Davis, Bertram R.

Bertram Rolland Davis was born in Bristol in 1897. Financial and familial situations prevented him from attending University, and after high school he began to work for the cable company established by his father, where he would stay for forty years. When not working he spent his free time as an amateur scholar with an interest in the Romantics and their links to Bristol. In particular, his interests tended towards former Poet Laureate Robert Southey and boy poet Thomas Chatterton. He corresponded with many of the leading Romantic scholars and critics of the twentieth century including Raymond D. Havens, E.H.W. Meyerstein, Maurice H. Fitzgerald, and Earl Leslie Griggs, and others. Davis also played an active role in preserving the history of Bristol and its famous residents.

To support his research, Davis purchased as many documents relating to the Romantics as he could afford. He amassed a collection of forty-five manuscript groups comprised of original documents by Southey, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and their contemporaries as well as an extensive library relating to his academic interests. His library is known as the Bertram R. Davis “Robert Southey” collection.

After Davis’ death, his personal library, manuscript groups, correspondence, and research files were acquired by the University of Waterloo.

(Bertram R. Davis / Kenneth Curry.)

(Catalogue of the Bertram R. Davis "Robert Southey" Collection / compiled by Jane Britton. -- Waterloo: University of Waterloo Library, 1990.)