From the L.R. Reeve* collection of short sketches of people he had met - this affectionate piece about psychologist C.W. Valentine (1879-1964). He wrote many books on psychology and was the editor of The British Journal of Educational Psychology for its first 25 years. Wikipedia (so far) knows him not.. Reeve saw him lecture several times...
Professor C. W. Valentine
Forty years ago I used to believe that Professor C. W. Valentine was one of the most reliable psychologists in England. Time has never changed my opinion, for on the many occasions when I have listened to him, or read about him he has always left me with the same impression of steadiness and sense of proportion so that one always felt that any declaration from him was the result of an objective mind which had arrived at a conclusion after exhaustive study.
I can, however, express a decided opinion on one of his books: an early volume on intelligence tests. Years ago an elderly colleague of mine was pestered by his newly qualified daughter to advise her on the best intelligence tests. He came to me. I took Valentine's book to school. We went into a huddle. He gave the tests according to instructions. Because I didn't know his boys I marked and assessed the results. A few days later he came to me beaming. "I have known every boy for at least six months and your marks are perfect." Salutations to Professor Valentine. And if the book in question is now out of print so much the worse for intelligence tests and education in general. No doubt the usual gibe 'old-fashioned' will be objected by superficial minds. Well, eating, drinking, breathing, speech and many other things are of ancient custom; when, therefore, the phrase ‘old-fashioned, is presented one can usually suspect a feeble argument, something like a lawyer's dictum, "When you have a weak case attack the man."
From the Reeve collection.* This is a fascinating character (especially from a bowling point of view) and although manager for Team England (as it was not known then) for the 1958 Cardiff Commonwealth Games bowls team and a superb and noted player of the game he is unknown to Wikipedia and turns up online mostly in club lists. But all has changed, changed utterly, thanks to fellow Devonian L.R. Reeve's writings…
|English Team, Commonwealth Games 1958|
F. H. SHAPLAND
I have met a good many busy men in my long life, but cannot believe anyone could be more active than Harold Shapland. Yet he seems to thrive on his multitudinous commitments, and to the world he appears to be one of the happiest men alive, with his ready wit, ready smile and readiness to chat with any bowler who happens to be near him when watching a thrilling encounter.
|© National Portrait Gallery, London|
From the Reeve* collection. D.W. Brogan's books have become somewhat hard to sell but he is here recalled as a great lecturer by a connoisseur of lecturers (and Dons.)
SIR DENIS BROGAN
From what I had read and heard I hoped to see an attractive man, when I attended a lecture at King’s College, in London. I was not disappointed. He must be one of the most interesting lecturers in Cambridge; and his memory, particularly concerning American history is certainly uncanny: a phenomenon which must have been apparent to millions of people who have heard his ready responses to questions from America which surprised the American questioner, who had evidently expected to puzzle the Cambridge don with unusual questions.
Few at the lecture had seen him previously; and his fresh complexion, sturdy body, unostentatious delivery and pleasing voice, was that of a cultured countryman. The audience of seventy were rewarded by an enjoyable hour of lecture and discussion. I can remember a few meetings as enjoyable, but we were learning something new in the best possible environment, and I dare not hope to enjoy a happier afternoon.
How and where does one begin when describing such an exceptionally experienced public woman as the Duchess of Atholl? I* might do worse than start at a meeting held in Essex Hall, Strand, when she was Parliamentary Secretary to the old Board of Education. Appointed by the Prime Minister, Mr Stanley Baldwin, and under the leadership of Lord Eustace Percy who, she said, was no shirker, she admits to feeIing honoured to be the second woman in English history to be a Minister, and she soon made it evident in her public life that she was never afraid to join the ranks of a minority group of people.
I had better not mention the number of years of my regular attendance at meetings at Essex Hall. I spoke there at a conference; I made reports there monthly during one period; I witnessed many exciting arguments; but never was any other meeting in that historic building so memorable to me as one at which the Duchess delivered one of her steady, thoughtful orations. She was no tub thumper, no rabble rouser, no player to the gallery, no provider of cheap wisecracks. She simply forced her head to take control of her emotions and just gave us facts, combined with ideals, very hard to challenge. There is| no need to add that after the meeting there was some animated discussion among groups in the corridor and in the Strand teashops.
