THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Collections

By Kenneth A. Lohf


MAJOR libraries have achieved their standing because of the specialized collections of books and related materials which they have gathered over long periods of time for the purposes of preserving the records of civilization and making those records available for research. The largest of the academic libraries, Columbia among them, could not have achieved those goals if it had not been for those dedicated and generous collectors whose gifts in kind and in endowments have formed them into formidable research repositories of rare printed and manuscript materials.

The unusual collections under the stewardship of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library require distinctive conditions of housing, use, cataloging, preservation and security. This is readily apparent when one considers the range of holdings which, in addition to rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, coptic ostraca, medieval and renaissance manuscripts, and literary and art posters, include as well authors' manuscripts from the sixteenth century to Herman Wouk and Allen Ginsberg, files of correspondence from John Milton to Hart Crane, and archives as varied as those of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Daly's Theatre of New York City, the Citizens Union and the Woman Suffrage Association.

On our premises are entire libraries of printed materials devoted to special subjects, such as Greek and Roman authors, the Knickerbocker School of writers, history of economics and banking, American theater, accountancy, weights and measures, the New York Society of Tammany, Joan of Arc, Mary Queen of Scots, Hector Berlioz, mathematics and astronomy. Broadening the extraordinary diversity of the holdings are substantial or representative collections of Greek and Roman coins, historical bindings, mathematical instruments, portraits of literary figures, original drawings of illustrators, railroad colorprints, fore-edge paintings, miniature books, and the like. However extensive and impressive present day resources are, their beginnings more than two centuries ago illustrate an early and equally profound recognition of the importance of books and manuscripts to the academic community.

The formation of the rare book and manuscript collections date back to the founding of the University. The libraries of the first president, Samuel Johnson, and of his son and the third president, William Samuel Johnson, were presented by their descendants in 1914. The 120 shelves of their books comprise the typical reading of an eighteenth century academic and clergyman--sermons and religious tracts, natural philosophy, theology and innumerable editions of the classics. Among the more than two thousand manuscripts is one of the Library's, and the University's, most cherished letters: a three page letter written on March 4, 1773, by Dr. Samuel Johnson, England's Dictionary Johnson, to Columbia's Dr. Johnson, William Samuel Johnson, which documents the closeness of intellectual life between the two societies in the years immediately before the Revolution. With the gift of the Johnsons' libraries the Columbiana Collection may be said to have become a reality. In addition to the Johnsons' libraries, a group of approximately two hundred volumes from the original King's College Library before the Revolution have survived fire, pillage and war and are now shelved in a separate niche in the King's College Room in the Columbiana Library.

The College's early interest in acquiring significant books is well demonstrated by a single acquisition during the presidency of William A. Duer: at that time the College subscribed to the "elephant folio" edition of John James Audubon's The Birds of America, published from 1827 to 1838, at what must have been a considerable sum for the growing College. Columbia was one of only three American educational institutions to have the foresight to acquire this now famous work in ornithology which has become one of the most prized books of all time.

The 1881 bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, a loyal and dedicated graduate of the College, brought to the University its first collector's library. Substantial bequests of art works and artifacts were also made by him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society and the American Museum of Natural History. The seven thousand rare editions and manuscripts in the Phoenix collection laid the foundation for the strengths of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library that would emerge in the succeeding half century. A magnificent early fifteenth century French Book of Hours with miniatures by a chief associate of Maître François in Paris and a binding in an architectural style on a 1516 Aldine edition of Iamblichus made for Jean Grolier attest to the sensitivity of the gentleman collector toward beaux livres. Illustrated books, another of Phoenix's collecting interests, is a specialty represented by a series of outstanding nineteenth century works by David Roberts, Daniel Giraud Elliot and George Catlin, among others. An exceptionally fine Shakespeare First Folio and a work printed by William Caxton, Christine de Pisan's The Fayte of Armes and Chyvalrye, 1489, are two of the collection's distinguished highspots. There are also a Thomas Chatterton notebook, dated 1769, containing holograph manuscripts of six poems, and a unique copy of Robert Fulton's A Treatise on the Improvement of Canal Navigation, 1796, extra-illustrated with the inventor's original drawings.

Richard J. H. Gottheil, who had been appointed professor of Semitic languages in 1887, was the leading figure in arranging the gift by Temple Emanu-el of New York City in 1892 of its distinguished library of 2,500 printed and fifty manuscript Hebraica, the earliest among which is a tenth century fragment of Genesis on vellum. Due to Professor Gottheil's efforts more than two hundred Hebrew manuscripts were added to the original fifty by the end of the 1890s. In 1906, he departed on a buying trip to Southern France and returned to Columbia with an extensive collection of original documents and correspondence dealing with the history of the Jewish communities at Avignon and Carpentras. The collection of manuscript Hebraica, numbering more than one thousand items, is now the second largest such collection in New York.

