The son of a Pork Butcher, Claude Colleer Abbott began his career as School Master at a Grammar School in Streatham. A few years later, he taught English at a Secondary School in Middlesbrough. Around 1930 he had become a Lecturer in English at the University of Aberdeen, before becoming Professor of English at Durham University (1932-1954).
In the winter of 1930/31, Abbott was going through papers found at Fettercairn House, near Aberdeen, in search of material about Scottish philosopher James Beattie (1735-1803). Whether he discovered anything about Beattie is unclear, but among the papers he discovered was probably the single most significant Boswellian discovery ever, at least to the general public: James Boswell's journal of his 1762-63 stay in London, long thought to have been destroyed.
Abbott later collaborated with Frederick Pottle in the task of cataloguing the papers which eventually ended up in the possession of Yale University, but, as can be seen from his other publications, Boswell wasn't his only interest.
In 1932 was published Abbott's Early Medieval French Lyrics. In 1935 (reprinted in 1955) came his three-volume edition of the correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and a few years before his death, in 1967, came The Life and Letters of George Darley, Poet and Critic. In 1963 was published his own Collected Poems of Claude Colleer Abbott. Most of his writings, including pamphlets, articles and lectures about Boswell, are often available via AbeBooks.