Archive and Special Collections

Carnegie Historical Collection

This is a collection of approximately 15 metres; comprised of historical books, journals and pamphlets covering the subjects of physical education, sport, recreation and health education most published before 1946. The majority are written in English but the collection contains material in French, German and Swedish.

A paper catalogue was compiled by Joan Newiss in 1969 amended and added to in 1971. The only other comparable collection I have found is the Grenfell Collection housed at the Institute of Education, University of London.

The core of the collection was the personal library of Ernest Major other books were added from Edwin Bouffler’s collection and some donated from past members of Carnegie College staff.

Ernest Major was the first Warden of Carnegie College of Physical Training, from 1933 to 1939 he left his collection of books to the College on his retirement. Major was born on 28 July 1898 in Blackburn, Lancashire. In 1901 his father, William Major, was a Gymnastic and Fencing Master at Thommasons Gymnasium in Bolton. Ernest Major studied at the influential Silkeborg College of Physical Training in Denmark between 1913-15. He became a a member of the Carnegie Advisory Body prior to his appointment as Warden. During the Second World War he served as Lieutenant in the 51st Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment promoted to Major towards the end of the war. From 1946 onwards he was HM Staff Inspector for Physical Education. Major was awarded an OBE in 1977 and he died in 1989. Edwin Bouffler succeeded Major after the war in 1946, the College had been closed during the hostilities, he retired in 1968.

The Carnegie Historical Collection itself appears to have been formed around 1968 when the City of Leeds College of Education and Carnegie College of Physical Education were merged and Mr Major’s core collection was combined with similar books from the College Library. During the early 1990’s when the Library at Beckett Park was being refurbished the books were transferred to Carnegie School where the collection was put in store. In 2004 Mike Rhyne, Senior Secretary, School of Sport, Exercise and Physical Education alerted me to the survival of the Collection and I transferred it to the Archives.

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