Professor Brander Matthews, man of letters and prolific writer on the theater, began in 1912 to amass books, manuscripts and realia which were to become internationally known as the Dramatic Museum collections. Because of his numerous contacts in the theater and literary worlds, his correspondence is particularly rich for the period, 1877-1929, including files of letters from Samuel L. Clemens, Rudyard Kipling, William Dean Howells, Theodore Roosevelt and Sir Henry Irving. In addition, he acquired Restoration drama quartos, the records of Daly's Theatre in New York, letters and manuscripts documenting the careers of American actresses Charlotte Cushman and Fanny Kemble, and collections of theater photographs, models of theater productions and memorabilia of actors and actresses. The most outstanding playscript in Matthews's collection is a contemporary manuscript of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comic masterpiece, The School for Scandal.

The Joan of Arc Collection formed by Acton Griscom, comprising several thousand books and manuscripts concerned with the heroine of French history, was donated by him to alma mater in 1920. From 1924 to 1928 Professor Robert H. Montgomery presented his collection on the history of accountancy, which begins with the earliest Italian editions of Pacioli and Tagliente, and includes all of the significant works published on the subject over five centuries. Among its manuscript holdings are a ledger-daybook kept by Josiah Winslow in Plymouth Colony from 1696 to 1759 and the account book in which the English artist John Flaxman recorded from 1809 to 1826 all contracts for sculpture during this flourishing period of his career.

The first major effort by the University to acquire a collection of rare research materials by purchase occurred in 1929 when the internationally known library on the history of economics formed by Professor Edwin R. A. Seligman was bought, despite generous offers he received from the governments of both the Soviet Union and Japan. The collection of thirty-five thousand volumes that he assembled covers the subjects of economics and banking from the fifteenth century to the 1920s. His first large acquisition was the library on American finance collected from 1830 to 1880 by Albert S. Bolles of Philadelphia, which his brothers gave to him as a wedding present in 1887. Professor Seligman purchased one half of the remarkable collection of pamphlets assembled by the English economist and radical reformer Francis Place, the other half having been acquired by the British Museum. He searched the bookshops of London and European cities to assemble a set of Karl Marx's major writings, and he procured all of the reports and works written and published by Alexander Hamilton when he was Secretary of the Treasury. The collecting parameters of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library were broadened considerably by the purchase of the Seligman library; and its acquisition marked the beginning of the spectacular growth of the Library's specialized resources during the 1930s.

The founding of the Friends of the Libraries in the late 1920s was also to have a far-reaching impact on the Libraries', and more specifically the Rare Books and Manuscript Library's, collecting activities during the succeeding five decades. Professor David Eugene Smith, a teacher of mathematics and a passionate collector of the subject, retired in 1926 and devoted his tireless energies to organizing the Friends group; the initial ingredients responsible for a successful organization, all happily present in the Morningside Heights community, were "great teachers who were lovers of books and generous alumni who did not forget the inspiration of their professors," as Mary Hyde concluded in her history of the Columbia group, published in the May 1971 issue of Columbia Library Columns. Professor Smith, a genial scholar and indefatigable collector, was foremost in her thoughts in reaching this conclusion. His influence in promoting the Friends was to last nearly two decades, important decades that brought to the Library illustrious resources in both rare books and manuscripts.

Following his own philanthropic precepts, Professor Smith founded his collection at the Library in 1931 when he presented more than thirteen thousand volumes comprehensively covering the history of mathematics and astronomy from the eleventh century to the early decades of the twentieth century. The early printed books include virtually complete holdings of the principal editions of Euclid and Newton; among the Newton holdings are several volumes from his library, including a volume of mathematical works by Joseph Raphson, Giovanni Cassini and others, that once belonged to Newton and bears an inscription to him from Raphson. Smith was persistent and skillful in his worldwide search for desirable material, traveling to Paris, Teheran, Sumatra, Tokyo, Baghdad, Jaipur, Bombay and Leningrad. From these far-flung places he sent back trunks full of, not only the rare Euclids and Newtons, but medieval and renaissance documents, letters and manuscripts of mathematicians, astronomical and calculating instruments, manuscript and printed Rubaiyats, portraits of mathematicians and a great variety of orientalia. Among the 450 Arabic and Persian manuscripts, spanning eight centuries, are a Koran in the Kufic script written in Morocco in the eleventh century and a manuscript of Omar Khayyam's treatise on algebra and trigonometry from the thirteenth century. The four thousand letters of mathematicians, or of mathematical interest, range from holographs by Voltaire and d'Alembert to those by Lewis Carroll and Albert Einstein. His interests in calligraphy and illumination account for more than fifty decorated manuscript Korans, many on vellum or linen. Among the 275 rare mathematical instruments, which include astrolabes, armillary spheres, sundials, and the like, are Hindu and Persian seventeenth century bronze spheres on which the stars are inlaid in silver, and a rare and unusual papier mâché celestial globe made in Japan at the end of the seventeenth century.

The growth in rare book and manuscript resources during this period led the University to make provisions for the care and supervision of these specialized library materials. Accordingly, the Rare Book Department was established with Trustee approval on July 1, 1930. Such approval, with the necessary funding, provided the library system with the means for collecting, preserving and making available to students and scholars under appropriate conditions the library's resources of rare and unique materials. By forming a special department Columbia was at the forefront among American universities in preparing for the future growth of graduate education and its need for research resources.

