Clare College Cambridge

December 2011 - Christmas Greetings

For this month's Clare Through Time feature comes a selection of items from the personal paper collections of the Rogers brothers who were at Clare between 1873 and 1879. William Showell Rogers came up to Clare in 1873 to study Classics and after receiving a BA in 1877 he went on to study for an LLM and then an LLD before moving back to Birmingham to become a solicitor. William also undertook various amounts of philanthropic work in literary studies and with the NSPCC. His brother, Ernest Charles Rogers, came up to Clare in 1876 and although we don't know what he studied he did receive his BA in 1880 before going on to study for an LLM. Like his brother he also went in to Law and became a solicitor in Birmingham.

These festive themed documents come from the two diaries that were kept by Ernest and a book of published poems by William. The entries in Ernest's diaries not only capture the essence of what many people imagine a 'Victorian Christmas' to be but also the deflated sense of optimism that many people still feel once Christmas day has passed. For a transcription of Ernest's diary entries please click here and scroll down for images of William's published book of 'Christmas Greetings'. 

William's works of Christmas greetings were published posthumously in 1902 by his friend J. Cuming Walters after William died suddenly in 1899. In the preface to the book, Walters mentioned that William would often write a poem and send that to friends and family at Christmas time, with the volume of 'Christmas Greetings' being a collection of those poems. Included in the volume are poems entitled 'Ballad of the good tyme past', 'a trio of Christmas sonnets' and 'a Christmas Trouvaille'.