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Yates, Dora E.-to Alfred E. Hamill-Letters, 1937

 File — Box: 5, Folder: 82

Scope and Contents note

From the Series:

Almost entirely the letters of Dora E. Yates to Alfred E. Hamill, stretching from 1936 to 1946. Other materials include letters from Edward E. Harvey to Hamill regarding the decorations on gypsy caravans and the carving of gateposts in the gypsy manner for Hamill, as well as from F.J.W. Kirkpatrick to Yates regarding type styles for the Jubilee Number of the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society. Also, photographs, plus notes by Hamill concerning his relationship with Yates, and an 1856 article on gypsies from Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature.

Yates letters deal largely with Gypsy Lore Society news, library matters at the University of Liverpool, book collecting, her personal affairs, and the activities and well-being of Hamill. There is a good amount of comment concerning war politics in the United States and the progress of the war, war-time conditions in Liverpool (including continual air raids), British treatment of refugees during the war, and a few passing comments on gypsies in war-time as well. Some of the Yates letters were censored, the “offending” phrases cut out.

Hamill never met Dora Yates. Their ten-year correspondence began with his support and contributions to the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, and blossomed when Yates expressed her gratitude. Dora Esther Yates was an English librarian, author, scholar, and editor of numerous articles, books, and catalogs. She was born in 1870 and earned a graduate degree in English. She taught school early in her career and then for forty-eight years was employed at the University of Liverpool, retiring in 1945 as Lecturer in Bibliography, Supervisor of Class Libraries in the Faculty of Arts and Curator of Special Collections.

In 1903 her colleague, John Sampson, a Gypsy scholar, introduced Yates to his Gypsy friends and the Romani language. Until the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Yates assisted Scott Macfie in editing and publishing the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society and assisted him again after 1932 when she had been assistant secretary for three years. Although she edited the journal starting in 1935 when she was appointed honorary secretary of the society, she did not become editor in name until 1955.

Soon after her official retirement from the University of Liverpool, Yates was appointed curator of the Scott Macfie Collection of books on Gypsy Lore. In 1963 the university recognized Yates’ scholarly achievements with an honorary Litt.D. Yates continued to write and to support the Gypsy Lore Society until her death in 1974 at the age of ninety-five.


  • Creation: 1937


Conditions Governing Access

The Alfred E. Hamill papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States