Geoffrey Harlow was educated at Haileybury College, Bishop Cotton School, India and Magdalen College, Oxford (BA 1949, MA 1959). His first post was in the Department of English Language at Glasgow University. He moved to take up a post as lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature, Westfield College, London University in 1961 and was Senior Lecturer there 1969-86 and Honorary Research Fellow 1986-91. As well as his own publications (mainly on Old English, Thomas Nashe, and the history of the English language) he was assistant editor then editor of 'The Year's Work in English Studies' 1966-73. He was President of the Viking Society for Northern Research 1984-86.
These include records generated by Geoffrey Harlow in the course of his research.
Geoffrey Harlow came into possession of Bertha Surtees Phillpotts' papers while on the staff of Westfield College, London. In the 1970s he was approached by Christina Dowson, niece of BSP and daughter of Maud Dowson, for information in connection with a memoir of her aunt which she hoped to write. Later, she decided to hand over the project to Geoffrey Harlow, with all her papers. Over the years he received more material from various sources (he did not note the source of much of it but all was given 'unconditionally') but has not written the projected memoir. However, he used some of the material in a presidential address given to the Viking Society in the early 1980s which he built round BSP's early life. He contacted Girton as a possible repository for the material at the end of May 2003 because he was moving to a smaller house and had no room to store it. He also wished to save the collection from possible destruction when he died. He sent the papers by post and they were received 27 June 2003. They were packed in one parcel containing 4 bundles and a box file.
By Geoffrey Harlow's own admission, the papers 'were not orderly arranged or catalogued'. They have been arranged to correspond with GCPP Phillpotts 1. Some of the papers are duplicates but have not been discarded.