The action by the Trustees was perhaps also stimulated by future expectations of gifts, for negotiations were at that time being carried on with Samuel S. Dale for the donation of his library on weights and measures; this collection, accepted by the Trustees on June 3, 1930, comprised one thousand books, pamphlets and manuscripts documenting the development of standard measures in all countries, beginning with works published in the fifteenth century. Moreover, Professor Smith had signified his intention of presenting the distinguished collection on the history of mathematics that he had formed; and most important, George A. Plimpton, Smith's close friend who by this time was also chairman of the Friends, had similar plans for his magnificent library.

The Plimpton library, which in part had been placed on deposit in 1932, was formally presented in 1936 shortly before the donor's death. The collection of more than sixteen thousand volumes was formed by Plimpton, who served as a board member of Ginn & Company, the textbook publisher, to show the development of "our tools of learning." He stated his notable purpose in the preface to his The Education of Shakespeare as "the privilege to get together the manuscripts and books which are more or less responsible for our present civilization, because they are the books from which the youth of many centuries have received their education." In general, the Plimpton Library may be described as an assemblage of notable treatises on the liberal arts, particularly grammar, rhetoric, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, geography, astronomy and handwriting. Represented in the Library are the forms of knowledge from the most rudimentary, the hornbook, to the most sublime heights reached in the writings of Aristotle, Donatus, Cicero, Boethius, Euclid, Ptolemy, Pliny and Petrus Lombardus. It is hardly surprising that one of the earliest items in the collection may be the most remarkable, a cuneiform clay tablet on which is written in Old Babylonian script, between 1900 and 1600 B.C., a mathematical text resembling the Pythagorean numbers.

The 317 medieval and renaissance manuscripts collected by George Plimpton form the largest such group in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Among the manuscripts of texts by classical authors, the antiphonals, the early grammars, the mathematical and philosophical treatises, and the writings of the church fathers, there is a monumental manuscript of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, the De Proprietatibus Rerum in John of Trevisa's English translation of 1398, which was produced in England, ca. 1440; this manuscript was most likely the copy used by Wynkyn de Worde in 1495 for the first printed edition. There is also a manuscript leaf from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and a complete manuscript of the author's A Treatise on the Astrolabe, both written in England in the fifteenth century.

Association books abound in the Plimpton library, for the collector was interested in why and how books were used, and who used them. Volumes once owned by notable humanists and scientists include the following: Roger Ascham's copy of The Abridgement of the Boke of Assises, 1555; Christopher Wren's copy of Catechesis ecclesiarum, 1609; Sir Thomas More's copy of Euclid's Elements, 1516; Isaac Newton's copy of Vincent Wing's Harmonium coeleste, 1651, and Erasmus's copy of the 1502 edition of Herodotus. Of paramount interest is the 1517 edition of Homer, published by Aldus, inscribed by Philip Melancthon to Martin Luther, and with Melancthon's notes throughout. Among the nearly six hundred copybooks and handwriting manuals is one of the two recorded copies of the first edition of A Boke Containing Divers Sortes of Hands, 1570, by John De Beauchesne and John Baildon, the first handwriting book published in England. Plimpton's library did, indeed, represent the labor of a collector and the experience of a career, the blending of a vocation as publisher and an avocation as bibliophile and author.

Beginning in 1933, Edward Epstean presented annually, until his death in 1945, portions of his extensive collection on the history and science of photography, which was formed through the purchase by Epstean of the libraries of Josef M. Eder and William Gamble, and a private French library from the Parisian book dealer Gumuchian. Included among the more than two thousand volumes, rich in the specialized fields of photomechanical processes, color and orthochromatic photography, and the chemistry of photography, are the published works of William Henry Fox Talbot, Sir John Herschel, Joseph Niépce, George Eastman, Nicholas M. P. Lerebours, Marc Antoine Gaudin, Eadweard Muybridge, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre and other notable scientists and inventors.

The library of Park Benjamin, poet and founding editor of a number of well-known nineteenth century American periodicals, the most influential being The New World, was presented by his son, William Evarts Benjamin, in 1937 along with a fund to develop the collection into a resource for the study of American authors of the Knickerbocker period. A library of rare editions and early manuscripts collected by William Evarts Benjamin was presented by him in 1943 and by his son, Henry Rogers Benjamin, in 1958, including a thirteenth century manuscript of Boethius's De consolatione philosophiae, an imposing oil portrait of Charles Dickens painted by Sol Eytinge in 1867-1868 at the time the English novelist was on his second American tour, and books from the libraries of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Killigrew and Robert Louis Stevenson.

When Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt was appointed curator of rare books in 1930 he brought to the position a background in research which was important to the newly founded library, as well as a knowledge of the history of printing gained while he was at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. He turned his attention almost immediately to the resources in this area, the result of which was the establishment of the Book Arts Collection by means of gifts and purchases of rare works about printing and exemplars of fine printing. Of greater consequence, however, was Lehmann-Haupt's friendship with Henry Lewis Bullen, the founder and librarian of the American Type Founders Company Library and Museum located in Jersey City; their friendship was to lead ultimately to the purchase of the Library by the University in 1941.

