Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lewis, Samuel Savage

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LEWIS, SAMUEL SAVAGE (1836–1891), librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, was born at Spital Square, London, on 13 July 1836. His father, William Jones Lewis, youngest son of George Lewis (1763–1822) [q. v.], was a surgeon, and his mother, Elizabeth Bunnell, descended from Philip Henry. He entered the City of London school in 1844, won the Carpenter scholarship in 1847, and matriculated from St. John's College, Cambridge, on 10 Oct. 1854. His eyesight failing, he studied farming, and from 1857 to 1860 lived in Canada. He then tried teaching in London, and in 1861 obtained a situation on the prince consort's model farm near Windsor. His eyesight improved after operations in 1864, and he returned to Cambridge, migrating to Corpus Christi College at Easter 1865, and graduating B.A., with a first class in classics, in 1869, and M.A. in 1872. On 14 May 1869 he was elected fellow of Corpus Christi, on 22 March 1872 he became F.S.A., and in the same year was ordained. He was librarian of his college (1870–91), travelled widely, and was good-natured and hospitable. He was a diligent antiquary, and collected coins, gems, and seals with great assiduity and success, obtaining them from all parts of Europe, and forming a valuable museum in his college rooms. Lewis died suddenly in the train near Oxford on 31 March 1891. He married, on 12 Dec. 1887, Agnes Smith, a writer of novels and of works on modern Greece. Among Lewis's antiquarian papers, a list of which is given in his life by his widow, may be mentioned: 1. ‘On a Roman Lanx found at Welney in Norfolk,’ Cambridge, 1870. 2. ‘Report on the Age of the Utrecht Psalter,’ 1874. 3. ‘The Library of Corpus Christi College,’ 1891. He left by will to his college his collection of coins, gems, vases, and archæological books (now known as the Lewis collection), and the reversion of his personal estate. The gems were catalogued by Professor Middleton in 1892.

[Life by Agnes Smith Lewis, 1892; information kindly furnished by C. W. Moule, esq.]

W. A. J. A.