Friday, June 29th, 2012...9:30 am
You’ve Got Mail: The Hofers from Yale
Philip Hofer (1898-1984), founding Curator of the Department of Printing & Graphic Arts in Houghton Library, was in Oxford in June 1962 to deliver his six Lyell lectures on “The Artist and the Book in France.” He and Mrs. Hofer used this occasion to visit a number of friends and colleagues in England. On Sunday June 3rd they lunched with Mr. and Mrs. St. John Hornby. Hornby (1867-1946) was the proprietor of the Ashendene Press and he and Hofer were good friends. After lunch the Hornbys took the Hofers to visit the neighboring enclosed nuns at Stanbrook Abbey and its Press, another of the important English private presses that Hofer and Hornby knew well. The work of the founder of the Stanbrook Abbey Press, Dame Laurentia McLachlan (1866-1953), was carried on there until 1990.
MS Typ 621 is a collection of letters and cards from Cecily Hornby to Dame Hildelith Cumming. On June 14th Mrs. Hornby wrote a thank-you note to Dame Hildelith.
I am filled with shame, as I see from my letter book that I have never written to thank you & the Lady Abbess for your wonderful kindness & hospitality to the large party we brought over on Sunday 3rd. The Hofers did so appreciate your kindness & were really impressed with your printing. He is over from Yale in Oxford giving 6 lectures.
I am always impressed by the happiness & gaiety you radiate behind those imposing grills – it does one good to be with you.
One wonders what Hofer, a loyal graduate of Harvard (Class of 1921) and one of the greatest benefactors to its libraries, would have thought had he known Mrs. Hornby thought he was from Yale!
This post is part of a weekly feature on the Houghton Library blog, “You’ve Got Mail,” based on letters in Houghton Library. Every Friday this year a Houghton staff member will select a letter from the diverse collections in the Library and put that letter into context. All posts associated with this series may be viewed by clicking on the You’veGotMail tag.
[Thanks to William Stoneman, Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library, for contributing this post.]