From the papers of L R Reeve* this affectionate portrait of a minor character in British education. She does not have a Wikipedia page and is unknown to the DNB, but WorldCat record many books on history and education by her, some of which were continually reprinted into the 1960s. Her first book The problem of rural schools and teachers in North America (London : Stationery Office) was published in 1908 and she is noted as revising a book in 1960, so one could speculate her dates were something like 1880 - 1965. Her text books Piers Plowman Histories were in print from 1913 - 1957.
Miss Spalding was a most astonishing historian who still makes me feel google-eyed when I remember some of her activities.
In appearance she seemed so fragile that one would think a gentle summer breeze would blow her over. Yet when she lectured at Goldsmiths' College, London, cheeky men students, immediately after ragging unmercifully an instructor in physical training, would sit in her presence during a history lecture hardly daring to flicker an eyelid. Should, however, an unusually presumptuous newcomer take a chance, a slightly sarcastic smile and a softly spoken snub would make a blushing, wriggling mortal wish he were miles away from such and unexpected agony; and the tributes to Miss Spalding's uncanny disciplinary power can be heard even to this day when elderly men meet at college reunions.
Sometimes now known as 'The Psychiatrist of The Ghost Road' W.H.R.Rivers has a formidable reputation and holds a pivotal place in the development of neurophysiology, psychiatry/ psychology and anthropology - but he is probably most widely known for his wartime association with Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves and is featured in Pat Barker's 1995 Booker prize winning novel The Ghost Road. L.R. Reeve* some of whose encounters with famous people we are posting, actually never met him but saw him lecture and, sadly, missed a chance to meet him '…after he had addressed an audience at Cambridge he invited the London contingent to his rooms at St John's College for coffee and discussion. Some of us, I among them, wanted to return by the next train and reluctantly refused. What a chance I missed!' Nevertheless he has a good account of him:
Dr Rivers (1864 - 1922) was one of those rare men who call forth the best generous impulses of anyone with whom they come in contact. No extreme selfish extrovert, no criminal, nobody I should think, could resist his unconscious charm; and he himself, like Harold Nicolson, couldn't hate anybody.
[More from the papers of L.R. Reeve* who writes:] I remember, somewhere around 1907, reading a wrong prognostication in a Manchester newspaper, the 'Daily Despatch', about Lloyd George, Grey, Runciman, McKenna, Birrell, Samuel, Haldane, Morley and Winston Churchill.
Nine names of nine outstanding men who, under Henry Herbert Asquith, formed one of England's strongest cabinets ever known. The cabinet was so powerful, said the prophetic journalist, that Asquith might never be able to control so formidable a group of parliamentarians. We all of course know that he did, and that by 1914 some far -reaching acts of parliament had been passed by the government.
One of the early acts, causing the lengthy, bitter 'ninepence for fourpence' controversy and angry snarls about stamp-licking can never be forgotten by octogenarians, and I cannot believe that widespread antagonism towards individual members of parliament today is as vindictive as that of my young days; and as yet parliament hasn't witnessed the unprecedented scene encountered by Asquith when he rose to speak on the bill abolishing the veto of the House of Lords. For nearly an hour he stood almost unheard against the continuous roar of anger from the opposition. Finally he sat down defeated by the pandemonium. Later the incident was known as 'the Pothouse Brawl'.
|Wickham Steed |
(Bibliotheque Nationale Francaise)
[L.R. Reeve* writes:] Somewhere in the world of books there must surely be a biography of the late Wickham Steed. He would have been an eminent man if only for his vast knowledge of foreign languages: a knowledge which could be acquired only after months and years of intense application to his studies and excellent hours.
