The papers consist 6 items probably relating to the period 1827-1834. There are prints of Lamb himself and of Christ's Hospital, a wash drawing of Lamb's house at Islington, a letter from Lamb to Thomas Pringle, page-proofs of Pringle's African sketches, London, Moxon, 1834 and a note in Lamb's handwriting attached to the proofs. The papers are of South African interest because of the Pringle proofs which contain manuscript revisions and comments by Lamb, Thomas Pringle (1789-1834) was a Scottish poet, 1820 settler to South Africa, librarian at Cape Town and co-founder with John Fairbairn of the South African Commercial Advertiser, who incurred the displeasure the governor Lord Charles Somerst because of his political writings and had to return to England in 1826. From then until his death he was secretary of the Anti-slavery Society and concentrated on his literary pursuits. Pringle is important as being the first poet to write in English on South African subjects.
In 1828 Pringle published Ephemerides: occasional poems written in Scotland and South Africa, Smith, Elder & Co. London.?.
Out of the 6 poems in the page proofs, 4 had been published in this volume. It appears that even after publication Pringle was willing to polish up and revise his poems. Not only did he submit them to Lamb for criticism but also to S.T. Coleridge. In the Quarterly Bulletin of the South African Library - Vol. 23 No. 3, March 1969; p. 68, -? Dr Lewin Robinson describes the Pringle page proofs, with manuscript revisions and corrections by Coleridge, which had been acquired by the South African Library at a Sotheby's auction in 1968.
The Lamb papers were bought in May 1972 by the Library from Francis Edwards, the London dealer. According to Dr Lewin Robinson the Lamb papers cane up for auction at Sotheby's in 1968 at the same time as the Coleridge papers. The provenance prior to this is lost, other than that Pringle's widow gave the proof sheets to Adam White (1817-1874), the British naturalist, according to notes by White in the papers.