Monday, May 2, 2016

A Brass-Bound, Valve-In-Head
Research Project:
The Story of the Publication
of the Percy Letters:

... Fortunately, our present field of survey is only a narrow sliver in the suggested panorama, being confined to the English literary world mainly of the third quarter of the eighteenth century—to that " 'batable Land" known variously as "post-Augustan," "pre-Romantic," or whatever the particular ax may be sharpening toward: the "Age of Johnson," the Antiquarian Decades, the Heyday of Amateur Scholarship and of the pre-episcopal Percy.
                                         Bertrand H. Bronson
                                         A Sense of the Past:  the Percy Correspondence
                                         From:  Facets of the Enlightenment, 1968

The story of the publication of the Percy Letters is much too long to be told in a blog post.  But I'll give you the short version, concentrating primarily on the publication of the first volume.   I will tell you, however, that Samuel Johnson is mentioned in 167 topics of conversation in the nine volumes, including 35 times in the first volume alone.

Although the Percy Letters themselves were written over 200 years ago, the first volume of the series, The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & Edmond Malone, wasn't published until 1944.  And the last volume, The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & Robert Anderson, wasn't published until 1988.

I have the late Gabriel Austin to thank for receiving most of the volumes of my set of The Percy Letters.  After Mary Hyde Eccles passed away in August 2003, her Samuel Johnson collection went to Harvard, her Oscar Wilde collection went to the British Library, and her Shakespeare Collection went to Christie's, the auction proceeds of which benefited other libraries and Hyde charities.  Most of "the leftovers" from the Four Oaks Library went to her friend and librarian, Gabriel Austin.  Now Gabriel wasn't a book collector, so he sold some of the books, and gave others to some of his friends.  Included in the books he gave me was an incomplete set of The Percy Letters, lacking only the volumes of Thomas Percy's correspondence with John Pinkerton and William Shenstone.

I acquired a copy of the Pinkerton volume about five years ago, and just last month,  I purchased a copy of the Shenstone volume from a member of the PBFA in England—and at a very reasonable price!  I mentioned before that there are nine volumes in the series of The Percy Letters.  My set, however, contains ten volumes because the first volume was reprinted in 1960 (more on the reprint later).

I have the general editors, Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994) and David Nichol Smith (1875-1962), to thank for the publication of The Percy Letters.  And although the first volume was published in 1944,  both the Cleanth Brooks Papers at Yale University Library and the  Collection of the Correspondence of David Nichol Smith at the Bodleian Library reveal that Brooks and Smith began corresponding  specifically about the Percy Letters in 1932.  Brooks, a Rhodes Scholar, took a Litt B course at Oxford in 1932, and David Nichol Smith, the Merton Professor of English Literature, taught the course.    Later that same year, Brooks accepted a teaching position at Louisiana State University, whose Press would be the publisher of the first five volumes of The Percy Letters.

But Cleanth (pronounced cl-ean-th) Brooks and D. Nichol Smith had their "day jobs" and other literary activities to attend to, and their plans to publish the Percy Letters were delayed.  Nevertheless, with letters going back and forth across the ocean, they determined the location of most of the Percy Letters, and they selected the first few editors for the series.

In 1935, David Nichol Smith began corresponding with the individual editors.  Included in the Smith collection at the Bodleian are Smith's letters to Arthur Tillotson (1908-2000), Superintendent of the Reading Room, Cambridge University Library,  and the individual  selected to be the editor of the first volume of the series, The Correspondence of  Thomas Percy & Edmond Malone. 

Cleanth Brooks began corresponding with Arthur Tillotson in 1939.  But when Hitler invaded Poland in September, Great Britain declared war on Germany.  And Brooks soon learned that Arthur Tillotson was rather busy in the RAF.

Arthur Tillotson worked at Bletchley Park, Home of the Codebreakers

Kathryn James, Curator for Early Modern Books and Manuscripts & the Osborn Collection  at the Beneicke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, provides vital bits of information in the timeline of events which further delayed the publication of the Percy/Malone Correspondence.  In an article published in the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries in 2012,  Kathryn James brings James Osborn, the Malone scholar, into the picture.  If the name sounds familiar, Osborn was a prime player in my March 2016 blog post, The Story of Spence's Anecdotes.  In her article, Kathryn James reveals that Arthur Tillotson had written Osborn in August 1939, promising to send him proofs of the Percy/Malone Correspondence for Osborn to review—a promise he never kept.  Osborn queried Brooks about Tillotson's progress in March 1940.  Tillotson sent the proofs directly to Brooks albeit almost two years later.  And Brooks sent them to Osborn in  February 1942.   Osborn, however, was busy with the war effort himself.  Moreover,  Osborn was displeased with Tillotson's editing.  Meanwhile, Louisiana State University Press was screaming for the book to be published, so in November 1942, Brooks politely asked Osborn to return the proofs.  I should mention that Brooks and Osborn remained on good terms.  In fact, Osborn was responsible for Brooks relocating from LSU to Yale in 1947.

In a letter to his friend, Allen Tate, editor of the Sewanee Review, dated April 24, 1944, Cleanth Brooks stated:
...and the first volume of my brass-bound, valve-in-head research project, the Percy Letters, is about ready to be published....

And in a letter to his friend, Robert Penn Warren, the following month, Brooks reported that he had to compile the index to the Percy/Malone Correspondence himself before the work went to press because Arthur Tillotson was still busy in the RAF.

Cleanth Brooks edited the second volume of The Percy Letters himself:  The Correspondence of  Thomas Percy & Richard Farmer, which was published in 1946.  Brooks would also edit the seventh volume, the Shenstone volume, in 1977.

