Guide to the Research Collections



In 1878 the Lenox Library announced the gift of the Evert Augustus Duyckinck collection of 15,164 books and 1,596 pamphlets, together with the Duyckinck papers: it was the accumulation of a Dutch father and two sons--all bookmen,

-------------------------------------------- page 7
all New Yorkers--and is of real significance in showing the tastes and interests of the city in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The collection contains relatively few titles now considered real rarities, although most of the classical authors are represented, some in early imprints; the 76 editions of Horace, for example, include 1 from the fifteenth century, 4 from the sixteenth, 7 from the seventeenth, and 27 from the eighteenth. In the main, however, the collection remains highly interesting for the number and variety of contemporary English and American editions and for its fine books, illustrated by such artists as Bewick, Cruikshank, and others of the period; there is also an excellent representation of eighteenth-century French works.

"Literature," as far as English and American titles are concerned, must be construed in its broadest sense, including not only imaginative literature, but also biography, travel, and similar materials. Among imaginative works are representations of Shakespeare and older authors in good editions. Most of the eighteenth-and nineteenth-century authors are present in first or early editions. An interesting feature is American imprints of English authors. American writers generally appear in first editions. There are excellent files of American literary periodicals through the first half of the nineteenth century.

Most of the Duyckinck papers are those of Evert A. Duyckinck, accumulated in connection with his editorship of Arcturus, the Literary World, and the Cyclopedia of American Literature (1804-55), but also included are letters to his brother, George Long Duyckinck, from nearly every American man of letters during the period. In addition to other series, there is a mass of private and personal letters, bills, business papers, and account books. Selections from the papers have been printed occasionally in the Bulletin; these may be found through the published Index.

Check lists of the printed materials in the Duyckinck Collection appear as numbers 8 and 12 of the Lenox Library's Short-title Lists, printed in 1887 and 1890.