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554. Adelphi: Frank Sidgwick of Sidgwick & Jackson.

554. Adelphi: Frank Sidgwick of Sidgwick & Jackson.

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Frank Sidgwick of Sidgwick & Jackson, Adelphi
Frank Sidgwick of Sidgwick & Jackson, Adelphi

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Published by: John Adam St Gang: Crown Control on Jul 29, 2012
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07/29/2012

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MR
.
FRANK
 
SIDGWICK
 
PUBLISHER
 
AND
 
WRITER
 
OF
 
VERSE
 
Mr. Frank Sidgwick, a publisher with a pleasant gift of light verse, died at his home atDallywaters, Keston, Kent, on Sunday, after a brief illness.His father, Arthur Sidgwick (brother of Henry, the philosopher, who married the sister of Arthur Balfour), was a Cambridge man who migrated to Oxford, where for several years he wasreader in Greek to the university. Frank, the eldest son, who was born on July 7, 1879, wasbrought up at Oxford in a household which tempered the academic routine with a lively senseof fun and a sturdy devotion to losing causes. From the Dragon School at Oxford he went, likehis father and uncle, to Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge. Students of undergraduate journalism in the late nineties soon learned to look out for contributions signed
SigmaMinor
in the
Granta
. They were varied in scope. Along with plenty of playful verse of astandard much above the average, there were the inevitable parodies of Kipling and otherfavourites, gaily fanciful paradigms of Greek irregular verbs, and, on the occasion of the Greek play in 1900, an essay in dramatic criticism in the style of Artemus Ward. The play was the
 Agamemnon
, and Sidgwick himself was the dignified leader of the chorus in a performancemade memorable by the queenly Clytemnestra of F. H. Lucas, the moving Cassandra of Mr. J.F. Crace, of Eton, and the ambitious Watchman of a future Secretary of State for India, E. S.Montagu.
Sidgwick’
s father and uncle had been famous classics at Trinity; other kinsmen, includingArchbishop Benson and his sons, had reached high academic honours. Frank had modestly toconfess that he was the sole member of his family to fail to achieve a first-class in the Tripos,though he had no difficulty winning the Chancellor
s Medal for English Verse in 1900. Onleaving Cambridge he served a five years
apprenticeship to publishing as junior partner to A.H. Bullen, the Elizabethan scholar who contributed many fine articles to the
Dictionary of National Biography.
In 1904 the firm embarked on a special edition of Shakespeare to beprinted in Stratford-on-Avon at the
Shakespeare Head Press.
If the undertaking brought notangible profit, it took the junior partner for considerable periods into the Warwickshirecountryside, to which he was devoted, and gave him leisure to produce a judicious text of themorality play
 Everyman
, and a sound critical study of George Wither, the seventeenth-centurypoet best known by his lyric beginning
Shall I wasting in despair.
 In 1907, when his time with Bullen was up, he set up the existing firm of Sidgwick andJackson. Solidly grounded in the printing and other technical knowledge which a publisherrequires, he was content with a standard discerningly competent rather than commerciallycompetitive. Among other well known books the firm produced the poems of Rupert Brookeand the early narrative verse and plays of Mr. Masefield. Its restricted range of fiction includedthe novels of Miss Ethel Sidgwick, the publisher
s sister, which won their own public,
Who was Frank Sidgwick?
Thanks to Catherine Cooke, curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collection at London
sMarylebone Library, and
“‘
The Book of Life,
BSI, we are able to provide thefollowing obituary from
The Times
of London, August 15, 1939.
 No doubt there is much more the obituary did not provide. One suggestive item is
the Double Crown Club: a dining club of printers, publishers, book designers andillustrators in London co-founded in 1924 by, among others, Frank Sidgwick and S.C. Roberts. Another early member at the time was Stanley Morison, the printer withwhom a chance meeting in New York in 1926 revived Christopher Morley
s fervor
for the Sherlock Holmes stories.
 More about the Double Crown Club connection.
 
Today the firm of Sidgwick and Jackson survives as part of Pan Macmillan, with
its imprint known for
Commercial and popular non-fiction with a strong personalityspecializing in high-profile biography and the history of popular culture. Featuresinclude the acclaimed Sidgwick Military list, supported by an association with theImperial War Museum and National Army Museum.
 
http://www.bsiarchivalhistory.org/BSI_Archival_History/Sidgwick_obit.htmlPage 1 / 4
 
 
particularly in the United States. Another member of the family, his younger brother Hugh,showed by his
Walking Essays,
and by an amusing analysis of the joys to be derived from aseason ticket to London concerts, a brilliant promise cut off by untimely death.
Frank Sidgwick himself wrote two novels,
 Love and Battles
in 1909, a high-spirited story of healthy young people linked by somewhat complicated genealogical ties, and, a few years later,
Treasure of Thule
, a romance of Orkney. The name of 
B. D. Steward
appeared on the title-page of the latter. That pseudonym paid tribute to many happy odysseys in the Blue Dragonwhen the author (and in the later years his wife also) had been part of the small crew of thatcheerfully adventurous skipper, his old headmaster, Lynam, of the Dragon School. In morestudious vein he had also compiled selections of carols, and of early ballads and lyrics, onevolume of which,
 Early English Lyrics
, was made in collaboration with Sir Edmund K.Chambers. He had kept up, too, the lighter verse-making of his Cambridge days. A devotee of Savoy musical comedy, he wrote a libretto about a family called Smith which was sufficientlyGilbertian to have deserved a Sullivan.
Some Verse
and
 More Verse
were happy collections of the best of his fugitive pieces, and his friends were often cheered at Christmastide by a poem,perhaps hand-printed, in the style of the old ballads, his lifelong love of which bore fruit in anexcellent edition in four volumes. His last book was a wholly admirable primer,
The Makingof Verse
, the result of an almost accidental collaboration with Mr. Robert Swann, Englishmaster at Cheltenham College. It explained in simple and attractive language with exhilaratingillustrations the mysteries of anapest and spondee, the rules of rhyme and scansion, thestructure of a sonnet and much else which the nascent poet ought to know. A final chapter bySidgwick in
vers libre
, described by
The Times
as bracing advice to over-sanguine amateurversifiers, contained the candid reminder that
Much more poetry is written than ever gets intoprint, Even in the local paper, Because the supply is greater than the demand.
 A man of wide literary learning, a discriminating but encouraging critic of others, Frank Sidgwick is one whom his old friends at Oxford, Rugby, Cambridge, and elsewhere, howeverrarely they encountered him, found ready to begin again where the acquaintance last left off.Happy in his home life at first at Great Missenden and afterwards at Keston in Kent, he kepthimself young while watching with a tolerant eye the efforts of the next generation, whether inscholarship at Cambridge or in literary adventure. Shaken a little by a sharp attack of influenzalast winter, but otherwise apparently in good health, he went on holiday lately in the UpperThames in unpropitious weather. He came home last week with a high temperature and, in spiteof the most devoted attention, died after a few days
illness.
In 1911 he married Mary Christina, daughter of the late Mr. Albert Crease Coxhead. She,
with two sons and four daughters, survives him.
Go to Sidgwick 
’ 
s groundbreaking 1902 essay .Return to the Disputations department .
 
Go back to the Welcome page .
http://www.bsiarchivalhistory.org/BSI_Archival_History/Sidgwick_obit.htmlPage 2 / 4
 
http://www.bsiarchivalhistory.org/BSI_Archival_History/Sidgwick_obit.htmlPage 3 / 4

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