Guide to the Research Collections

- Section -- II: -- THE HUMANITIES
- PART TWO
- 24 -- ENGLISH LITERATURE
- SIGNIFICANT AUTHOR COLLECTIONS

SIGNIFICANT AUTHOR COLLECTIONS

The following discussions are concerned with authors represented by collections of exceptional strength, and so attention is directed to the more unusual materials; the holdings of standard editions and critical material in the general collections are comprehensive.

William Shakespeare

Materials on Shakespeare, which are collected comprehensively, have been given the special class mark *NCI-*ND in the Billings Classification Schedules. Shakespearean holdings include many collected editions, among them the Rowe edition of 1709, those of Pope, Theobald, and Johnson, and modern textual editions. A great number of translations and critical studies in foreign languages are included. The Theatre Collection has many promptbooks and acting versions of the plays ranging in date from the late eighteenth through the twentieth centuries; included are Kemble's Richard III and Maurice Evans's Richard II. Also found in the collection are clippings and related material on the production of the plays. A special file in the Music Division identifies settings, incidental music, operas, and other music based on Shakespearean plots and music inspired by Shakespearean texts.

The library holds three first quartos: The Merchant of Venice (1600), King Lear (1608), and Othello (1622). There is a complete set of the Pavier Quartos (six Shakespearean plays and three incorrectly attributed to him published in 1619). The Rare Book Division contains five first folios, ten second folios, three third folios, and four fourth folios; in the Berg Collection are rebound copies of each of the first four folios. The central core of the holdings is comprised of items from the Lenox Library.13

John Milton

Milton materials receive the special class mark *NC-*NCH in the Billings Classification Schedules. The collecting policy for works by and about the author is comprehensive.

James Lenox "undertook to bring into his net all the editions of Milton, and succeeded in acquiring it is believed nearly all the known editions, as well as many not previously recognized, of the early separate pieces in both prose and verse."14 In consequence of his interest, the library's holdings are substantially complete both for the prose and the verse published in Milton's lifetime, and lack only minor appearances in print. The Lenox collection is described in No. 6 of the Contributions to a Catalogue of the Lenox Library (1881). The Rare Book Division and the Berg Collection have extensive sets of the many variant early editions of Paradise Lost. The Berg Collection has a first edition of the masque, Comus (1637), and many association copies, including volumes which once belonged to Pope, Landor, Stevenson, Hawthorne, and others.

The Beverly Chew collection of portraits of English authors, bequeathed in 1924 and housed in the Prints Division, includes more than 300 portraits of Milton, the earliest a likeness of the poet at ten years. A group in which Chew took much interest was the American portraits of Milton.15 In the Manuscripts and Archives Division are two of the poet's letters and twelve papers relating to his estate.

John Bunyan

Bunyan materials receive the special class mark *NE-*NEN in the Billings Classification Schedules. The collecting policy is comprehensive.

Bunyan was a favorite author of James Lenox who "not only edited an edition of the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' but undertook to collect all editions and translations of it."16 This early interest is still mirrored in the library's holdings: of the 970 editions of the author's works, some 800 are editions of Pilgrim's Progress. There are specimens of the work in forty languages, with an interesting group of prototypes and imitations.17

The Rare Book Division holds the first 20 editions of Part I of Pilgrim's Progress with the exception of the seventeenth (1710); copies of early Dutch, German, and Italian editions; and the first edition in French (1685). Of note is an edition in Hawaiian published in Honolulu in 1842. Other first editions include The Holy War (1682) and The Life and Death of Mr. Badman

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(1680). There has been no attempt to build extensive collections of subsequent editions of these and other Bunyan titles. Although the library does not hold many editions of Bunyan's works prior to 1678, the Berg Collection has copies of The Holy City (1665) and Differences in Judgement about Water-Baptism (1673).

Frances Burney d'Arblay and the Burney Family

Charles Burney, Sr., father of Frances Burney d'Arblay, is represented in the Berg Collection by the copy of his A General History of Music (1776-89) presented to Samuel Johnson and bearing manuscript corrections. Madame d'Arblay's Memoirs of Doctor Burney (1832) is also to be found in the Berg Collection, together with a twenty-six page holograph of "Characters extracted from various writings of my dearest father," a transcript made by her for inclusion in the Memoirs: much of the manuscript is in her father's hand.

The Berg Collection Fanny Burney holdings are exceptionally strong. There are manuscripts of Evelina (208 pages, incomplete), Cecilia (547 pages, incomplete), and Camilla (95 pages, incomplete). Another five-volume manuscript of Camilla is in the hand of the author's husband, General Alexandre d'Arblay, with corrections and additions in another hand. Of note is an early holograph of the play Edwy and Elgiva, with 58 pages of additional material in the hand of other members of the family. A juvenile journal from March 27, 1768 to July, 1777, with some periods missing, is continued by Madame d'Arblay's diary, 8 volumes in 10 boxes, which covers the period from March, 1778, to March 10, 1823; in addition are letters arranged and annotated by Charlotte Barrett. More than 900 letters from Madame d'Arblay form only part of an archive of over 2,000 letters from members of the Burney family.18

William Makepeace Thackeray

The Berg Collection's holdings of Thackeray first and important editions, manuscripts, letters, drawings, and other materials, represent one of its greatest strengths. The resources include the author's contributions to periodicals, literary annuals, and to books by other writers. Many of the first editions are presentation copies, and numerous examples of each edition exist showing its variant states. Of the 300 drawings, sketches, and watercolors by Thackeray, about half are for his own books. Some represent early trials, as in the set of drawings for The Kickleburys on the Rhine, while others represent the final published illustrations; in addition are 5 sketch books.19 The Spencer Collection has 6 original drawings for The Paris Sketch Book dated around 1840.