David Nichol Smith did not live to see the publication of the entire series of The Percy Letters; he died in 1962.  Brooks and Smith were the general editors of the first five volumes.  A. F. Falconer, (1908-1987) the special editor of the sixth volume, the George Paton volume, published in 1961, replaced Smith as one of the two general editors for the last three volumes.  Cleanth Brooks was the only one of the general editors to see the entire series of The Percy Letters in print.

Here is a list of the nine volumes, and with bibliographical information provided.  Volumes six through nine were published by Yale University Press.

1.  The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & Edmond Malone, edited by Arthur Tillotson, [Baton Rouge]:  Louisiana State University Press, 1944.

2.   The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & Richard Farmer, edited by Cleanth Brooks, [Baton Rouge]:  Louisiana State University Press, 1946.

3.   The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & Thomas Warton, edited by M. G. Robinson & Leah Dennis, [Baton Rouge]:  Louisiana State University Press, 1951

4.   The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, edited by A. F. Falconer, [Baton Rouge]:  Louisiana State University Press, 1954.

5.   The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & Evan Evans, edited by Aneirin Lewis, [Baton Rouge]:  Louisiana State University Press, 1957.

6.   The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & George Paton, edited by A. F. Falconer, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961.

7.   The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & William Shenstone, edited by Cleanth Brooks, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1977

 8.  The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & John Pinkerton, edited by Harriet Harvey Wood, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, [1985].

9.   The Correspondence of Thomas Percy & Robert Anderson, edited by W. E. K. Anderson,  New Haven and London: Yale University Press, [1988].

Four  more letters from Thomas Percy to Edmond Malone were found after the first volume was published in 1944,  These letters were later acquired by Donald and Mary Hyde.   Interestingly, in the Hyde copy of the Percy/Malone volume, the first two of the four letters were pencilled into the Table of Letters, but not the last two:

Yale University Press reprinted the first volume in 1960, adding an appendix containing the four letters, and including an Addenda et Corrigenda to the Introduction which listed 17 errors found in the first printing.  I do wonder if Donald and Mary Hyde had anything to do with convincing Cleanth Brooks and Yale University Press to reprint the Percy/Malone volume.

Surprisingly,  as of May 1st, 2016, there is no mention of Cleanth Brooks's contributions as editor of The Percy Letters in his biographical entry on Britannica.Com,  an article written by the editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica.  And although David Nichol Smith's correspondence relating to the Percy Letters is mentioned in the Archives section of his DNB listing, there is no specific mention of his contributions as editor of The Percy Letters in the biographical entry proper—at least not in the October 2004 DNB entry that I was able to access online on May 1st, 2016.

The scholars recognized and reviewed the individual volumes of the Percy Correspondence after each volume was published.  One scholar, Bertrand H. Bronson, wrote a brilliant article about the first five volumes of the Percy Correspondence which appeared in the Sewanee Review in 1959.  And then Bronson updated the article, "A Sense of the Past" for his 1968 book, Facets of Enlightenment, to include the sixth volume as well.  I have not found a scholarly article or a book that covers all nine volumes of The Percy Letters.  Surely, such an article has already been written.  But I have my doubts whether such a book has been written—at least I haven't found one.  I do wonder, among other things, why it took Cleanth Brooks fifteen years after the death of David Nichol Smith in 1962  to resume the publication of The Percy Letters.   Perhaps someone will answer that question in the book that has yet to be written.

As for when I read the Percy Letters themselves,  particularly the ones that mention Samuel Johnson, I remember what I wrote in my Feb 2015 blog post, A Gathering of Other People's Collected Letters:

To me, reading other people's letters is like being a fly on the wall who peers over the shoulders of authors as they share their thoughts on paper with friends and acquaintances.
                                                                           Jerry Morris

Web Sources

Cleanth Brooks Papers. Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and
   Manuscript Library. Web. 1 May 2016.

Correspondence of David Nichol Smith.  MSS. Eng. Lett. C. 489-92. Bodleian Library.
     Web. 1 May 2016.

James, Kathryn. "How Cleanth Brooks Read His Seventeenth-Century News Letter:
    Collectors, Professors, and the Organization of English as a Profession." The Journal of
    the Rutgers University Libraries.  Rutgers University. Vol 65 (2012). Web. 1 May 2016.

Vinh, Alphonse,  Cleanth Brooks and Allen Tate:  Collected Letters 1933-1976.
    Columbia and London:  University of Missouri Press, 1998.  Google Book Search.
    Web. 1 May 2016

Grimshaw, James A.  Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren:  A Literary
    Correspondence.   Columbia and London:  University of Missouri Press, 1998. Google
    Book Search.  Web. 1 May 2016.

Bronson, Bertrand H. “A Sense of the Past”.The Sewanee Review 67.1 (1959): 145–155.
    Web. 1 May 2016.

Bronson, Bertrand Harris.  Facets of Enlightenment:  Studies in English Literature and Its
    Contexts.  Berkeley and Los Angeles:  University of California Press, 1968.  Web. 1
    May, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Literary Studies
Norah Diana Maude

In the garden of letters he will sow and plant, but only for the sake of recreation and amusement; he will write them down as memorials to be treasured against the forgetfulness of old age, by himself, or by any other old man who is treading the same path. He will rejoice in beholding their tender growth; and while others are refreshing their souls with banqueting and the like, this will be the pastime in which his days are spent.  
                                                                             Plato in The Phaedrus

With the strokes of a pencil, a reader, a descendant of King James I and King James VI, marked sentences and passages that she treasured.

