Alan Noel Latimer Munby

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Alan Noel Latimer ('Tim') Munby (1913–1974) was an English author, writer and librarian.

Born in Hampstead, Munby was educated at Clifton College and King's College, Cambridge. He is best known for his five-volume study of the eccentric nineteenth-century book collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, and for his slim volume of ghost stories, The Alabaster Hand, which includes three tales written in Oflag VII B, a German prisoner-of-war camp near Eichstadt, during World War Two. These stories - 'The Topley Place Sale', 'The Four Poster' and 'The White Sack' - featured in a prison-camp magazine, Touchstone, edited by Elliott Viney, which was produced on a printing press owned by the Bishop of Eichstadt, Michael Rackl.

Munby worked in the antiquarian book trade with Bernard Quaritch, Limited (1935–37) and Sotheby & Company (1937–39, 1945–47). He became Librarian at King's College, Cambridge in 1947 and Fellow in 1948; he was J.P.R. Lyell Reader in Bibliography, University of Oxford (1962–63) and Sandars Reader in Bibliography, University of Cambridge (1969–70).[1] He was elected President of the Bibliographical Society in 1974 and died during his term of office.[2]

Munby's first marriage was to Joan Margaret Edelsten; his second marriage was to Sheila Rachel Crowther-Smith.[3]


Boucher and McComas praised the stories in The Alabaster Hand as "quietly terrifying modernizations of the M.R. James tradition.".[4]


  • (ed.) Letters to Leigh Hunt from his son Vincent (Cloanthus Press, 1934)
  • (with Desmond Flower) English Poetical Autographs (Cassell, 1938)
  • "Some Caricatures Of Book-Collectors - An Essay" (printed for private circulation by William H. Robinson Ltd, Christmas 1948)
  • The Alabaster Hand and other Ghost Stories (Dobson, 1949)
  • Phillips Studies, 5 vols. (Cambridge University Press, 1951–1960)
  • The Cult of the Autograph Letter in England (London: Athlone Press, 1962)
  • Connoisseurs and Medieval Miniatures 1750-1850 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972)
  • Essays and Papers (ed. Nicolas Barker) (Scolar Press, 1977) ISBN 0-85967-349-9

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 August 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ The Author's and Writer's Who's Who (4th ed, 1960)
  4. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, April 1951, p.113

External links[edit]