Some 300 autograph letters in the Berg Collection document the author's life. The most extensive of the literary manuscripts are those for portions of The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century. In the Manuscripts and Archives Division are 3 short manuscripts dated about 1841: "An Essay on the French Nation," "Pumpernickle," and "An Essay on Louis Philippe," along with 3 letters. The Arents Collection of Books in Parts has a good representation of the works of Thackeray published in parts, together with some letters and manuscript material. The Arents Tobacco Collection owns proofs of chapters IV to VII of The Adventures of Philip containing numerous autograph corrections by the author, and 2 pages of manuscript. There are also several autograph letters.

Charles Dickens

Among the numerous editions of Dickens's works in the library's general collections are many translations; some of his better-known works are available even in shorthand transcription. Although these collections contain almost all the standard texts, critical editions, and journals, it is to the Special Collections, particularly to the Berg Collection, that the researcher must turn for Dickens first and important editions and other rarities. The Berg Collection Dickens holdings are one of its greatest strengths.20 For example, Pickwick Papers (1837) is represented by two of the very few known "prime Pickwicks" in parts. The substantially complete collection of first editions contains many presentation copies. Dickens developed twenty-one readings for public performance; of the twenty-one he used only sixteen. The Berg Collection owns twelve of the sixteen books used for the readings and three of the five prepared but not used: most are heavily corrected in black, blue, and red ink. Both Mrs. Gamp (adapted from Martin Chuzzlewit ) and A Christmas Carol are among the treasures of the library.21 Other examples of Dickens's interest in the theatre are copies of dramatizations of his stories and novels and playbills for commercially produced dramas and amateur theatricals in which the author performed.

There are some 500 autograph letters from Dickens in the Berg Collection, a great number of them addressed to the publisher Richard Bentley. Also included are business documents, agreements, and manuscript fragments. Drawings by illustrators associated with the novelist are well represented; most numerous are the pencil drawings and watercolors of Habl˘t K. Browne ("Phiz"), some of them being unique sets of watercolors prepared from illustrations by the

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artist. George Cattermole, George Cruikshank, Marcus Stone and other illustrators of Dickens are also represented by drawings.

The Arents Collection of Books in Parts has additional specimens of these artists' work, both drawings and etched steel plates. Arents also has a "prime Pickwick" and a strong collection of Dickens first editions in parts, including some very rare American editions. The Manuscripts and Archives Division holds 32 letters of the author, some miscellaneous notes and other holograph material, and an original unsigned manuscript of "Out of Town" in eleven pages.

Bernard Shaw

The Berg Collection houses a major Shaw archive, with many letters, corrected proofs, proof copies, and presentation copies as well as bound volumes with the author's manuscript corrections. Shaw's five novels are available in first editions. Among the literary manuscripts are a holograph of Widowers' Houses and the corrected typescript of You Never Can Tell. Reflecting the movie versions of Shaw's plays is a typescript scenario for Arms and the Man, adapted by Cecil Lewis and heavily corrected by Shaw, along with many small sketches showing suggested stage settings. A group of approximately 800 letters from Shaw includes over 530 to Siegfried Trebitsch, his German translator, covering the period 1902-46. There are also 50 letters from Charlotte Shaw addressed to Trebitsch.22

The Manuscripts and Archives Division has about 50 letters and notes by Shaw in thirteen collections; those in the Macmillan Company records are concerned with the publication of Man and Superman. An eight-page manuscript in the Maloney collection records notes of an interview between Shaw and Sir Roger Casement. In the Montague collection six sheets of typewritten questions, mainly on women's dress, bear fourteen lines of answers in Shaw's hand.

The Arents Tobacco Collection contains several Shavian manuscripts, notes, and letters, including a typescript of a portion of the preface of "Far Fetched Fables," with corrections and emendations in the hand of the author. Typescripts and promptbooks for performances of Shaw's plays in the western hemisphere are to be found in the Theatre Collection.

Rudyard Kipling

The Berg Collection houses the greatest concentration of important material on Kipling. A substantially complete set of first editions and first appearances in print includes such items as Schoolboy Lyrics (1881) with both variant wrappers, and Echoes: By Two Writers (1884) in which appeared early poems by Kipling and his sister. Among the literary manuscripts is a notebook entitled "Sundry Phansies" dated February, 1882, containing thirty-two holograph poems. Other notebooks preserve copies of his poetry made for Florence Garrard. There is a draft of "The Road Song of the Banderlog" from The Jungle Book.

In the Arents Collection of Books in Parts is a manuscript of The War in the Mountains consisting of five parts, one part of which is as yet unpublished. Five Kipling letters in the Arents Tobacco Collection have some connection with tobacco or smoking. They date from 1891 to 1921 and include one written to his cousin Stanley Baldwin, humorously signed "Erasmus Hogon Polwhale." An association item of unusual interest is the manuscript "My Greatest Adventure," written by Major General L.C. Dunsterville, the model for Stalky in Stalky and Co.

Virginia Woolf

In the Berg Collection is found the largest single collection of Virginia Woolf manuscripts, the larger part of the author's papers and notebooks, and her diary. The collection holds the manuscripts of many of her novels, among them The Voyage Out, Jacob's Room, To the Lighthouse, The Waves, The Years, and Between the Acts, as well as those of some of her short stories, essays, and drafts of articles, essays, and reviews. The correspondence includes 409 letters written to Violet Dickinson during the years 1902 to 1936, and many letters written to Virginia Woolf from literary figures such as T.S. Eliot and E.M. Forster.23