Guide to the Research Collections
In 1872, Felix Astoin presented his important collection to the Lenox Library; it was received by the library after his death in 1884. In the donor's words, the collection was built up "during a long residence in this city, embracing about 5,000 volumes, all bound and in an excellent state of preservation, of French books, including the best encyclopedias, works of art, and on history, classics, etc., and probably the most complete collection that can be found in this country."1
Later encyclopedias, bibliographies, etc., have in many instances supplanted those of Astoin's day, but the library is still enriched by having many significant titles pertaining to the historical aspects of learning.
Astoin had little interest in rare books as such. For the 1840-70 period the collection has extensive examples of French imaginative literature; it also added to the library's collection of classical literature in French translations, and few examples, apparently, were overlooked. This is particularly important as translations, except standard translations into English, are not usually purchased by the library.
A checklist of the Astoin collection appeared as number 7 of the Lenox Library's Short-title Lists