Nine volumes of newspaper cuttings, collected by Cuming Walters in his capacity as editor of the Manchester City News, containing all his editorials and articles relating to the Great War, including the whole of his pseudonymous 'Journal of the War'.

John Cuming Walters (1863-1933), Editor of the Manchester City News from 1906 to 1932 [The Great War; World War I]
Publication details: 
Complete from 8 August 1914 to 25 October 1919
SKU: 7885

This archive records the day-by-day response to the Great War of a cultured and intelligent English newspaper editor operating outside the Fleet Street hegemony. It charts his change of opinion from initial optimism (8 August 1914: 'The instinct is to strike - it is nature's own law. [...] We can trust our Ministers and advisers [...] The omens of victory are already in sight.') to final disillusionment (16 November 1918: 'The sheer folly of it all is only exceeded by the sheer horror'), and covers most aspects of the conflict from wartime strikes to government censorship, Zeppelin raids to the trial of Roger Casement. A notable man by any measure, Walters is a puzzling omission from the Oxford DNB. For many years a central figure in the literary life of the north-west of England, he edited the Manchester City News for twenty-five years. Shortly before his death (and as reported in The Times, 28 April 1932) he boasted of having written 'between 15,000 and 20,000 leading articles, nearly 20,000 reviews of books, 8,000 dramatic notices, and 15,000 special articles'. His journalistic achievements including a year-long successful 'anti-slum campaign'. An authority on Tennyson, Dickens and Shakespeare, Walters was the author of 'about 20 books and [...] 250 lectures', and an 'actual or corresponding member of close upon fifty' literary societies. In 1927 the Lord Mayor of Manchester and four hundred citizens 'gave him a public dinner at the Midland Hotel to celebrate the twenty-first anniversary of his editorship'. The hundreds of newspaper cuttings are each clear and entire on browned high-acidity paper, each laid down in one of nine 32.5 x 20 cm diaries (three 'Monarch'; three 'Boots Scribbling'; two 'A. Foote's' and one 'Collins Scribbling'), each diary being interleaved with blotting paper. The diaries are worn and dusty, with the first three with loose boards and chipping spines. The succeeding six diaries, all with cloth spines, are in better condition. Four volumes carry Walters' ownership signature on the front board, and one is initialed by him. Most are marked 'Leaders' (in one case 'Leaders, Articles'). The cuttings are laid down on the rectos, with occasional diary entries in Walters' hand on some of the versos. The first article in the first volume, headed 'The City News. | Manchester, August 8, 1914.' is entitled 'The Enemy at the Gate. A Week's momentous History.' The second piece in this volume is the first in a series that stretched to the armistice, the authorship of which was avowed by Walters in an interview given to the Jamaican 'Daily Gleaner', 20 February 1932: 'Journal of the War. A Daily Record of Events and Impressions. Pages from the Diary of "A Manchester Man." ' While the vast majority of the articles relates to the war this is by no means exclusively the case: for example, the last article (25 October 1919) relates to the purchase of offices by the overseers of Manchester.