And on two occasions, she voiced her disagreement with the author, first with question marks concerning the author's views about the Sonnets of Shakespeare:

And then with a stroke and two choice words,  she chastises the author for the use of his last sentence:

Norah Diana Maude was the name of the reader.     And Walter Bagehot (1826-1877) was the name of the author.   And these were Norah Diana Maude's books:

For those with a bibliographical point of view, Walter Bagehot's Literary Studies went through four editions before the Silver Library Edition was first published in 1895, and reprinted five times after that.  Nora Diana Maude's set is a married set of reprints.  Volumes 1 and 2 were published in 1910 and volume 3 in 1907.

I was stationed at RAF Mildenhall when I bought these books in a local secondhand bookstore, probably in the fall of 1986. Thinking back, I was thirty-nine years old when I bought these books.  And Norah Diana Maude was all of twenty-two years young when she acquired these books.  Most likely, the set of books was a Christmas present from either her parents, Frederick William Maude and Ellen Maud Kelk, or from her fiance, Arthur Marcus Hanbury, whom she would marry the following July.

I gathered a little knowledge about Norah Diana Maude and her family while researching on the web.  She had an older brother, John William Ashley Maude, a Lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in WWI, who was killed in action in 1915.  Norah and her husband had four children, including a set of twins.   In 1934, she legally changed her name to Norah Diana Hanbury-Kelk (Kelk was her mother's maiden name).

Norah was a neighbor of Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.  The manuscript of her memories of him is included in the Alexander Fleming Papers at the British Library:
Hanbury Kelk Risby (Norah), neighbour of Sir Alexander Fleming. Memories of A. Fleming, n.d. Partly copies. 56216, ff. 33-38; 56220, ff. 11-17.

I don't know when Norah read Bagehot's Literary Studies.  It may have been in her youthful days, or it may have been when old age began to turn her hair grey.  But however old or young she was, she told me a little bit about her inner self in the literary passages she marked in her books.

In his essay, 'The Definition and Practice of Literary Studies," Wesley Trimpi defines literary studies as the understanding and preservation of literary texts.   With the strokes of a pencil Norah identified the passages of Bagehot's text that she preserved as her own.   

Thus far I have only displayed Norah's markings from Bagehot's chapter on Shakespeare—and one parting remark from Bagehot's chapter on Shelley.  Norah, it appears, liked the French poet and songwriter Béranger (1826-1877) extremely well.  She marked at least fifteen eloquent sentences and passages in Bagehot's chapter on him.  And I suspect she was fluent in French because she marked the first stanza of Béranger's poem, Le Vieux Vagabond as well. 

Here's another passage  she marked from Bagehot's chapter on Béranger:
Perhaps a pleasant society is only possible to persons at ease as to what is beyond society.  Those only can lie on the grass who fear no volcano underneath, and can bear to look at the blue vault above.

                         And here's a passage she marked about Walter Bagehot himself:

 Norah made her last pencil stroke on page 233 of the second volume.  In the chapter about Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, she marked a passage which read:
She had exactly that sort of irritable intellect which sets an undue value on new theories of society and morality and is pleased when others do so too.

I don't believe Norah ever read the third volume.  All told, she marked at least 75 sentences and passages in the first two volumes.

Norah Diana Maude—I will always remember her by that name— passed away on February 15th, 1977.  But her great granddaughter,  Layla Rose Hanbury, the Australian hip hop singer/songwriter known as Layla, has inherited her love of songs.

                                                      Photo by Jill Sainsbury

 After Norah died, her family gave eight hectares (almost twenty acres) of beautiful wetland in her name to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Norah Hanbury-Kelk Meadows

And I do love the motto of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust:
 Living Landscapes, Living Gardens, Living Seas.

The Norah Hanbury-Kelk Meadows are about three miles away from where I used to work at RAF Mildenhall, albeit more than twenty-five years ago.  But if I could go back in time, I would visit the meadows often—and with Norah Diana Maude's books in hand to reflect upon.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Story
Spence's Anecdotes

Observations, Anecdotes, and Characters of Books and Men by Joseph Spence, London: John Murray, 1820 (Known as Spence's Anecdotes).

Spence's Anecdotes is comprised of three sections: 78 pages of Popiana, 110 pages on English Poets and Prose Writers, and 109 pages of miscellaneous articles.
The anecdotes about Pope provide a behind-the-scene look into Pope's life, his writings, and his dealings with other writers.
In the second section,  Spence provides anecdotes or observations on many of the poets that are included in Johnson's Poets as well as anecdotes on some prose writers:  Beaumont, Fletcher, Milton, Waller, Cowley, Denham, Stanley, Otway, Butler, Lee, Rochester, Dorset, Shadwell, Settle, Sprat, Etheridge, Wycherly, Sheffield, Hughes, Fenton, Parnell, Gay, Garth, Congreve, Vanbrugh, Farquhar, Rowe, Young, Addison, Philips, Bacon, Newton, Locke, Marborough, Bolingbroke, Oxford, Atterbury, and more.
In the third section, Spence touches on everything from Virgil to Dante to Oliver Cromwell. Included in this section are nine pages on China and the Chinese, beginning with the emperor Chi Hoangt, who began his reign 246 years before the birth of Christ. Of special note, and worth researching are the anecdotes of Monsignor Fauquet (Bishop of Eleutheropolis, then (1732) residing in the College de Propaganda Fide, at Rome), who spent twenty years in China as a missionary. Fauquet spoke in depth of the sacred writings of China and how closely related they were to the writings of the Christian religions. He brought almost 4000 books out of China, lost half of them on the way, and planned to publish several of them. In an editor's note, Malone reveals that he acquired the list of books Fauquet planned to publish from his friend Chevalier.
All told, this is one awesome book, and for only $5.00 on eBay!

