Book collection of much respected professor set to go under hammer

The vast and varied book collection of an icon and trailblazer of women's education is set to go under the hammer.

There were some older books within the collection
There were some older books within the collection

The collection of books was owned by Professor Lalage Bown, who died in December last year aged 94 in Shrewsbury, and who was revered as someone dedicated to the global advancement of adult education, with a particular focus on women.

Many of the books carried dedications to Professor Bown

Her work in Africa spanned 30 years and saw her named "Mother of Adult Education in Africa" in celebration of her 70th birthday, one of many accolades bestowed over her long career which also saw her write, or contribute to, numerous books and articles on her specialism.

Professor Bown amassed a significant collection of books, and this part of her legacy is set to go under the hammer at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Rooms on Thursday, September 15.

Professor Lalage Bown died in December 2021 aged 94

The collection, which comprises an estimated 8,000 volumes, includes a large number of academic texts and papers, but also reflects Lalage’s voracious appetite for reading for pleasure.

Alongside subjects linked to her academic specialism, such as community education, lifelong learning and adult literacy are tomes of poetry, literature, politics and biographies of fascinating individuals who made great achievements in their lives.

Her collection also carried books from Africa, following her naming as the Mother of Adult Education in Africa

There are also books on history, travel and topography, including many linked to her adopted hometown of Shrewsbury and the surrounding area, where she spent her latter years.

Other lots include books of African and feminist interest, many with personal dedications to her, and a quantity of modern fiction including crime and award-winning novels.

Cuttlestones’ book expert, Rosie Blackburn, said: "Lalage was a fascinating character and her achievements in advancing adult education, both at home and abroad , meaning that she’s held in incredibly high esteem in academic circles.

"She was also a well-loved member of the community in Shrewsbury, so as well as academics working in her field, general bibliophiles and those with a keen interest in the Shrewsbury area, we anticipate strong local interest from those keen to acquire a memento of the life of a truly remarkable woman.”

Professor Bown had a large and varied book collection, including books on health

The book collection of Professor Lalage Bown will go under the hammer during Cuttlestones’ Specialist Collectors' Sale on the afternoon of Thursday, September 15 at Wolverhampton Auction Rooms.

Live online, commission and telephone bidding options are available and the catalogue will be online from Friday, September 9 at

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