A lot of Freemantle’s materials were sold to Lord Brotherton and placed in the care and curation of John Alexander Symington (1887–1961), who was appointed Lord Brotherton’s personal librarian in 1923. He organized, collected for, and oversaw the private library of Lord Brotherton. Symington then became the Keeper of the Collection at the University Library, where all of Lord Brotherton’s materials were donated. While at the Library he continued to curate the vast collection, until 1938 when he was dismissed after a corruption scandal.
The suspicions of the Library would turn out to be correct. Newly discovered information from the Library of Congress show that Symington syphoned a large amount of Mendelssohn material from Lord Brotherton and sold it to the Library of Congress for his own personal profit. Letters between Symington and the head of the Library of Congress Music Division, Harold Spivake, prove that Symington sold a large amount of Mendelssonia to the Library.
A lot of interesting material on Mendelssohn now resides in the Library of Congress as a result of Symington’s corruption. There is a large collection of letters and papers sent between Freemantle and various members of the Mendelssohn family, which give a greater understanding of how the collection was formed. The only copy of Freemantle’s unpublished Mendelssohn Biography also resides in the Library of Congress.
The Brotherton Library contains a large amount of Mendelssohn material, but if it wasn’t for the dealings of Symington the Brotherton Library would have been one of the premier resources in world for Mendelssonia. But thankfully, the rest of Freemantle’s materials have been left un-touched and now forms a significant and important part of the Special Collections.