A printer from Australia, Bullen came to America in 1875; in 1892 the company for which he was working, Hamilton Manufacturing Company's eastern branch, was amalgamated by the American Type Founders Company. Bullen subsequently served in a number of positions at the American Type Founders Company, and, more significantly, he came into contact with the Company's general manager, Robert Wickham Nelson, who, as friend and supporter, assisted Bullen in developing the Company library into a collection of national importance. The libraries of Theodore Low De Vinne, David W. Bruce, the Typothetae of the City of New York and the Franklin Typographical Society of Boston were added to the original Company library and that of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company. The notable and extensive collection on the subject, thus formed, numbered by the early 1930s, 6,500 books, 3,500 periodicals, five thousand pamphlets, two hundred scrapbooks of manuscripts and printing ephemera, five hundred portfolios and boxes of leaflets and broadsides, and one thousand miscellaneous items, such as palm-leaf manuscripts, papyrus leaves, portraits and photographs, printing presses and printing equipment.

The energetic and enterprising Bullen, who had the resources to assemble one of the largest collections on printing history in the country, also had the requisite taste and knowledge to acquire the choicest rarities, the most renowned among which is the Canon missae, printed in Mainz by Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer in 1458, one of three recorded copies and the only one in an American collection. This magnificent folio was purchased by the University in 1941, along with the entire American Type Founders Company Library, largely because of strong recommendations by the staff and faculty and the firm support of President Nicholas Murray Butler. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library became very quickly a major resource for research in the artistic, technical and economic aspects of printing.

Early in the 1940s significant gifts were received from Frederick Coykendall, chairman of the University's Board of Trustees, and from Edwin Patrick Kilroe, the historian of the Society of Tammany and assistant District Attorney for New York County. Coykendall began in 1940 to present a series of annual gifts of first editions of English and Irish poetry that would continue until his death in 1954. More than six thousand volumes and several hundred autograph letters and manuscripts from the Victorian period, the 1890s and the Edwardian age were received, among which were first editions of the poetry of Robert Bridges, Coventry Patmore, W. B. Yeats, Edmund Blunden and Oscar Wilde, and publications of the Poetry Bookshop in London and the Cuala Press in Ireland. In 1942, Kilroe presented his collection of 2,500 volumes documenting the history of the Tammany movement from the eighteenth century to the New Deal era; this comprehensive gift also included manuscripts, autograph letters, original cartoons and engravings, as well as thousands of pieces of city, state and national campaign memorabilia.

Editions of classical authors from the epistles of Cicero printed by Nicolaus Jenson in 1470 to specimens of modern fine printing, formed by Professor Gonzalez Lodge over a period of forty years while he was associated with the University, was bequeathed by him in 1942; a fund for the collection's maintenance and development was received in 1948 in the bequest made by his widow Ida Stanwood Lodge. Among the one hundred incunabula and two thousand editions of sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century books, there is a special emphasis on editions of the Roman playwright Plautus which Lodge collected over the thirty years during which he wrote his major work, Lexicon Plautinum.

William Schermerhorn's gift in 1902 of the De Witt Clinton papers marked the beginning of the active acquisition of collections of original manuscripts, autograph letters and documents, though all of these types were well represented in the Libraries before this date. In the early decades of this century the large book collections donated or bequeathed, such as the Brander Matthews and David Eugene Smith collections, contained significant groups of manuscripts among their diversified holdings. However, during the immediate post-World War II era the collecting of manuscripts and archives in their own right began to take on ever greater importance. Particularly notable factors in this development were the establishment of the Edgar A. and Frederic Bancroft Foundation in the Libraries, the Internal Revenue Service's rulings allowing deductions at fair retail values for self-created manuscript materials donated to charitable institutions (voided in the Tax Reform Act of 1969), the general availability of authors' collections both in this country and abroad, especially Britain, and the stimulus received through the reactivation of the organization of the Friends. Collecting began to take on a more developmental nature, policies defining acquisition goals were established, and gifts began to be received in greater numbers than before. The name of the division was changed from the Rare Book Department to the Department of Special Collections when Roland O. Baughman was appointed its head in 1946 to succeed Charles Adams. (The current name, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, was adopted in 1975 to reflect more accurately the division's specialized resources.)

