It’s not every day that an ornamental trowel turns up on your desk:


This trowel was presented to WA Copinger, the first president of the Bibliographical Society, in 1896, upon the laying of the foundation stone of the Catholic Apostolic Church in Buxton. Copinger was an ‘angel’ (i.e. bishop) of the Church, sometimes referred to as ‘Irvingites’. (Lambeth Palace Library, which holds a collection of Church material, has a guide to the Church and its beliefs on its website.) As a (slightly unusual) bit of Bibliographical Society history, the presentational trowel will make its way to the Society’s archives, on deposit in the Bodleian Library’s special collections.

Also making its way to the archive will be the minutes book of the Society’s Colophon Club. The notes officially begin with the entry: ‘Record of dinners, etc., of the Colophon Club, 1919’, but the first full entry starts on 19 January 1925, where the secretary records the presence of 19 diners, including Harold Williams, R.W. Chambers, A.W. Pollard, J. Dover Wilson, R.B. McKerrow, and the notorious T.J. Wise–the who’s who of the bibliographical community. Three months later, on 16 March 1925, W.W. Greg makes an appearance; Geoffrey Keynes joins the 15 March 1926 dinner. The record covers Colophon Club dinners through December 2008, the individual members (and guests) writing their signatures on the pages. register

On 17 October 1967, the Club hosts a dinner ‘for Professor and Mrs Fredson Bowers’ at Brown’s Hotel (a favourite dining spot for the Club). Forty-six members attend the dinner in honour of the author of the monumental Principles of Bibliographical Description.


Diners at the Club include several Institute senior research fellows, past and present. Nicolas Barker attends the dinner for Bowers in 1967; Ian Willison makes an early appearance in 1972, along with Robin Alston. Four years later, Mirjam Foot’s name appears on the register.