Browning, Oscar, 1837-1923

Alternative names
Birth 1837-01-17
Death 1923-10-06

Biographical notes:

Oscar Browning (1837-1923), historian, was born in London on 17 January 1837. He attended Eton from 1850, and entered King's College, Cambridge, in 1856, where he became a fellow in 1859. He was assistant master at Eton, 1860-1875, before returning to King's, where he was appointed a lecturer in history in 1880. He became a university lecturer in 1883, and was principal of the Cambridge University day training college for teachers, which he was chiefly responsible for founding, 1891-1909. He left Cambridge in 1908, and settled in Rome, where he died on 6 October 1923.

From the guide to the Oscar Browning: Life of George Eliot, 1889, (Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)

Oscar Browning was an author, Fellow King's College Cambridge, University Lecturer and Principal of Cambridge University, and candidate for Parliament.

From the description of Queen Caroline of Naples [author's corrected proofsheets], 1887. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122585074

Epithet: of Add MS 36041

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000987.0x0002c6

Epithet: Subject of Mss Eur F111-112

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001394.0x0002cf

Oscar Browning was born in January 1837, the son of a London merchant. He was sent to Eton College at the age of fourteen, and matriculated in 1856 as a scholar at King's College, Cambridge. In 1860 he returned to Eton as an assistant master, where he remained until a series of disputes with the headmaster over curricula, fees and his relationship with a pupil, George Curzon, led to his dismissal in the autumn of 1875. He then went back to King's and the fellowship there to which he had been elected in 1859. He lived as a fellow in King's for more than thirty years, tutoring, lecturing and writing, and gaining great popularity among undergraduates (to whom he was known as 'the OB') for his generosity and eccentricities. He organised the Cambridge University Day Training College, and was for many years treasurer of the Union Society. A clubbable man, he was actively associated with bodies as diverse as the Athenaeum, the Society for Psychical Research, and the University Swimming Club. Politically a keen though idiosyncratic radical, he three times stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal Parliamentary candidate. In 1909 he retired to a rented house at Bexhill-on-Sea. He was visiting Italy when war broke out in 1914, remained there, and eventually decided to settle permanently. He died in Rome in 1923 at the age of eighty-six.

From the guide to the The Papers of Oscar Browning, 1853-1983, (King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge)


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