                                                My Old Books Abut Books WebTV Website
                                                March 2001

 I was browsing Henry G. Bohn's revised edition of The Bibliographer's Manual of English Literature one day—just to see what it had to say about some of my books—and  when I came to Bohn's listing of Spence's Anecdotes, I did a double take!

Henry Bohn listed two editions of Spence's Anecdotes!  And with differently-worded titles. And both editions were published in 1820?   That had to be a mistake!

 But when I read the article Bohn cited in the Quarterly Review, I discovered that not only were both editions published in the same year, they were published on the same day!

As you can tell from the picture, Singer's edition of Spence's Anecdotes is significantly larger than Malone's edition.  And, yes, I acquired  a copy of Singer's edition of Spence's Anecdotes as well.  And another copy of Malone's edition; this one formerly owned by the flamboyant publisher of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett Jr.  

The definitive book on the history of Spence's Anecdotes before, during and after it was first published in 1820 has already been written—by James M. Osborn.   And yes, I have a copy of that book as well.  It took Osborn twenty years of collecting, researching, writing, and editing to complete his book—and in two volumes:  Observations, Anecdotes, and Characters of Books and Men,  Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1966.

Osborn is my primary source in telling you the story of Spence's Anecdotes.  But I will cite other sources, including the aforementioned copy of the Quarterly Review.  And yes, I have a copy of that too.

Joseph Spence (1699-1768), a close friend of Alexander Pope, was an Oxford Professor of Poetry,  and later Regius Professor of History. He was widely known to the literary men of the middle part of the eighteenth century.  And he put pen to paper, recording numerous anecdotes and observations about them, particularly about Alexander Pope.  Spence permitted Joseph Warton and William Warburton use of his papers for their works on Virgil and Alexander Pope.

In March 1767,  Spence signed a contract to sell his publishing rights to the bookseller, James Dodsley. Spence had already prepared a manuscript of his anecdotes to be published once Dodsley completed his payments, the last of which was scheduled to be paid on 24 March 1769. But the contract contained a discretionary clause that was to affect the publication of Spence's Anecdotes for years to come:
4.  The said Mr. Spence doth hereby, for himself his Executors Administrators & Assigns sell and assign to the said James Dodsley his Executors Administrators & Assigns the sole Right of all Copies which he the said Mr. Spence hath not yet published, and which the Executors of the said Mr. Spence shall judge proper to be published (Osborn lxxxvi).

Joseph Spence died suddenly on August 20, 1768.  And on September 5th, James Dodsley requested a copy of the anecdotes "as soon as possible" so he could  publish them.  But the executors of Spence's estate, Robert Lowth (Bishop of Oxford, and an Oxford Professor of Poetry as well), Dr. Gloster Ridley, and Edward Rolle, discussed the matter and decided that the manuscript of  Spence's Anecdotes should not be published.  They reasoned that the public had already seen parts of the manuscript from the writings of Warburton and Warton and that the remainder of the manuscript should be suppressed. Spence's executors deposited the manuscript with the Duke of Newcastle, one of Spence's pupils, for safekeeping.  But this manuscript was the only item of Spence's Papers that the executors deposited with the Duke.

The public received additional bits of anecdotes when Samuel Johnson was permitted use of the manuscript in 1780 for his Lives of the Poets.  And in 1794, Edmund Malone was permitted to use it for his work on Dryden and others.  The Newcastle Manuscript, as it became known, was divided by sections of years. But Malone revised it in a new transcript for his own use, dividing the anecdotes into three sections:  Popiana, English poets and prose writers, and miscellaneous articles.

Edmund Malone died on May 25, 1812.  And here is where the history of Spence's Anecdotes begins to get a little murky.  In the Quarterly Review article,  the anonymous author, later identified as Isaac D'Israeli, stated that the Malone manuscript "was given to the late Mr. Beloe, who sold it to Mr. Murray (402)."

Austin Wright, in his book, Joseph Spence:  A Critical Biography, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1950, cites the D'Israeli reference, and in a footnote writes:
Isaac D'Israeli, who may be presumed to have known the truth, since he was writing for Murray's own periodical, says that the manuscript was sold to Murray by Beloe himself  (Quarterly Review, XXIII, 402)

Osborn, who cites Wright several times in his book, does not mention Wright's assertion that Beloe acquired the book and sold it to Malone.  Instead, Osborn refers to Malone's will in which Malone left James Boswell the Younger with "£200  and the superintendence of his scholarly books and papers.  Among them , of course, was the transcript of Spence's Anecdotes (xcvi)". 

James Boswell the Younger, was well acquainted with Edmund Malone, helping him with his research when Malone's eyesight began to fail.  After Malone's death, Boswell went on to complete Malone's revision of his Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare.  This edition, published in 1821, was known in some circles as the "Third Variorum Edition" or "Boswell's Shakespeare."  Btw, I have the set in my library.  :-)

Osborn also notes that Malone's transcript of Spence's Anecdotes was listed as lot 3111 of the 1825 auction catalogue of the library of James Boswell the Younger.

