MS 4871 comprises notes, drafts, and proofs for the Bibliography of the English language, correspondence regarding the Bibliography and examination papers from the University of Leeds (33 boxes, 1 fol. box).
Bibliographer, publisher, librarian and academic. Robin Carfrae Alston was born in Trinidad in 1933 and educated at Rugby School, England, and the universities of British Columbia, Oxford and Toronto. In 1964, he completed Ph.D. studies in historical linguistics at Kings College London. He was a lecturer in English literature at Leeds University from 1964-1976. Commencing in 1965, Alston compiled A bibliography of the English language from the invention of printing to the year 1800, an undertaking almost complete in 20 volumes by the time of his death.
In 1966, he founded Scolar Press to publish, and make available to students, inexpensive facsimiles of pre-1801 literary and historical texts. In 1977, in collaboration with the British Library, he initiated the Anglo-American Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (later known as the English Short Title Catalogue or ESTC), as a union catalogue of books and other material printed in English-speaking countries between 1701-1800. In 1990, he was appointed Professor of Library Studies at the University of London, where, in 1995, he set up the first Master of Arts in the history of the book. He became emeritus professor in 1998. Alston died in June 2011.