The Times/1924/Obituary/Charles Edward Sayle

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Mr. C. E. Sayle

Cambridge is mourning the loss of Mr. Charles Edward Sayle, additional under-librarian of the University library, who died at Cambridge yesterday morning. His death has followed quickly on that of Mr. H. T. Francis, the honorary under-librarian.

Born in 1864, and educated at Rugby, he matriculated in 1883 at New College, Oxford, where he took honours in moderations and Lit.Hum. After a short period in London he returned to his father's town of Cambridge and was for a time engaged on cataloguing work in the libraries of St. John's College and the Union Society. He was incorporated M.A. in 1891, and joined St. John's College. Two years later he entered the library and was appointed assistant librarian in 1910.

His life was devoted to the library and to bibliography, and he was a fine example of the type of man who likes to catalogue things in the right order. He edited the "Annals" of the library, and his chief works for it were a "Catalogue of Early English Printed Books," four vols., 1900-7; a "Catalogue of the Bradshaw Collection of Irish Books," three vols., 1916; and he was engaged on a revised catalogue of the MSS. at the time of his death. He also made a catalogue of early printed books in the McClean Bequest to the Fitzwilliam Museum; and edited the works of Sir Thomas Browne. He was a finished and accurate scholar, and no pains were too great for him to take in pursuit of his work. He was also one of the most helpful people among the very helpful staff of the library; he always seemed to have time to spare any inquirer, and his wide knowledge enabled him to find a quotation or verify a reference in the shortest possible time.

Sayle took a great delight in artistic subjects, especially music, and was an ardent supporter of the Cambridge University Musical Society and Musical Club. He wrote on music, and fostered the taste in others at small musical parties in his charming little house in Trumpington-street. He had a natural gift for winning the affection of young men, especially the more intellectual and artistic among them, and his Sunday evenings were a feature in the life of many a Cambridge student. Sayle was very fond of flowers—especially white flowers—and he sedulously cultivated his garden, hidden away behind his house in Trumpington-street. He once remarked to a friend that he should like to pass away during May Week, with the May Week throng of people around him. He almost had his wish. Never very robust, he had a certain delicacy of mind and constitution. But his heart was in Cambridge, and few members of the University had as great a knowledge of its intimate history, apart from the official, as he had.

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