There is no doubt that Murray wanted to publish Malone's transcript and had reportedly received the permission of the present Duke of Newcastle to publish it.  And according to Osborn, Murray hired Beloe to edit it.  The following advertisement appeared as an advertisement in the Oct 1814-Jan 1815 volume of The Quarterly Review:

It is interesting to note that this advertisement states that the work will appear in two volumes.  In the Preface to his edition of Spence's Anecdotes, Singer wondered how Beloe could have extended the work to two volumes. The same advertisement, with the "2 vols" statement, appeared in the back of a book about Irish Grand Jury Laws that Murray published in 1815.  Another advertisement below appeared in the "Works on Hand or In Print" section of the Dec 1816 issue of The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British India and Its Dependancies.  Note that Spence's Anecdotes is no longer listed as "2 vols," yet there are several other works of multiple volumes listed:

And here's another  advertisement that was included in an 1815 edition of The Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, also published by Murray, but not listed as "2 vols.".  It is possible that Murray already realized that Spence's Anecdotes could not be stretched to two volumes.

Murray never published an edition of Spence's Anecdotes that was edited by William Beloe.  Both D'Israeli and Wright state that Murray himself suppressed its publication.  But that may not be the caseOsborn notes that in 1815 the present Duke of Newcastle requested to see the Malone Manuscript and that Boswell sent it to him.  How long the Duke kept this manuscript is undetermined.  Beloe took ill and died in April 1817.   It is possible that Beloe  never had the opportunity to edit Malone's transcript of Spence's Anecdotes.

Remember Bishop Lowth, one of the executors of Spence's estate?  The Newcastle Manuscript was the only item of Spence's papers that he gave to the Duke of Newcastle.  According to D'Israeli, Lowth put Spence's remaining papers in a chest.  Years later, a "speculator" got his hands on the papers and into the hands of a publisher who had no scruples about publishing Spence's Anecdotes.  The chest contained a folio manuscript and another manuscript that Singer called "MS. B," loose papers, and memorandum books, from which Singer gathered the anecdotes for his edition.  Singer's edition of Spence's Anecdotes contained eight sections divided by years, and supplemental  anecdotes from Spence's papers—all told, many more anecdotes than what appeared in Malone's edition.  In his 1820 Preface, Singer provided no details of how he acquired Spence's papers.  But he was more forthcoming in the Preliminary Notice of the 1858 reprint of his book:

John Murray was surprised when he heard that Singer's edition was about to be published. And he quickly arranged to publish Malone's edition.  And according to D'Israeli's article in the Quarterly Review, both editions were published on the same day.

Osborn goes further, and in his book he identifies to the date when the two editions of Spence's Anecdotes were published:  Jan 20, 1820.

That is probably the only mistake Osborn made in his entire book!  The fault, however,  lies with his source, which he cites in his footnote below:
Singer's Preface is dated 19 December 1819 and the volume apparantly was published on January 20.2 According to report, the Murray edition appeared on the same day (xcviii).
And in the footnote, Osborn added:
2 See Wright's detailed account of the publication and press notices, pp. 182-5, 250-1.
Osborn was referring to Austin Wright's book, Joseph Spence:  A Critical Biography, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1950.

 On page 184 of his biography of Spence, Wright wrote:
...the anecdotes of Joseph Spence appeared in two editions from separate manuscripts—and, according to D'Israeli, on the same day! 32

 And in the footnote, Wright added:
32 Quarterly Review, XXIII (1820), 401. The Times for January 20, 21, and 22 carried an advertisement of the Singer edition as being published "this day."
Here's the notice from The Times for  Jan 20, 1820.  The notices for the 21st and 22nd were identical to this one.

I find it interesting that a notice for the publication of the Malone edition of Spence's Anecdotes never appeared in any January 1820 issues of The Times.

But more interesting are the "Books Published This Day" notices of the publication of Spence's Anecdotes which appeared in some of the January issues of  The Literary Gazette!

Malone's edition of Spence's Anecdotes appeared in the "Books Published This Day" section of the January 1, 1820 issue of The Literary Gazette:

Both Malone's edition and Singer's edition appeared in the "Books Published This Day" section for the Jan 8, 1820 issue of The Literary Gazette:

Singer's edition of Spence's Anecdotes appeared by itself in the Jan 15 issue.  And the notice was repeated in the Jan 22 issue:

Both editions of Spence's Anecdotes may have been published on the same day. But I believe that day was not January 20, 1820.  They were published earlier that month.   On what date(s) were they published?  I will leave that to the scholars to determine.

Both editions of Spence's Anecdotes were reviewed in The Literary Gazette; the Malone edition on Jan 8, 1820, and the Singer edition on Jan 15, 1820. Neither edition received a raving review.  According to the reviewer, Malone's edition was "carelessly done."  And the Singer edition contained  "a great deal that might have advantageously been omitted."

Finally, here's one last bit of information from Osborn, and this concerns the identity of the person who wrote the six-page Advertisement for Malone's edition of Spence's Anecdotes.  Osborn believed it was written by the very person who was in possession of Malone's Manuscript: James Boswell the Younger.  Osborn believed the "style and tone of it" said "Boswell."  Osborn added, "Perhaps some day some substantiating evidence may come to the surface."

If this blog post has piqued your interest in Spence's Anecdotes,  you will want to read Osborn's book: Observations, Anecdotes, and Characters of Books and Men.  Osborn's edition contains, by his count, 1,648 anecdotes—500 more anecdotes than what appeared in Singer's edition.  What's more, Osborn covers the various manuscript sources and their locations.  Most of Spence's Papers and manuscripts are in the Osborn Collection at Yale University.  Malone's manuscript is in the Folger Library.  MS. B?  Who knows?  According to Osborn, it was last seen in 1858.  Has it resurfaced since Osborn's book was published in 1966?  Good question!  I would like to know!

