Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Early Oxfordian Katharine Emily Eggar, 1874-1961

When I was putting together my notes for the labyrinth party, I came across an intriguing citation from the Journal of the Royal Musical Association. I had been trying to find information about Oxford's interest in music and Katharine Emily Eggar's 1934 paper, "The Seventeenth Earl of Oxford as Musician, Poet, and Controller of the Queen's Revels" sounded exciting.

The Eggar citation from the Journal of the Royal Musical Association is available online, but I was unable to get access so I asked my local library, the Howell Carnegie District Library, to get it for me. They got a copy of the article from Michigan State University.

I also got a list of Eggar citations from Google Scholar Beta.

Tom Hunter, meanwhile, found that Eggar's papers are held at the University of London Libary from the Archives Hub

Here is the citation:

Papers of Katherine Emily Eggar Held at: University of London Library
Reference and contact details: GB 96 MS 987
Title: Papers of Katherine Emily Eggar
Dates of Creation: 1909-1961
Name of Creator: Katharine Emily Eggar (d 1961)
Extent: 30 boxes
Language of Material: English.
Level of Description: fonds
Revisions: 18 April 2005 GB 096 MS 987 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
Legal Status:
Administrative / Biographical History: Katherine Emily Eggar spent over thirty years researching the life and times of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Eggar argued that Lord Oxford was the real author of Shakespeare's works. Her plan was to publish her writings, but unfortunately she died on 15 August 1961, before her preparatory work for her book was complete.
Scope and Content: The collection contains printed volumes, mainly on Shakespeare and a collection of typescript and manuscript notes for a book, which was being prepared on the life and times of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
Dates of Accumulation: 1909-1961
Access Conditions: Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room
Note: 1999-08-12 Simon McKeon
Personal Names: Eggar , Katharine Emily . ( d 1961 ) literary critic de Vere , Edward . ( 1550-1604 ) 17th Earl of Oxford writer
Subject Terms: Literary history

Besides being an early Oxfordian, Eggar was one of the founders of the Society of Women Musicians that held its first meeting on July 11, 1911 at the Women's Institute in London and was disbanded in 1972. In a 2007 article "Marion Scott and the Society of Women Musicians" on the MusicWeb International website, Pamela Blevins said:
Eggar had studied piano in Berlin and Brussels, and composition with Frederick Corder at the Royal Academy of Music. She had composed a number of chamber works, including a piano quintet and string quartet as well as songs.
Although Marion Scott and Katharine Eggar were close friends who had collaborated as writers and worked together to champion women in music, they were not always in agreement, particularly in regard to the identity of Shakespeare. In addition to her writings on music, Eggar also became a literary critic and spent more than thirty years researching the life and times of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Eggar believed that de Vere was the real author of Shakespeare's works, that ‘Shakespeare’ was his nom de plume. She planned to publish her findings but died before she completed her book. In an interview shortly before her death, Eggar described herself as a ‘heretic on Shakespeare’.
As for Eggar's article on Oxford as musician, poet and controller of the queen's revels -- Eggar's work is very interesting. Since the article is un-footnoted, I can't assess its validity, but for someone who is obsessed with Shakespeare as a musician, I found Eggar's material quite fascinating.

I have always wondered why no one has seen fit to discover more about Oxford's role in the court theater and Eggar seems to have investigated this topic thoroughly. She makes this point toward the end of her presentation (p. 54):
Well, at last Lord Oxford, having exhausted all direct means of making her (ER) face the truth, took up his pen and addressed a petition to her, in which he represented that he had toiled for thirteen years to carry out her command to "aim all his courses at the Revels," and that she had never redeemed her promise to reward him; and, in short, that he felt himself very badly treated and would she kindly do something quite definite about it.

Eggar says what Elizabeth R did was give Oxford the famous one-thousand pounds a year. But there is no citation for this intriguing letter of petition. Much of what Eggar says is equally intriguing and we in Oberon believe much would be gained by a study of her work.

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