1939 '"Autobiogr.' Bundle of notes,memos and record of work done. 1940 = 41 Draft of autobiographical note. MS inscribed 'For K.P.Oakley,should he wish to look over my notes.’ Contains explanation of ideas,methods of work,numbers,colours etc. used in notes,signs and abbreviations. With specimen notes and Pledge's interpretation of alphabetical symbols. 5. Notes dated at various times in 1960 1960 II.Bibliocraphies 6. Brown loose—leaf book,with numbered list of books read. 7.: Loose pages of notes with numbered list of books read. IIIT.Articles,addresses,essays. 8. 'Soap Men. A Study in Edwardian Politics.'! m2 2. corrected I5S,with additional notes. Shorter drafts and notes,mainly on aspects of Huropean history in 19th and 20th centuries. Letter and press cutting from John Plant Harthan 1959 "Biology and Topology.' 193% 1946 Typescript and Ms Letter of rejection from Hditor,NATURE Draft letter from Pledge (probably to Sir Julian Huxley) on the mathematical foundations of biology. 1935 of essay "Symbolism as Published in Science Medicine and History, tssays...written in honour of Charles Singer,C.U.P.,1953,Vol II,450 — 460. a limiting factor in the history of science.? Printed text (2 copies) 2 drafts (1 defective),typescript with Ms corrections Letters from M.S.Bartlett (n.d.) and A.Prag (1939) with comments on paper. Copy of article by A.Prag,on James Gregory,with accompanyimg letter. Letter from 2.Ashworth Underwood (editor) re Singer festschrift. Non—functional Beauty Beauty of Growth Sense of Character 'The Office-worker's Guide to Life. Idle Minutes of a Permanent Official.' 2 copies "Chapter XI. (unidentified Ms. not part of "Science since 1500") Essays. Typescript,some with Ms additions and corrections. The Classical Electron Theory,and Appendix I & II! Essays. Typescript,some with Ms.additions and corrections. The Quest H.T.P. C.S.A.C. 16/10/74 ; The Maxim (with additional Ms.notes) Beauty in Machinery (with additional Ms.notes) ‘Under Forties. A Proposal on the Population Crisis.' Book I. Book II 6 chapters (complete) Several chapters unnumbered and incomplete. MSS drafts and synopses. 3 papers on algebra. On 'Inconsistents!' (1 paper ) and 'Cubic Equations' (2 papers). 1919 = 20 ‘Analysis of proposed book. "Sources of Scientific and Technical Information" by H.T.Pledge,B.A.,Sometime Senior Exhibitioner, Trinity College,Cambridge.' 'The Scientist's weekend book and Laboratory Companion.' Synopsis and notes. "History of Technics and Modern Problems. Provisional Synopsis.’ Nith later notes and page of typescript comments. Ms. draft,on social effects of technological advance; see also Items 20 and 120. Totes, 'Research, Both subjects and admin.' Includes 'Synopsis of proposed pamphlet or short book.' 1948, 1954 1932 V. Drafts and notes for Maxims. 21 22. Bundle of loose notes of maxims. 23. Black loose-leaf notebook of maxims and quotations. 'Noces and Maxims by H.T.Pledge.' 83p. Unpublished typescript with Ms corrections. Draft for work on Social and political effects of technological advances; draft letter to Raymond Postgate accepting editorial criticism of the proposed work. See also Items 18 and 120 in the description of the collection,and outlined in Items 1,2,and 4. Most of these are related to Pledge's projected work on a synthesis of knowledge. His aims and methods of work are briefly discussed 24. Black notebook; inside,'H.T.Pledge. His anthology.' 25. Diary,1955; inside 'Common Place Book HTP.'