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Letter
From an Illustrious Shakespearean Scholar To a Moderate Autograph Collector

For My Sentimental Library Collection,  I want to have books by and about authors I like, books they formerly owned, catalogues of their libraries, bookplates if they had them, and autograph letters either to or from them.  And recently, Randy Thern of Signatures In Time, had on offer an autograph letter that I just had to have for My Sentimental Library Collection:

If the above specimen of J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps's handwriting is too hard to read, I deciphered it for you:


llustrious Shakespearean scholar

                                                                         Hollingbury Copse

                                                                                              9 Oct. 1888

Dear Ch. Aldrich

              You would have been as welcome as flowers in May to any of my MSS. of my books, but I never keep such things (except a few drafts of my outlines that happen to be in bound vols. with other things I cannot be spared).  I have not a single leaf of any other draft.  Those of my notes on Hamlet have been consigned to the waste-paper basket years & years ago.  And I have a special objection to being photographed.  My wife got me to have it done some time ago but only on condition of a very few copies being taken & those for members of the family.
              Hoping to have the pleasure of seeing you again on your next visit to the old country.

                                Believe me
                                                              Yrs faithfully
                                                                                 J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps

                          To  Charles Aldrich


J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps (1820-1889), the illustrious Shakespearean scholar,  wrote this letter to the "moderate" American autograph collector, Charles Aldrich (1828-1928) on Oct 9th, 1888.

Charles Aldrich was anything but a moderate autograph collector.  He besieged the great, the famous, and the notorious with countless requests for autograph letters, scraps of their manuscripts, and portraits of themselves.  Yet, in the beginning of a January 1896 article in The Midland Monthly, about meeting Jefferson Davis—and, yes, he obtained a specimen of Davis's handwriting—Aldrich described his autograph collecting as moderate:

I have been in a moderate way an autograph collector, one of that queer species almost literally flayed alive by Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Horace Greeley, saying nothing of the objurgations of a somewhat lesser man here and there, like Julian Hawthorne, or the Prince of Wales.  I tried, however, to give away my collection, and thus, "get shut" of this folly; but when in 1884, the Judges of the Supreme Court accepted it as a gift to the State of Iowa,  good old Judge Beck put his hand on my shoulder and said:  "Now, Aldrich, we want you to consider this only a beginning.  Go ahead, and keep this Collection growing; and it will come to something one of these days... (406).

Continue to build the Aldrich Autograph Collection, he did.   The Collection included not only specimens of handwriting by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,  Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln and other notable Americans, but specimens of handwriting by notable Englishmen as well, including Robert Burns, Charles Darwin, and Austin Dobson; specimens which he obtained while visiting England three times.

On at least one of his trips to England,  Charles Aldrich met J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps.  And although Halliwell-Phillipps wrote in his Oct 1888 letter that he hoped to see Aldrich again on his "next visit to the old country," they never met again;  J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps passed away on January 2, 1889.  It is possible that Aldrich acquired an autograph letter from Halliwell-Phillipps on one of his trips to England.  That would explain why the 9 Oct 1888 letter is not in the Aldrich Collection.

 The "notes on Hamlet" that Aldrich hoped to obtain from Halliwell-Phillipps was probably the manuscript of Halliwell-Phillipps's book,  Memoranda on the Tragedy of Hamlet, London, 1879.  Incidentally, Halliwell-Phillipps presented James Russell Lowell with a copy of this book in 1881, while Lowell was the American Minister in England.  And yes, Aldrich met Lowell in London in the 1880s.  Lowell's very copy of Halliwell-Phillipps's book is now in my own library.   I acquired it from Krown & Spellman, Booksellers of Culver City, Ca. in 2004.

If you want to know more about J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, I wrote all about him in my Nov 30, 2011 blog post,  J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, Bibliophile.  And he appears briefly in several other blogposts of mine that pertain to Shakespeare, most recently in my Oct 28, 2013 blog post,  A Splendid History of Ownership.

If you want to know more about Charles Aldrich and the Building of his Autograph Collection,  my source was Charles Aldrich's own words; words which he wrote in 1906, and which were published in  in The Annals of Iowa, in 1909, a year after his death:

Aldrich, Charles. "The Building of An Autograph Collection."  The Annals of Iowa 9 (1909), 81-94.
Available at:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Look Back
My Old WebTV Websites:
Nov 1999 - Jan 2007

In the spring of 2000, a student at the School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote an article for his school paper about the Usenet newsgroup Rec Collecting Books (RCB).   And I was one of the RCBers who were mentioned by name in the article:
... Brags
This is a big part of the newsgroup.  Participants seem to love sharing stories of their amazing finds.  On April 11, 2000, Jerry Morris exclaimed about a recent ebay purchase, even giving a link to a webpage he had constructed simply to show off his new acquisition

Here's the RCB thread in which I "exclaimed" about my ebay purchase: three books about Samuel Johnson's journey to the Hebrides.

And here's the webpage I constructed "simply to show off" my Samuel Johnson acquisitions:

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Before I ever had my six blogs to write about my books, I had five WebTV websites to display my books.  I constructed my first WebTV website, Moi's Books About Books, on Nov. 21, 1999.  A word about WebTV here:  my TV served as the computer monitor.  The system was relatively inexpensive —but slow!  Dialup!

My library—at least on the web—was housed in a virtual brick building.   My Books About Books Collection took up much of the space of the center floor.  Along each side of my library, separate rooms housed my many other collections.

Moving around my library was easy.  I created an Index of Links—a Fast Track—to transport visitors to any which room they wanted to explore.


My heart was really into my books.  I not only enjoyed collecting them, I enjoyed displaying them on my websites.  But then the brick walls came crashing down.

 It was the recurring problems with my heart and its clogged arteries that caused me to walk away from my books, and close my WebTV websites in January 2007.  Here is my December 2006 Farewell Address to the members of the Florida Bibliophile Society:

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Before closing my WebTV websites, I downloaded them via to a computer, and eventually, to a CD.

