Papers of Reginald Walter Macan (Master 1906-23)

R.W. Macan (1848–1941) attended Charterhouse from 1864–7, before becoming a scholar of University College in 1868–1872.

Macan got a First in Classics in Michaelmas 1871. In December 1872 he became a Senior Student at Christ Church. After holding a Hibbert Travelling Scholarship from 1873–5, he became a Tutor at Christ Church in 1876–81. He had to resign his Fellowship there on his marriage, but was not re-elected, allegedly on the grounds of religious unorthodoxy. He then worked as a lecturer at both Brasenose and University College from 1882–4, before being elected as a Tutor and Fellow at University College in 1884. He was a classicist, and his most famous published work was a commentary on Books IV–IX of the Histories of Herodotus. In 1906 Macan was elected Master. Macan was a layman, and his election marks a turning point in College history: before 1906 only one layman had served as Master (Antony Gate in 1584–97), but since 1906 only one clergyman (John Wild in 1945–51) has held the post. He retired in 1923, and lived at Boars Hill until his death in 1941.

In 1881 Macan married his second cousin Mildred Healey, and they had five children, Basil (1882–1915), who was killed in the First World War, Agatha (b. 1884), Dorothea (b. 1886), Eric (1888–1900), and Norah (b. 1890). The evidence of some of Macan’s poems suggests that he had been courting her for several years before their marriage.

The following papers include translations of classical texts, poems, and addresses given in University College Chapel. There are also some diaries kept by both Macan and his wife. There are also a few papers from Macan’s grandson (and father of the depositor), Denis Vidler, who was at University College in 1933–6.

The greater part of this collection was given to the archives by his great-granddaughter. in April 2004 as Accession No. 511. The only items not from this deposit were UC:MA43/X1/1, which were found in the Archives in the summer of 1993, UC:MA43/MS1/1–8, which, according to a note on the front page of UC:MA43/MS1/1, had been given by Macan to A.S.L. Farquharson, and then passed on to the College Library in 1943, before being transferred to the Archives in February 1996, UC:MS43/C2/1–4, which was found in the Bursary Tower, and transferred to the archives in August 2001 as part of Accession No. 275, and UC:MA43/N1/3 which was again given by Macan’s great-granddaughter in January 2016 as Accession No. 1178.

Recatalogued in January 2016.

The papers have been arranged into the following series:

UC:MA43/C1  Letters from Macan
UC:MA43/C2  Letters to Macan
UC:MA43/J1  Diaries of Reginald and Mildred Macan
UC:MA43/MS1 Notebooks of Macan
UC:MA43/MS2  Poems by Macan
UC:MA43/MS3  Essays by Macan
UC:MA43/MS4  Addresses by Macan
UC:MA43/N1  Publications of Macan
UC:MA43/P1  Photograph of Macan
UC:MA43/X1 Dinner Menus
UC:MA43/X2  Commemorative Medal
UC:MA43/X3  Ephemera concerning Macan’s Death
UC:MA43/X4  Papers from Denis Vidler


Because of the length of the complete catalogue, it has not been placed online. Instead, a pdf version of it may be consulted here.