° 26. Black notebook; inside,'H.T.Pletcs. His Marx.? VI Working papers and notes. H.T.P. C.S.A.C. 16/10/74 A fuller understanding of the complexity of the project,and his attempts to codify and organise it,can be gathered from Items 27 which are based on notes originally compiled 1934 - subsequently augmented,modified and redistributed. Inverted commas indicate Pledge's own words. — 36,and 90 — 92,some of 38 for Science since 1500, 27. Draft account of projected work,with note dated 10/12/59 1959 Plans,charts and tables;classification of subject-matter. (last note dated 1/10/60) Small black loose-leaf notebook,with explanation of abbreviations and conventions,and plan of work. 1941 Bundle of notes headed "Lists of crucial qu's é& stages reached chiefly '35.' (with many annotations and additions. ) 4 bundles of notes indicating methods of work and development of ideas. Envelope marked 'H.T.P.'s Hotes . Samples of his thoughts in last year. He found that even punning had deep significance. K(enneth)P.O(akley). Whedkle ee | Envelope bearing multiple dates 1942 - 57,indicating Pledge's continuous reorganising of his notes. Bundle of notes on Symbols and Systems. ordering of bundles of. notes has been retained. 36. Envelope marked ‘Amusements 30/9/46. on sets,patterns,mosaics etc. Mathematical problems and puzzles Bundle of notes and ideas on formal properties,aspect and identity, classification,measurement,sets,dimension etc. 40 — 100 Working papers and notes,identified by subject-matter. Pledge's 37 - 39 Partly completed Ms. drafts of chapters or sections,many with accompanying additional notes and bibliographies; no titles given; variously dated 1346 to 195). 3 foiders. Draft chapters on methods of mathematical notation,models of classification, Working notes on information theory; letter from R.4.Fairthorne 1932 Working notes on Ergodic theory; 2 letters from M.S.Bartlett 1946 44 —- 48. Mathematics, theory of number,information theory etc. Ad. 46. AT. 40 — 42. Geography,maps,traderoutes etc. notes,maps,presscuttings. 3 folders. 43. Geography and Hcology 44. Charts,diagrams,notes H.T.P. C.SeA.C. 16/10/74 48. reference systems etc. Misc.notes on history and methods of mathematics. 3 folders. 49 — 52. Statistics,with special reference to demography and economics. Notes,press—cuttings,tables etc. 4 folders. 536 Aericulture,trade and population. Notes,press—cuttings,etc. 54 - 55. History Notes, bibliographies 2 folders. 56. History of Religion. 57. Religion and Metaphysics. 58. Religion,Magic and Medicine. 59. Medicine and History of Medicine. 60,61. Biochemistry and Cell Structure. 62. Chemistry; includes short Ms. 'My enzyme idea’. 63. "Inorg. Chem.! 66. Botany. 67. Biology. 68. - Physics. 710. 64. 'Zool.' 65. Bot. 69. Meteorology. — dimensional space. ke Human and Animal Societies. Military History; mainly of 1914 — 18 World War. Zool.' on outside of bundle. Notes inside deal with geology, ‘Mise. agricultural economics,and the theory of 3 Etymology and word derivations; mainly Imglish and French. 73,74. History of Economics,Trade,Banking etc. History of Industrial Organisation. (De Notes on the theory of Progress. 771 - 79. History of Technology. here Animal Social Structures. 76. 80. 3 folders. H.T.P. C.S.A.C. 16/10/74 81. 82. 83, 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. Law of Contract,Fraud and Misrepresentation. Taste,Fashion, Amusements, Aesthetics. includes short lis. ‘Another kind of Realism.' Misc.notes on biographies of historical figures,family standing of scientists,esp. on Descartes. Charts on mutual influences and interrelationships. Misc. biographical notes on Hilaire Belloc. Bundles of notes marked 'USED'. 2 bundles of bibliographical and reference notes. Unattributed notes. Caste and Social Structure. Extended Ms. draft. "Philosophical i.e. QU's unanswered’; misc. notes. "Structures of thought Theory of Modes Puzzles i.e. Trials Formulation of Problems ' Misc. notes. 