Two years after the University marked its bicentennial in 1954, the opportunity arose to purchase the papers of John Jay, a graduate of King's College who served as a member of the Continental Congress, joint commissioner with Benjamin Franklin for negotiating peace with Great Britain, a co-author of The Federalist, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and negotiator in 1794 of what came to be known as "Jay's Treaty" with Great Britain. Through widespread support, both individual and foundation, the outstanding collection of more than two thousand letters from the statesmen and patriots of the Revolutionary period was acquired in 1956. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Rufus King, the Marquis de Lafayette, Gouverneur Morris and George Washington are just a few of the notable men of the times represented in the collection by lengthy series of letters. There is also a draft in Jay's hand of "Federalist Number 5"; and, added by the Class of 1923 in 1973, are Jay's manuscript diary which he kept while serving as peace negotiator in Paris in 1782 and the diary notes of his conversations with Franklin in 1783 and 1784. The Bancroft Foundation also provided assistance in the purchase of the Jay papers, as well as being wholly responsible for the acquisitions of the papers of Gouverneur Morris and Alexander Hamilton, as well as the papers of the writers Hart Crane and Stephen Crane.

Alfred C. and Madeleine Berol and Solton and Julia Engel stand out among the donors of the 1950s. Their numerous and substantial gifts were to set the bases for the growth of the collections during the next two decades. In 1956 the Berols established the magnificent Arthur Rackham Collection with the presentation of the artist's published work, nearly four hundred items, including virtually all of Rackham's books, as well as a substantial proportion of his published magazine illustrations. Through an impressive series of annual gifts the holdings grew to include an imposing archive of nearly seven hundred drawings, watercolors and paintings, and thirty sketchbooks. At the time of the Rackham centenary exhibition in 1967 the artist's daughter, Mrs. Barbara Edwards, confirmed that the Collection had become the most extensive and comprehensive assemblage in private or public hands of her father's work.

The Berols presented three additional collections, each of which forms a significant resource. Presented from 1960 to 1964, the Frederic R. Kirkland collection of letters on the American Revolution, along with additional letters that the Berols collected, included scarce autographs of Aaron Burr and John Paul Jones and a series of sixteen letters written by Henry Laurens to his son. The Arthur Billings Hunt Collection of American Music, donated from 1964 to 1966, emphasizes, among its three thousand volumes and twenty-five thousand pieces of sheet music, eighteenth and nineteenth century American and English harmonies and psalmodies, publications of the American composer Benjamin Carr, first and early printings of Stephen Foster sheet music, and early printings of "The Star Spangled Banner." Of unmatched importance among the Berols' gifts is the group of twelve Ephrata imprints and illuminated manuscripts, which includes five of the eight known volumes composed by Johann Conrad Beissel, founder of the Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, including Die Turteltaube and the Paradisisches Wunderspiel. The latter gift placed the Library among the few institutions with significant holdings in this esoteric field of Americana.

Mr. and Mrs. Solton Engel presented to alma mater a series of more than five hundred printed and manuscript rarities that could not have been acquired except through their unique and far-reaching generosity. Their collection was established in 1952 with the gift of sixty-five Rudyard Kipling copyright editions and the author's first book, Schoolboy Lyrics, autographed on the title-page. In quick succession they presented: Edgar Allan Poe's second book, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems, 1829, inscribed by Poe's sister Rosalie MacKenzie Poe; the Moncure D. Conway copy of Leaves of Grass, signed by Whitman on the title-page into which was laid the copy in Whitman's hand of Emerson's famous letter praising the poet "at the beginning of a great career"; the first printed edition of Marco Polo's account of his voyages, Nuremberg, 1477, with the rare woodcut frontispiece portrait in contemporary color; and the holograph manuscript of four poems by Kipling that were published in the Pall Mall Magazine, 1893-1894. When a centennial exhibition of the works of L. Frank Baum was being planned in 1956, the Engels added a number of scarce and unique items, including the first issue of The Wizard of Oz, inscribed by the author to his sister three months before the regular publication date.

There was the unforgettable occasion when Solton Engel learned to his shocked surprise that the Library's series of Shakespeare Folios was incomplete, lacking the scarce Third Folio of 1663 and the handsome Fourth of 1685. He vowed to obtain them and to add them to the Collection, as he indeed did in 1958 and 1960, respectively. The Engels also established a collection of American and English art and literary posters with the gift of more than 7,500 exemplars dating from 1875 to 1930, which included work of the greatest names of American poster art, Edwin Abbey, Will Bradley, Maxfield Parrish, Edward Penfield and Frederic Remington. One of the most handsome and elegant pieces in this collection is the original gouache painting by Alphonse Mucha for the poster advertising Job cigarette papers. A bequest from Solton Engel established a fund whose income assures the continued growth and diversification of the Engel Collection, and Mrs. Engel's frequent gifts since her husband's death have added significant rarities, such as first editions in the original boards, uncut, of Don Juan and Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, received in 1983 shortly before her death.

The collections continued to be enhanced in the 1950s by a number of important individual gifts. The holograph manuscript of Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee" was received from Mrs. Alexander McMillan Welch. Two George Washington diaries, those for 1795 and 1798, the only two not at the Library of Congress, were presented by Mr. Charles Moran, Jr. The widely-known copy of A Christmas Carol, inscribed by Charles Dickens to a young boy, Frank Powell, was given by Mrs. Hilda Ward, and the Eliot Indian Bible, 1661-1663, was donated by Mrs. Seth Low Pierpont. Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, donated her papers and correspondence files in 1955; and in 1957 Dr. Jessie Taft and Mrs. Pierre Simon presented the correspondence and manuscripts of the psychologist Otto Rank, a collection that included the original manuscript of Sigmund Freud's Massenpsychologie und Ich-analyse.

