Introducing the HYMAN ShaPIRO Archive

Our archive volunteer Darren, a student at the Centre for Archives and Information Studies at the University of Dundee, introduces a new collection he has catalogued.

University of Stirling Archives

In August 2017, the family of the late Hyman Shapiro gifted the University Archives three large plastic storage boxes containing dozens of typed and handwritten manuscripts, research notes and published books. Hyman Shapiro M.A (1910-1979) was a secondary school teacher of History and English in the Glasgow locality, including Woodside Secondary School, before being appointed head of department at Glasgow College. Away from his teaching and writing career, Hyman ran for candidature for the Glasgow Municipal Election of 1930 for the Dennistoun Ward and it may be argued that much of his writing had political connotations in support of the Labour Party such as Background to revolt: a short study in the social and economic conditions that led to the ‘Radical revolt’ on Clydeside in 1820 and of the part played in that rising by James (Perley) Wilson and the Strathaven weavers (published in 1945) and Keir Hardie and the Labour Party and John Wilkes and Parliament (published in 1971).

It would be safe to say Shapiro had an appetite for writing and was a highly regarded historian (his work being primarily focused on secondary school History textbooks for the Then and There Series). After five books published between 1945 and 1972, the biggest of (and probably most ambitious) of his writing projects would be The History of the British People (which was sadly never completed or published before his death in 1979). From the correspondence found in the collection between Shapiro and potential publishers, it appears he began working on this project in 1953. So we can imagine this would have been quite a book if it had been fully completed and published and would certainly have been a useful go to source for your history exams!

The collection contains 33 typed manuscript chapters from the unpublished textbook along with Question and Exercises and would have been divided between two volumes, covering all bases of the historical journey of the British people from Britain’s fist inhabitants fast forwarding through the Roman Conquest, Medieval Scotland and England, the Renaissance, Britain becoming a Commonwealth, the Jacobite Rebellions ending in the Eighteenth Century, where sadly the historical journey is cut short!

It would also seem Shapiro was a great supporter of the Labour Party, as amongst the Political material within the archive a candidature Labour Party leaflet was discovered dated from 1930 regarding Hyman Shapiro’s political campaign for the Dennistoun Ward of Glasgow Municipal Election, as well as a Mid Lanark Election leaflet from 1910 for Smillie.

The collection complements other collections in the University Archives such as The Mitchell Penguin Books Collection, Charles Dickens, Scottish Political Archive and the Amurlee Jacobite Collection. Furthermore, it may be regarded as a useful source for staff and students teaching and studying particular disciplines such as Publishing Studies, Politics and History.

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