SAMPSON, John. Schull, County Cork 25.2.1862 — West Kirkby, Cheshire 9.11.1931. British (Irish) Gipsy Scholar. Son of James S., a chemist and mining engineer from Cornwall, and Sarah Anne MacDermott. The family moved to Liverpool, when he was nine.He was mainly self-taught as he early lost his father (1872 or when 14) and had to leave school. Seven years apprenticed to a lithographer and engraver in Liverpool, then opened a small printing business, but continuously also studied(i.al. Sanskrit). From 1892 Librarian of Liverpool University College (then University), thanks to support of the Celtologist Kuno Meyer, retired in 1928. Married 1894 Jessie Margaret Sprunt (separated 1920), two sons, one daughter.
In 1901 Sampson began gipsy studies prompted by Augustus John and soon became the leading authority in the U.K.Hon. M.A. 1907 Liverpool, D.Litt. 1909 Oxford and 1930 Liverpool.
Publications: The Dialect of the Gypsies of Wales. Being the Older Form of British Romani preserved in the Speech of the Clan of Abram Wood. 23+230+419 p. Oxford 1926 (grammar & dict.).
– Edited William Blake’s Poetical Works. 1905; Romani translation of Fitzgerald’s versions of the quatrains of Omar Khayyam, 1902.
– Articles in JGLS.
Sources: J. March, D.I.B. 8, 756f.; *A. Sampson (his grandson), The Scholar Gypsy: The Quest For A Family Secret. 1997; http://www.sampsongenealogy.com/getperson.php?personID=I85184&tree=ONS; Wikipedia with photo.
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