In March 2013, I attempted to recreate Moi's Books About Books Rooms and Moibibliomaniac's Other Books on  The first was a failure, but you will be able to view Moibibliomaniac's Other Books later in this blog post.

And now you will be able to view Moi's Books About Books Rooms!  I have converted the html files to pdf files, merged the pdf files, and then embedded them in the "Rooms" below.  But in order to view all the files in each room, you will need to either "Scroll Down" or "Pop-Out." The Pop-Out is in the top RH corner.  I recommend using the pop-out feature to view the "rooms."


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Images of My Books About Books Fast Track

Adcock to Hobson

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Humphreys to Osler

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Old Book Value Guide to Starrett

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Stevens to Who is Moi the Bibliomaniac?

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I sold many of my books just to keep me out of the poor house while waiting for my disability retirement from the Post Office to be approved.  I was able to keep my Books About Books collection basically intact.  But not so for my other collections.  More than a few of the books displayed in the hyperlink below are now in other people's libraries.

Note: Click on the hyperlink below to view my other collections:  

Moibibliomaniac's Other Books

It took me five months but I finally realized that I could not walk away from my books for good.  Books were in my blood!

On Tuesday, May 29, 2007, I started writing about them in my first of several blog posts as The Displaced Book Collector!

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And then came my other blogs:  Biblio Researching,  Bibliophiles in My Library, Biblio-Connecting, Contemplations of Moibibliomaniac, and My Sentimental Library....
And now I can look back on my WebTV websites.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Miniature Books: Number Four of the Twelve Blog Posts for Christmas

Each year, as a Christmas gift to my readers, I post one of  Walter "Wally" Harris's twelve articles as it appears in his Contributions to Biblionotes.  This year's number is titled "Miniature Books."  Enjoy!

"Miniature Books" is an article about miniature books that Walter "Wally" Harris printed for the Bibliomites in the 1950s.  When he died in 1982 at the age of 88, the Antiquarian Book Monthly Review  (ABMR) referred to him as one of the three most knowledgeable bookmen who ever lived.  But except for Biblionotes, not much has been written by or about Walter Harris.

If you know nothing about Bibliomites, Biblionotes, and Walter "Wally" Harris, I suggest you read my December 2013 bog post,  About Bibliomites, Biblionotes, and Walter "Wally" Harris.  Click on the links at the bottom of that post and it will bring you to the numbers of the "Twelve Blogs for Christmas" that I have already posted, including this one.

Very small books or miniature books as they are rather loosely termed appear to have charm and attraction for all booklovers.  Even the most rigid specialists acquire a specimen or two in the course of their collecting, and more often than not, on subjects outside their own particular field.
There is no unanimity among collectors as to what constitutes a miniature book - some look with contempt on anything over two inches in height, others are pleased with specimens up to four or even four and a half inches.  Obviously it is necessary to fix a maximum, otherwise the collector will find his books getting a shade taller each time he makes a purchase.  The ideal limit I think is four inches, as it not only gives a wide field for selection, but at the same time includes a number of books which are valuable in themselves.
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, usually looked upon as a period dominated by bulky folios, yield a surprising number of small volumes.  The Aldine Press for instance issued many books, the smallest of which is "Horae in Laudem Beatissimae Virginis", printed in red and black, and issued in 1505 (reprinted in 1521).  Estienne, Plantin, and the Elzevirs are also responsible for a number in small format, but I doubt if any Elzevir as originally published would come within range of four inches.  I have examined a great many of them, and whenever I have  found one within this limit, it has obviously suffered at the hands of the binder.  Estienne issued some beautifully printed books, one of the nicest I have seen is an edition of "The Hymns of Snyesius Cynenaeus", 1568, in Greek and Latin; and from Plantin in 1585 came the rare little "Kalendarium Gregorionum".
Leyden, a great centre for printing in the seventeenth century, where Lopez de Haro, Jacobus Marcus, Moretus and the two Raphelengiens held away, produced many miniature books, including an edition of "Erasmi Encomium Moriae", 1627, "Cunaei Sardi Venales", 1627, "Cicero, De Officis", 1610, "Epicteti, Enchiridian", 1616, all of which were under three inches in height.  Amsterdam was also to the fore in this period, one little volume being More's "Utopia", 1631, a similar edition (the first Latin edition printed in England) made its appearance at Oxford in 1663, a copy recently seen measured three and a half by two and a half inches.
From John Jannon of Sedan comes a series of classics in small form which included a Virgil, 1625, Horace, 1627, and a Greek Testament, 1628, about three and a half inches high, all of which are quite rare.
Among woodcut books are a Caesar, printed in Paris in 1569, with minute cuts of fortifications and bridges; Paradini's "Symbola Heroica", Antwerp, 1583;  Boccalini's "Pietradel Paragone Politica", 1652; and an extraordinary little book containing 396 cuts of old buildings called "Palatia Procerum Romanae Urbis", issued in 1699, by Frangini.
Many editions of the Psalms in English metre, Bibles, and New Testaments were issued in Great Britain during the seventeenth century, some of which appear in fine needlework bindings, others in an early form of shorthand, one of which by the famous Jeremiah Rich is the New Testament, engraved throughout, and containing a portrait and frontispiece by T. Crosse, issued about 1660.

An extremely curious item which I noted in an old trade catalogue is a Jewish service book entitled "Orden de les Orasions Quotidianas", printed on vellum, and "Probably unique", according to the bookseller's catalogue.  It was without date or printer, and measured two and five eighths by one and five eighths inches.

