Obituary: W. O. Hassall

Pat Story
Sunday 07 August 1994 23:02 BST

I MET W. O. Hassall when I took a group of education students to hear him talk about the Bodleian's collection of filmstrips and slides, writes Pat Story (further to the obituary by David Vaisey, 28 July).

As we stood around him he announced that he would talk until there was no one left in the room. Eventually I was the only survivor, following an amusing, eccentric and learned discourse. When I asked if there were any filmstrips of classical manuscripts he said, 'No - would you like to do one?' I thus became one of 'Hassall's vassals'. I had no specialised knowledge of palaeography, but read some textbooks and was given unsupervised access to the Bodleian's priceless manuscripts.

Dr Hassall's enthusiasm for making the manuscripts available to the general public (the filmstrip of medieval rabbits apparently had great appeal in primary schools) was rare at a time when scholars led more insulated and less entrepreneurial lives.

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