Daniel Longwell, a founding editor of Life magazine and the editor of the memoirs of Winston Churchill that were published in the national magazine, established the Churchill Collection in 1957 with the donation of a complete set of first editions of the statesman's writings, as well as manuscripts, autograph letters and memorabilia. In memory of her husband George Macy, Mrs. Helen Macy in 1957 presented, at a ceremony in Low Library Rotunda at which the major address was delivered by Sir Francis Meynell, the complete set of imprints of The Limited Editions Club, comprising nearly three hundred volumes. The bequest from Mrs. Macy, received in 1979, added to the collection the Liber Amicorum of Congratulations and Good Will to G. M., a volume containing one hundred letters, original drawings and broadsides received from authors, artists and printers to mark the silver anniversary of The Limited Editions Club, May 11, 1954, and to honor its founder. T. M. Cleland, Valenti Angelo, Fritz Eichenberg, Thomas Hart Benton, Lynton Lamb, Edward A. Wilson and Lynd Ward are several of the artists represented in the volume, which had as its frontispiece the charcoal portrait of George Macy by Norman Rockwell.

During the 1960s the literary holdings were strengthened by gifts of the Eleanor Robson Belmont Papers, the Harry Scherman Papers on the Book-of-the-Month Club, the Alfred M. Hellman collection of D. H. Lawrence first editions and manuscripts and the Justin O'Brien collection on André Gide and other French writers. The acquisitions of the Robert Flaherty Papers on the documentary motion picture and the Joseph Urban Collection on theater design represented a growing emphasis on the performing arts. The succession of impressive gifts from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust added a series of early printed books, the most important of which is the complete book of The Revelation of St. John the Divine from the Bible printed by Johann Gutenberg in Mainz, ca. 1454-1455.

Four research collections were established wholly, or in part, by Corliss Lamont. The first large collection in whose acquisition, along with three other donors, he played a significant role was the Baruch Spinoza Collection formed through the purchases in 1947 of the libraries of Adolph S. Oko and Carl Gebhardt, renowned Spinoza scholars. Because of Corliss Lamont's interest in George Santayana, he established in 1954 the major collection of the philosopher's manuscripts, correspondence, poetry notebooks and association books. In 1968 the donor formed yet another collection with the gift of ninety-nine letters written by John Masefield, the Poet Laureate and friend of the Lamont family. This collection would grow over the next decade into a resource of more than one thousand letters, manuscripts, drawings and inscribed editions, and would include among its holdings the series of seventy-two letters written by Masefield to his wife in 1917 when he was with the British Army in northern France, Masefield's own copy of The Poetical Works of John Keats with his notes, copy number 1 of the limited first edition of Reynard the Fox, inscribed to the poet's wife and embellished by him with more than one hundred watercolor drawings, and the original warrant of appointment as Poet Laureate signed by the Lord Chamberlain. To the Masefield Collection the poet's goddaughter, the late Helen MacLachlan, added nearly two thousand letters, manuscripts and memorabilia.

Alfred and Madeleine Berol, Dan Burne Jones and Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger joined Corliss Lamont in 1972 in establishing the Rockwell Kent Collection by acquiring for the Library more than 4,500 drawings, sketches, watercolors and prints. The full range of Kent's remarkable career is represented, including: architectural studies while a student at Columbia in 1904; his renowned illustrations for Shakespeare, Moby Dick, Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and Candide; and his designs for menus, jewelry, murals, stamps, tiles and dinnerware.

During the early decades of this century the University sent many young graduates into book publishing in New York, among them, Alfred Harcourt, Donald Brace, Alfred A. Knopf, Bennett Cerf, M. Lincoln Schuster, Richard Simon, George Delacorte, Ian Ballentine, George Macy and Robert Giroux. It seemed natural that the Library collect their literary and editorial papers, and at the end of the 1960s these collections began to arrive at Butler Library. Discussions with Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer in 1964 led to the formal gift of the Random House papers in 1970. These files, now numbering more than one million letters and manuscripts, contain the publishing history of many of the significant American writers of this century, such as Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Sinclair Lewis, John O'Hara, Gertrude Stein, W. H. Auden, Robinson Jeffers, Robert Penn Warren, William Carlos Williams, Clifford Odets, Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams.

The W. W. Norton Papers arrived in 1968, followed in 1972 and 1974 by the Harper & Row archives and their library of imprints and contract files. The papers of M. Lincoln Schuster, co-founder of Simon & Schuster, were presented by his estate and by Mrs. Schuster and the Schuster family from 1971 to 1980. The papers of Schuster's partner, Richard L. Simon, were donated by his widow, Andrea Simon, in 1982, thereby comprehensively documenting at the Library the early history of that firm. In 1975 Mrs. Phyllis Cerf Wagner presented a selection of Random House books inscribed to her late husband; several years later, the diaries and scrapbooks that he kept from his undergraduate years until his death; and in 1983, his library of first editions and fine printing.