Another pretty little service book is the "Tablature Spirituelle des Officis et  Officiers de la Couronne de Jesus", published at Au Pont-a-Mousson in 1621, an oblong volume measuring four inches by three and three quarter inches, with a woodcut border to each page.

Gervase Markham, that exceedingly clever maker of books, was responsible for what is probably the smallest of sporting books, an interesting little item with a long title:  "The Young Sportsman's Instructor in Angling, Fowling, Hawking, Hunting, etc. etc., issued at the Ring in Little Britain".  A copy which appeared about two years ago measured approximately two and a half by one and three quarter inches.  Like most of Markham's compilations, it is somewhat of a bibliographical puzzle, and although the Bibliotheca Piscatoria cites an edition of 1652, I am of the opinion that it was issued undated, as I have not been able to trace a single copy with the date.  It was reprinted about 1810 by the same publisher, and about two years later an edition appeared from Worcester, but unfortunately it omitted the section on Hawking, and although quite as scarce as the London reprint, it is not as valuable.  There was another reprint in 1820.

Before going on to the eighteenth century, one or two others are worthy of mention.  John Stow, the former antiquary, published in 1604 an edition of his "Summary of the Chronicles of England", printed in black letter, with  a woodcut border to the title, now a scarce little book in fine state.  There was also a pictorial version of the New Testament which emanated from Augsburg in  1696; several editions of Guarini's "Il Pastor Fido", and A'Kempis, "Imitation of Christ", as well as one or two miniature Books of Hours from Paris.

Comng to the eighteenth century we find publishers like Barbou, Bliss of Oxford, the Foulis brothers of Glasgow (sometimes referred to as the Scottish Elzevirs), all issuing small volumes.  From Bardou came an ediiton of "The Imitation of Christ", and from the Glasgow firm a pretty little three volume Pindar, 1754.  Belfast, where printing did not begin till about 1694, concentrated more or less on devotional books, and one I have noted is an edition of the Psalms in metre, issued by Patrick Neil.  There is on record a copy dated 1700, beautifully bound in tortoiseshell with silver corners and clasps.  The so-called Thumb Bible (really a condensed history of the Bible), was a very popular little book, about two inches by one inch, and nearly an inch thick in size, containing a number of extremely crude woodcuts.  I think a complete copy in good condition of this little curiosity would be very difficult to find to-day.

T. Boreman, whose imprint was "near the Two Giants in Guildhall", was largely a publisher of children's books and chap books, and among the books he issued was "Gigantic Histories" (size three and a quarter inches by two and a quarter inches), 4 vols. 1741, which comprised "History and Description of the Famous Cathedral of St. Paul's", and "Curiosities in the Tower of London", with woodcuts.  The interesting thing about these little volumes is the fact that they gave a list of the child subscribers, well over one hundred for each book.

The nineteenth century produced rather more miniature books than the eighteenth, and included several series of volumes, of which the best known is Pickering's Diamond Classics, constituting more or less perfection in miniature, printing.  The series, which began in 1820 and ended in 1831, comprised Horace, Virgil, Terence, Catullus and Cicero, in Latin; the Greek Testament, Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in Greek; a Dante and a Tasso in Italian; and in English, Walton's "Angler", and the Lives, and a Shakespeare in nine volumes which should contain thirty-eight plates, but some sets are without them.

Another publication almost contemporary with the Diamond Classics was Jones's series of poets, running to about fifty volumes (it included a few prose works).  This collection cannot be compared with Pickering's from a typographical point of view, but the printing was clear and easy to read.

The Chap-book publishers, among whom were Oliver of Edinburgh, Richardson of Derby, Day and Mason of London, and the Banbury printers, all followed one another in issuing curious little books with similar titles, such as "The English Warbler", "The New English Warbler", "The Melodist", "The Minstrel", "The Budget of Wit", "The Yule-Tide Song Book", "The Caledonian Song Book", and many other tiny ballad and song books, as well as editions of Dr. Watt's Psalms and Hymns.  It is in fact rather difficult to decide whether these are Chap-Books or Miniature Books, but perhaps it is better to regard them as members of either category.

The Infants Library, published by J. Marshall about 1810, is a charming little series of about fourteen volumes, containing plates and woodcuts, as also is the Cabinet of Lilliput, a series of twelve volumes, each containing one, two, or three stories, with engraved frontispieces, bound in coloured boards, and issued with a wooden box, by J. Harris (successor to Newbury) in 1802.

The French publishers were also very busy with miniature books in the first half of the century, the following being some of the titles noted.  A series with the collective title of Bibliotheque Portative du Voyageur was issued by Fournier of Paris, about 1800.

There were also "Bibliotheque Miniature", 6 vols. 1835; "Classiques en Miniature", 26 vols. 1825-27; a series of volumes with the titles "Le Petit Conteur", "Le Petit Fabuliste",  "Le Petit Naturaliste", "Le Petit Troubador", and a number of others published between 1810 and 1835.

Other items noted are "The complete Fisher, or the True Art of Angling", by W. Wright, circa 1810; an edition in two volumes, 1844, of Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered"; Alfred Mill's "Pictures of English History, Roman History, Natural History", etc., 1815-1817; an edition of Leopardi's "Poems", Firenze, 1899; a series of ten fairy stories (under two inches in height) issued by the Paris firm of Pairault in 1896; as well as numerous tiny Bibles, Testaments, Dictionaries, etc. by the well-known firm of Bryce of Glasgow.

Miniature Almanacs should be included here, but I have found them so numerous and so diverse in make-up as to warrant an article on their own, which I hope to do in a future number.