[Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]

(Item #4864) [Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]. Rudyard Kipling.
[Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]
[Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]
[Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]
[Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]
[Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]
Rudyard Kipling's School Days
[Complete set of School Lists, etc. for the United Services Proprietary College, Westward Ho, N. Devon.]

Bideford: Wilson Bros. (printer), 1878 - 1882. First edition. First editions, first impressions, of a complete set of school lists issued during Kipling’s four years at the United Services Proprietary College in Devon. Only one other incomplete set is recorded and the present collection is therefore a unique opportunity to find a published record of the author’s school days, from which he drew significant inspiration for Stalky and Co.

Kipling attended the United Services Proprietary College between January 1878 and July 1882. The work, extracurricular activities, and relationships he developed in these formative years influenced the author he would become and his fiction.

In both the April and July 1878 List after Examination publications, Kipling’s name appears among the member of the lower third form. By Christmas 1878 we get a sense that Kipling is beginning to settle and reveal his abilities: he is listed as a prize winner in English. By July 1880, now in the Upper Fourth Form, Kipling is listed as second in his section for Latin, tied for fifth place in French but, notably, far down the list in Mathematics. Kipling’s struggle with maths would be a feature of his school career. In the July 1882 list, Kipling wins the first prize for English Verse. He is also listed first in the top set for English, 14th in the top set for French, and fifth in the top set for Latin.

The present collection also provides insight into Kipling’s development outside the classroom. On 5 June 1880 he read a paper entitled “On Insect Life” to the Natural History Society, and in December 1881, the “Christmas Pastimes” included a performance of Sheridan’s The Rivals in which Kipling played the role of Sir Anthony Absolute.

These school publications include the names of Kipling’s schoolmates and masters, later to be immortalised in Stalky and Co. , including Lionel Dunsterville (Stalky), George Charles Beresford (M’Turk), Cormell Price (The Head), M. H. Pugh (Prout), and W. C. Crofts (King). Writing in 1961, Roger Lancelyn Green stated “the danger of having a real school as the background of Stalky and Co. is that we find it almost impossible not to assume that the characters were real people also - and their behaviour and adventures more or less true to life”. It is significant that Kipling dedicated Stalky and Co. to Cormell Price, his old headmaster at the United Services College.

The 14 pieces comprise: List after Examination for April 1878, List after Examination for July 1878, Prospectus and School List for Christmas 1878, April 1879, July 1879, Christmas 1879, April 1880, July 1880, December 1880, April 1881, July 1881, December 1881, and July 1882, and Roll-call list, etc. for April 1882.

A set of nine pamphlets, comprising “the school’s file copies of its prospectuses” was exhibited at the Grolier Club, New York, from February to March 1929 (item 2 in the published catalogue). The exhibition also included a copy of the List after Examination for April 1878 (item 3 in the published catalogue), but not for July 1878. It is therefore tempting to assume that the present collection is a unique collection of Kiplingiana.

14 pieces, octavo, sextodecimo or broadside. Original printed mauve wrappers, front covers lettered in black. Housed in a red cloth chemise with a red morocco-backed slipcase. Wrappers slightly worn with minor loss to extremities, occasional foxing and minor ink stains, yearly groups of pamphlets sewn together in top left corners with gummed label to most groups; a very good and attractive set of these rare items.

Grolier Club, Catalogue of the Works of Rudyard Kipling , 1930.
(Item #4864)

Price: $11,000