Ronald Brunlees McKerrow, FBA (12 December 1872 – 20 January 1940) was one of the leading bibliographers and Shakespeare scholars of the 20th century.[1]


R. B. McKerrow was born in Putney, son of Alexander McKerrow, a civil engineer, and Mary Jane Brunlees, daughter of Sir James Brunlees, a president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[2] His paternal grandfather was William McKerrow, a noted cleric in the Presbyterian Church.[3] He died in Picket Piece (Wendover, Buckinghamshire) where he was buried.[2]

He was educated at Harrow, at King's College, London, and at Trinity College, Cambridge.[4] He then taught English for three years in Tokyo (1897–1900), where he learnt Japanese. Following his return to London, he became a director of the publishing house Sidgwick and Jackson (1908).[5] He was awarded a D.Litt. by the University of Cambridge in 1911. In 1912 he became joint Honorary Secretary of the Bibliographical Society (with A. W. Pollard). The Society became the focus for much of his intellectual activity.

During the First World War he taught in the English Department at King's College, London (until 1919). He founded the Review of English Studies in 1925 and remained its editor until his death. He also edited the Bibliographical Society's journal The Library from 1934 to 1937.[5]

McKerrow received an honorary doctorate from Louvain University in 1927 and was the Sandars Reader in Bibliography at Cambridge University in 1928. The following year he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Bibliographical Society. In 1932 he became a fellow of the British Academy.[5]

His papers are preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge.[6]


McKerrow's work had three main focuses:

Selected publications

See also


  1. ^ David McKitterick, 'Introduction', in: An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students (1927, reprint 1994)
  2. ^ a b W. W. Greg, 'McKerrow, Ronald Brunlees (1872–1940)', rev. John V. Richardson Jr., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 accessed 14 Sept 2009
  3. ^ Kent, Allen; Lancour, Harold; Daily, Jay E. (1976). Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science: Volume 17 - Malawi: Libraries in to Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency (METRO). CRC Press. p. 321. ISBN 978-0-82472-017-9.
  4. ^ "Mckerrow, Ronald Brunlees (MKRW894RB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ a b c G.B. Harrison, Review of English Studies, xvi, no. 63, July 1940, pp. 257–61.
  6. ^ Cambridge University Archives