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Dr David France took over 25 years to assemble the collection from his home in the United States and includes rare programmes, season tickets, match tickets, medals, photographs, player contracts, cash books, handbooks, financial statements and other ephemera dating back to the 1880s, as well as the official club ledgers detailing the minutes of all board meetings between 1886 and 1964.
For health reasons, Dr France decided finally to part with his collection in 2002. Despite receiving numerous offers from private investors, his dream was to make the collection available to what he called The Everton Family, and sought to transfer his world-class archives to an independent Charitable Trust, at a heavily discounted price.
In September 2007, the Everton Charitable Trust announced that it had secured a grant from the UK Heritage Lottery Fund to obtain the collection, and it was finally transferred from Dr France to the Trust on 31 December 2007. Following this transfer, it was also announced that Everton F.C. would donate their own collection of memorabilia, and that, collectively, it would be known as The Everton Collection.
Often referred to as The Everton Scriptures, and sometimes as The DNA of Everton, the official club ledgers chronicle the minutes of the weekly scheduled and emergency meetings of the early Management Committee, and latterly the Board of Directors, and provide details of the decisions of the Directors at over 5,000 meetings recorded in over 10,000 handwritten pages.
The collection boasts an unbroken sequence of 29 volumes from 1886 through to 1964. Prepared and signed by famous club chairmen, including John Houlding, George Mahon, Will Cuff and Sir John Moores, the ledgers provide the most complete documentation of the development of a professional football club.
Also, because Everton were one of the last professional clubs to appoint a manager, the Directors were responsible for all scouting appraisals, transfer negotiations and team selections during the first six decades, as well as documenting details of players’ wages, bonuses and benefits. The ledgers provide these details on a number of stars from the club’s history, including Nick Ross, Jack Southworth, Bert Freeman, Dixie Dean, Warney Cresswell, Cliff Britton, Joe Mercer, Tommy Lawton and Alex Young.
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