D91 - Steel, Professor Robert , - 1938 - 1974
The Steel Papers include both personal and professional correspondence, administrative documents from his academic career and also the many associations to which he belonged, references for students and academic articles by himself and others.
|Archive level description:||Sub-sub fonds|
|Physical Description:||13 boxes of manuscript and printed matter.|
|Summary:||The Steel Papers include both personal and professional correspondence, administrative documents from his academic career and also the many associations to which he belonged, references for students and academic articles by himself and others.|
|Date:||1938 - 1974|
|Accruals:||There are no anticipated accruals|
|Access Conditions:||Access to some records is retricted.|
This collection has been arranged under the following four headings to reflect the four key areas of Steel's life:
Although most papers have been arranged chronologically, correspondence and student applications have been compiled in alphabetical order, according to the sender/recipient's name.
|Custodial History:||Previously in the custody of Professor R.W.Steel.|
|Finding Aids:||A finding aid is available in the reading room|
|Related Material:||See also D716/2/5 Recollections of Professor Steel, former staff member of the Faculty of Arts, dated 1996.See also Cambridge University Library Online|
|Access Restrictions:||Reproduction and licensing rules available on request.|
Professor Robert Walter Steel CBE (1915-97) began his academic career at Oxford University in 1938. As University Lecturer in Commonwealth Geography (1947-56), Lecturer in Geography, St Peter's Hall (1951-56) and Official Fellow and Tutor in Geography at Jesus College (1954-56), to which he had previously been affiliated as both an undergraduate and postgraduate.
Steel's main area of academic interest concentrated upon the political geography of Tropical Africa. Upon the death of Professor Wilfred Smith in 1956, he was offered and accepted the position of John Rankin Professor of Geography at the University of Liverpool. Fully integrating himself into university life, Steel quickly became an important figure and was instrumental in the establishment of the Faculty of Social and Environmental Studies. Indeed, until his departure from the University of Liverpool in 1974 to take up the position of Principal Designate at University College Swansea, he assumed much administrative responsibility and in addition to his role as Head of the Geography Department, he acted as Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1965-1968) and Pro-Vice Chancellor (1971-1973).
Keenly involved with many geographic associations, Steel played a central role within the Institute of British Geographers IBG; acting as Member of the Council (1947-60), Acting Secretary (1948), Assistant Secretary (1949-50), Honorary Editor of Publications (1950-60), Vice-President (1966-67), President (1968) and Honorary Member (1974). Furthermore, he occupied the position of President in several other societies, including Section 'E' of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1966), (1970-71), the Geographical Association (1973) and the Inter-Universities Council for Higher Education Overseas (1971-81).
Steel's commitment to all geographic concerns is similarly demonstrated by his work for various government bodies. As well as spending the inter-war years working with the Naval Intelligence Division in an attempt to produce a handbook for soldiers posted to the Tropics, he was also employed by the War Office, Colonial Office, Social Science Research Council and Merseyside Social and Economic Survey.
On a personal note, Steel was a committed family man. After their marriage in 1939, he and his wife, Eileen Page, raised three children; Alison, Elizabeth and David. Both shared a deep-rooted Christian faith and thus, were actively associated with many Christian organisations and Church groups, throughout their life.