91 92. 91,92. Longer Ms drafts for sections of projected work,many with headings, annotations and additional notes. Topics include: Tabu After -— life Castes and parasitism Domestication Arthropods Omens Augury Dreams and trances Priests and prophets Plant luck Taste Burgundy and Rhineland i947 reprint etc. Mess, Mass,Matrix Beacons War and Armies Travel and landmarks Patterns of numbers Numbers Maps History and Science Games; 2 sections Nature Symbols 93,94. Notes and charts on Chronology and Synchrony 2 folders. 95. Misc. papess re Science since 1500;page of corrected draft;notes on we qunreeneeraemaremnnenemetacmmms ! E.TsP. C.S.AsCs. 16/10/74 96. Misc. press—cuttings,articles from journals etc.,some annotated by Pledge. Note on 'Stellar Constitution and Evolution' in another hand. Photocopies of letters,articles etc. re precursor of Jenner's work on vaccination. Benjamin Jesty, Misc cuttings,articles,notes on Time ——_ ? ’ - e Me i - : " uh " " St. Michael's Mounts Fractions and Musical Intervals , with letter from C.T.L.Griffith.1941 105. Shorter notes,subject-matter only partly identifiable. Pledge's ordering of the notes has been retained. 5 boxes. Envelopes of notes dated by Pledge 1941 4 box. 12 envelopes Envelopes of notes dated by Pledge 1940 — 44 1 box. 12 envelopes. Envelopes of notes marked 'INF.' dated 1941 - 42 1 box 11 envelopes. ; 30 envelopes 20 envelopes 35 envelopes 1941 — 51 1942 — 44 110 Atle 142. 113. 114. 115. 20 envelopes Envelopes of notes marked 'INF.' dated 1942 — 60 13, envelopes 1 Envelope marked 'ABEYANCE' dated 1945 1 box. 6 boxes. 12 envelopes 110 - 115. Envelopes of notes marked 'DUP.' and dated by Pledge. c These had been dispersed after Pledge's death and cannot be regrouped or identified with certainty. 4 boxes. 116 — 119. Unsorted fragmentary notes. Professor W.H.lcCreaj;comments on mathematical physics sections of an: Science since 1500,with Pledge's annotations te 11 envelopes 1 envelope In chronological order. 1956 — 60 ned. VII Correspondence 1942 — 45 1946 - 50 1951— 54 Q 1930 from . 4 ‘ h H.T.P. C.S.A.C. 16/10/74 with Raymond Postgate (3 letters) re proposed article by Pledge on social and political effects of technological change,for Postgate's publication FACT; with later notes by Pledge. see also 15 and 20. 1938 A.'Wheen re reference for colleague - Ceci re foreign sales of Science since 1500 (c)1939 1940 1940 1940 1941 1942 1943 1943 TOQAA 1944. 1946 1946 1946 1947 1947 1949 1955 1956 1957 1957 1957 1958 1959 1960 1960 1960 ned. N. Clark on Science since 1500 P.C.P.Huysers. Congratulations C.M.Parkinson W.eAsOsborne H.eJeMoulton. On Science since 1500 George Sarton G. “Ee Derek Justin Schove. On Schove's collection of materials for history of science,especially maps,chronologies,statistics,charts. Hal Gray Warren R.Dawson. On paranomasia in Egyptian kexts I. Bernard Cohen. Congratulations on Science since 1500 Walter Pagel (2 letters) on Science since 1500 Hervey WeHaines (2 letters) " R.A.Fairthorne. On mathematical typescript. W.F.Floyd. On Hlectricity in Medicine R.J.Spilsbury. On Genetics and Evolution T.J.Fletcher. On mathematical games. W.M.Dunlop Frank P.Chambers. Comments on Ms.submitted by Pledge. George E.Hyde. On burnet moths. R.Lawton. On Leeds and Bradford textile industry Jerome Ravetz JH.P.Pafford John Plant Harthan unidentified George A.Arthurson. On building and invention during the Industrial Revolution. Joseph Needham; review of 'Religious Motives in the Medical u a" L n.d. Biology of the 17th.Century' (¢) 1935.