In developing the policy for collecting publishing archives, it became apparent that the writing and marketing of books had changed dramatically during the past several decades; if the Library wished to maintain a strong focus in the publishing process on the author, it would be necessary to collect the files of the literary agents as well. The first such collection to arrive was that of James Oliver Brown, received in 1971. Louis Auchincloss, Erskine Caldwell, Ford Madox Ford, Herbert Gold, Katherine Anne Porter and Rebecca West were among his clients and those of his predecessor George T. Bye. The files of Annie Laurie Williams, John Steinbeck's and Margaret Mitchell's agent, were received the same year. The country's first literary agent, Paul Revere Reynolds, who established his business in New York in 1893, was succeeded by his son who donated their firm's files in 1972. Willa Cather, Theodore Dreiser, Ellen Glasgow, Frank Norris, Beatrice and Sidney Webb and H. G. Wells were represented by Reynolds. The files of the American firm of Curtis Brown Ltd. were received in 1976, containing letters and documents of W. H. Auden, Elizabeth Bowen, Joyce Cary, John Cheever, Lawrence Durrell, Ian Fleming, Robert Graves, Christopher Isherwood, Ogden Nash, Mary Renault and C. P. Snow. Other agents' files now in the archives include those of John Cushman, Harold Matson, Harold Ober, Leah Salisbury, John Schaffner and Blanche Gregory.

Distinctive holdings were also acquired for the rare book collections during the 1970s. Professor Frances Henne presented nearly one thousand imprints of McLoughlin Brothers, the most significant publisher of children's books in America during the nineteenth century. The library of Alexander Hamilton was received from Edith Peltz Hamilton in 1973, along with two hundred letters written by and to the statesman. The Abraham Lincoln and John Steinbeck collections formed by the late Dr. Alfred M. Hellman were presented in 1975 and 1976 by his son-in-law Morton Pepper, who also donated in 1975 the collection of early astronomy books formed by his late wife, C. Doris Hellman.

To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the re-activation of the Friends of the Libraries in 1976, the organization presented the complete series of 127 drawings by Rockwell Kent for the 1936 edition of Leaves of Grass, published by the Heritage Press in New York and the Nonesuch Press in London. Individual Friends added special significance to the event by making commemorative donations: Robert Lowell's first book, Land of Unlikeness, 1944, inscribed to Melville Cane and donated by him; a Juvenal collection presented by Gilbert Highet which ranged in date from the 1475 Venice edition printed by Jacobus Rubeus to A. E. Housman's annotated copies of the 1903 edition; the widely-known Dante Gabriel Rossetti drawing of Tennyson reading "Maud" to the Brownings, presented by Mary Hyde; four engraved plates prepared by Henri Matisse for his illustrations for The Limited Editions Club edition of James Joyce's Ulysses, donated by Helen Macy; the establishment by Coleman O. Parsons of a collection of Scottish literature with the gift of 450 volumes; and the first edition in wrappers of Marcel Proust's first book, Les Plaisirs et les Jours, 1896, presented by Gordon N. Ray along with seventeen other important French illustrated books of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

One other notable acquisition of the 1970s remains to be recorded in this survey of the collections--the bequest of the Jack Harris Samuels library. In the twenty-five years during which he collected, from the time he attended graduate school in 1940 until his death in 1966, Samuels amassed a library of nearly three thousand first editions, association books and manuscripts covering more than four centuries of English and American literature. This formidable collection was bequeathed by the collector's mother, Mollie Harris Samuels, in 1970, and formally transferred to the University in 1974.

The 1545 edition of Chaucer is the earliest volume in the library, and the first editions of authors that Jack Samuels was reading in the 1960s are the most recent, Tennessee Williams, William Carlos Williams, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Robert Frost and T. S. Eliot, among others. He especially admired the drama of the Restoration, the poetry of the eighteenth century, Australian fiction (the subject of his master's essay) and Victorian three decker novels. The holdings of Anthony Trollope are complete, and include the rare The Macdermots of Ballycloran, 1847, and The Kellys and the O'Kellys, 1848, the author's first two books, both in the original cloth bindings. Among first editions of twentieth century authors, in addition to those already noted, are collections of books by E. M. Forster, John Galsworthy, Baron Corvo, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw.

Individual rarities abound in the Samuels library. There is a virtually pristine copy of Edmund Spenser's Colin Clouts Come Home Again, 1595, once owned by the poet Frederick Locker-Lampson. One of the rarest drama quartos, Christopher Marlowe's The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta, 1633, is also present. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language, 1755, and James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791, are both in the original boards, uncut. Herman Melville's The Whale, published in three volumes in London in 1851, preceding the American edition, is an exceptionally bright copy. Among the more than 150 three deckers, many from the collection formed by Michael Sadleir, are fine copies in the original boards or cloth bindings of Jane Eyre, The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Sense and Sensibility, The Return of the Native and The Egoist.

