In Memory

William A Jackson - Class Of 1922

William A Jackson

William Alexander Jackson was born in Rockingham, Vermont, on July 25, 1905. He was the son of Charles and Alice (Fleming) Jackson. He died in Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 1964.

He was graduated from the South Pasadena High School and then attended Williams College where he acquired his love of books. He received his AB degree from there in 1927 and an honorary MA in 1938. He received an MA from Harvard in 1943 and honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1963 and an honorary D.Litt. from Oxford in 1964.

He was fond of good food, good wine, and good conversation and his high principles and winning personality won the love of a host of friends both here and abroad. He gave generously of himself to his friends and never appeared hurried when with them but in doing so, he frequently had to work well into the night.

His bibliographical career started with his catalogue of the Chapin Library, followed by his eight years with the Carl H Pforzheimer Library from 1930 to 1938. His catalogue of this great library has been considered "a model and a monument of bibliographical scholarship."

As professor of Bibliography his contagious love of books introduced generations of Harvard men to the joys of book collecting. From its beginning in 1942 he was the Librarian of the Houghton Library at Harvard and during that time its collections more than trebled so that it has become internationally renowned and one of the truly great rare book and manuscript collections of the world. For nearly 40 years William Jackson has been compiling information for a new edition of the A Short-Title Catalogue of Books printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland. His knowledge and memory of these books was phenomenal. He would never pass a shelf or case of books without pausing for a cursory glance at them and frequently in this way would be able to spot a volume to be added to the Short Title catalogue.

Beside his great knowledge of books, he was interested in early American houses and furniture and his comments about them were always pertinent and interesting. He was honorary secretary of the Bibliographical Society (London); president of the Bibliographical Society of America (1946-1948); a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of Antiquaries (London); a member of the Roxburghe Club (Great Britain) and the Grolier Club (New York). At the time of his death he was secretary of the Walpole Society and president of the Club of Odd Volumes (Boston); a member of the Athenaeum (London), the Century (New York) and the Tavern Club (Boston).

He is survived by his wife, the former Dorothy Judd of Honolulu, and a son, the Reverend Jared Judd Jackson.