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Waterfield, Robin E. (Robin Everard), 1914-2002

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1914-2002

Robin (Robert Everard) Waterfield (1914-2002), the son of a doctor in the Sudan medical service, was originally intended for a career in medicine.  After a failed attempt at a medical degree at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, Waterfield worked for a series of publishers and booksellers, including George Allen and Unwin, Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co. in Windsor, and Grafton's, opposite the British Museum.  During the Second World War, Waterfield was an anti-aircraft gunner, and later worked with Japanese diplomatic decrypts.  From 1951-1956 Waterfield and his second wife, Sophie Harper, ran a children's home at Mortimer, Berkshire.  In 1957 they became missionaries, and went to Iran to run a boys' hostel.  They did not return to England until 1973.  In 1974, he opened Robin Waterfield Ltd., an antiquarian bookshop, where he worked until being forced to retire in 1980.

Throughout his life, Waterfield was an active book dealer, publisher, and writer. 

He was a friend of the poet Tambimuttu, and served as associate editor for Tambimuttu's 1979 revival issue of Poetry London/Apple Magazine.  He was also a primary force behind 'Tambi's' memorial volume, Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds (1989), for which he wrote an introduction.  It was Waterfield that assessed the portion of Tambimuttu's estate that included his papers and printed materials after Tambi's death in 1983.

Waterfield was also close friends with the poet and writer Anne Ridler, wife of the Oxford printer Vivian Ridler, and T.S. Eliot's secretary at Faber & Faber.  It is probably through the Ridlers that Waterfield came into contact with Stanley Revell, who was widely believed to have amassed the best collection of T.S. Eliot first editions anywhere in the world.  Waterfield was the primary orchestrator of Revell's exhibition at St. Mary's, celebrating the centenary of Eliot's birth.  He also took charge of the disposition of Revell's book collection after his death, soon after the exhibit took place in 1988.
Citation
Author: Benn Joseph
Citation
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Robin Waterfield Papers

 Collection — Box: Boxes 1-2
Identifier: MS157
Abstract Robin (Robert Everard) Waterfield (1914-2002), worked for a series of publishers and booksellers early in his career, and in 1974 opened Robin Waterfield Ltd., an antiquarian bookshop.  Waterfield ran this bookshop until being forced to retire in 1980.  The Robin Waterfield Papers consist of correspondence, financial materials, drafts of poetry and other writings, illustrations, publicity materials, and photographs, and contains materials relating to Tambimuttu, Jane Williams, Stanley Revell,...