Association books, long favored by collectors, were also prized by Jack Samuels, and he acquired several hundred either owned or inscribed by, among others, Henry James, H. G. Wells, Norman Douglas, Katherine Mansfield, John Galsworthy, Ford Madox Ford, Max Beerbohm and T. E. Lawrence. Stephen Crane's first novel, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, 1893, is signed by the author and inscribed by him to L. S. Linson. The copy of Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma, 1911, originally belonged to Beerbohm, who on facing preliminary pages sketched two portraits of the author in pencil. Ulysses is inscribed by Joyce to John Middleton Murry on publication day, April 27, 1922, and Sons and Lovers is inscribed by Lawrence to Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry. W. H. Auden's first book, Poems, privately printed by hand by Stephen Spender in 1928 during a summer vacation, once belonged to the novelist William Plomer and is autographed by him on the front wrapper. The treasures of the Samuels library will long continue to reveal their significance to the bibliographer and scholar.

As the Library moved into the 1980s, the Friends Endowed Fund reached its goal, and, as specified, the income was to be used to acquire important printed and manuscript rarities. Mention of several significant acquisitions will indicate the positive effect that the Fund has had on the Library's collections. American literary holdings have been enhanced by the acquisition of one of the six recorded copies of James Fenimore Cooper's The Water Witch, published in Dresden in 1830s, along with a leaf from the original manuscript; and of corrected typewritten manuscripts of Tennessee Williams's four plays, Battle of Angels, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and Summer and Smoke. Along with the original pen drawings by Evelyn Waugh for Black Mischief, the poetry notebooks of Louis MacNeice stand out among the English literary acquisitions. Most recent of the acquisitions made possible by the Fund is the series of 121 drawings by Randolph Caldecott for Washington Irving's Christmas stories.

In recent years the research resources have continued to strengthen in our major collecting areas. The growth of the archival collections has focused strongly on the social sciences and the humanities, and acquisitions have included the papers of William Russell Grace, Community Service Society, George D. Woods, Charles Evans Hughes, Ruth Nanda Anshen, the August Belmont family and Arthur Symons. Among smaller, but significant, groups of manuscripts are the diaries of Hester Lynch Piozzi, the letters and poetry manuscripts of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, and the literary manuscripts of Virgil Thomson. Also transferred to the Library's administration during this period have been the Herbert H. Lehman Papers and the extensive holdings of the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture.

Book collections added during recent years have included the Frederic Rolfe, Baron Corvo, collection formed by Stuart B. Schimmel, the Benjamin Disraeli collection assembled by William B. Liebmann, and the important group of English first editions and association books received from Eleanor Tilton, including the extraordinary copy of Anthony Trollope's Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite inscribed by the author to George Eliot, "the first living English novelist." In 1980 the Library received the Aaron W. Berg bequest of nearly five hundred first editions, a print collection comprising forty etchings and lithographs, primarily by American artists, and an endowment, the income from which will provide for the annual purchase of rare editions and manuscripts of American and British authors. The gifts of Ruth Ulmann Samuel over a fifteen year period and the bequest received in 1980 established a fund to provide for the acquisition of illustrated books in memory of her father Albert Ulmann.

Donors have continued to enrich the collections by their generous gifts of important single items. The oil portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, ca. 1715, has been presented by Robert Halsband. The Chew family of Philadelphia has added to the Historical Map Collection the renowned 1768 map by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon that marked the conclusion of one of the most famous boundary disputes in American history. The letter written by President Abraham Lincoln to President Charles King on June 26, 1861, acknowledging the University's honorary degree conferred upon him, was presented by the family of the Scottish historian and lawyer, A. R. B. Haldane.

Though the history of the collections begins with the founding of the institution, it was not until the present century that the growth of publishing and the ensuing proliferation of printed and manuscript records reached the seemingly overwhelming numbers whose organization and preservation have become the special responsibilities of libraries, and, more specifically, of rare book and manuscript libraries. Such growth is easily substantiated by noting that the Rare Book and Manuscript Library's collections, having begun modestly, have now grown to holdings of five hundred thousand rare books of all periods and two thousand manuscript collections containing more than twenty-two million letters, manuscripts and documents.

Research resources of such magnitude have come into being largely because of the imagination and the specialized knowledge of dedicated individuals--donors, collectors, bibliographers, book dealers and librarians. Of the donors mentioned, David Eugene Smith and George R. Plimpton are perhaps the ones to whom we owe the most, not only for their benefactions, which are impressive indeed, but because they, in founding the Friends of the Libraries, realized the importance of the collector to the institution and of the institution to the collector. The collector's process of evaluation--knowing what is worthy of preserving within the precincts of a body of knowledge and what is not--along with the researcher's inquiry and assimilation, finally determine significance among the mass of printed and manuscript records that have been produced over more than four thousand years, the period of history represented by the holdings of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The more than fifteen thousand rare books and two million manuscript items consulted last year in the reading rooms, and the scores of biographies, critical studies and dissertations that are produced each year as the result of such use, make manifest the true purposes of the Library and its collections.


Collections and Treasures