One wonders whether his obvious passion for other tongues began at the Sudbury Grammar School. Did he learn from an enthusiastic and efficient French teacher, or was his enthusiasm inborn in spite of an apathetic form master? No matter. His enthusiasm and obvious genius could never develop so remarkably without both inherent ability and uncommon will power. No indolent man could have achieved so much. His long arduous apprenticeship abroad began, I fancy, at the Sorbonne, in Paris. When he spoke to a large audience on foreign languages at Essex Hall, Strand, he told us of a Parisian who informed him that he spoke French like a Frenchman: a testimony which all students would like to hear.
Many English people obtain employment in foreign countries in order to reach a working knowledge of a certain tongue. A friend of mine served behind a counter in Paris; but most professional men of course aspire to a university, for it is there they learn the grammar, the correct accent, and study the refinements and culture of a beautiful language in a beautiful city. To be in Paris itself, is, I should think, an inspiration to study and learn as much as possible of an historic centre of learning, and as for its beauty on has only to examine a view from the top of Notre Dame to appreciate the genius of man to design and build a city carefully planned by architects of vision so long ago.
Found among the papers of the long defunct literary agency Michael Hayes of Cromwell Road S.W.5 - parts of a manuscript memoir by one L.R. Reeve of Newton Abbot, South Devon. Mr Reeve was attempting to get the book (Among those Present: Very Exceptional People) published, but on the evidence of the unused stamp Hayes never replied and L. R. Reeve published the book himself through the esteemed vanity publisher Stockwell two years later in 1974.
L R Reeve had in a long life met or observed a remarkable selection of famous persons. He presents 'vignettes' of 110 persons from all grades of society (many minor or even unknown) they include Winston Churchill, Dorothy Sayers, H H Asquith, John Buchan, the cricketer Jack Hobbs, J.B. Priestley, H.G. Wells, Marconi, E.M. Forster, Duchess of Atholl, Marie Stopes, Oliver Lodge and Cecil Sharp -- 'it is unnecessary to explain that many I have known have not known me. All of them I have seen, most of them I have heard, and some of them have sought information, even advice from me." Reeve states that the unifying qualification all these people have is '… some subtle emanation of personality we call leadership, and which can inspire people to actions unlikely to be undertaken unless prompted by a stronger will."
Reeve was a teacher throughout his life and deputy head of 3 London schools, headmaster of Loughborough emergency schools, ex-president of London Class Teachers Association and very early member of the British Psychological Society (55 years)... I calculate he was probably born in about 1900. His style is markedly unexciting but he has much information unavailable elsewhere.. He sent 6 typed manuscripts to (from the smell) the chain-smoking agent Hayes...This is L R Reeve's admiring take on Nicolas Murray Butler (1862 -1947) an American philosopher, diplomat, and educator. He was a somewhat divisive figure and not universally liked. One notable critic of Butler was Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. While attending Columbia, Ginsberg scrawled the words "Butler Has No Balls" on his grimy dorm window. This must have been just before Butler died and it seems to have lead to the poet being chucked out of college.
|Poems by Brereton with |
design by Sturge Moore
Found among the papers of the long defunct literary agency Michael Hayes of Cromwell Road S.W.5 - parts of a manuscript memoir by one L.R. Reeve of Newton Abbot, South Devon. He was attempting to get the book (Among those Present: Very Exceptional People) published, but on the evidence of the unused stamp Hayes never replied and L. R. Reeve published the book himself through the esteemed vanity publisher Stockwell two years later in 1974.
Stockwell books are necessarily rare - there is one copy on sale in the world at a stratospheric $350 in America but WorldCat records 16 copies in major libraries. L R Reeve had in a long life met or observed a remarkable selection of famous persons. He presents 'vignettes' of 110 persons from all grades of society (many minor or even unknown) they include Winston Churchill, Dorothy Sayers, H H Asquith, John Buchan, the cricketer Jack Hobbs, J.B. Priestley, H.G. Wells, Marconi, E.M. Forster, Duchess of Atholl, Marie Stopes, Oliver Lodge and Cecil Sharp -- 'it is unnecessary to explain that many I have known have not known me. All of them I have seen, most of them I have heard, and some of them have sought information, even advice from me." Reeve states that the unifying qualification all these people have is '… some subtle emanation of personality we call leadership, and which can inspire people to actions unlikely to be undertaken unless prompted by a stronger will."