Columbia Library columns (v.10(1960Nov-1961May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.10,no.1(1960:Nov): Page 4  

4                               Frajicis T. P. Plimpton

16,000 manuscripts and early editions of what he called "our tools
of learning."

The collection, which contains many notable items, will be the
subject of a separate article which will be printed in the February,
1961, issue. The focus of the present article is upon the collector
as a man and as a discriminating assembler of books, manuscripts,
and other objects of utility and value.

The collector brought together not only educational manu¬
scripts and early printed books, but all sorts and conditions of
things. In memory of his first wife, Frances Taylor Pearsons
Plimpton, who died in 1900, and who was devoted to Italian liter¬
ature, he presented to Wellesley College, her alma mater, the li¬
brary of original and early editions of Italian authors which bears
her name. Marion Crawford, in an address to the Grolier Club
when the library was on exhibition there, said

"The collection ... is one of the most complete private collections in
the world... The generous giver who is about to bestow this precious
library upon Wellesley College has labored with hands of love, and he
has labored long ... For my own part, when I view this rich and rare
collection, I am inclined to esteem the love of the subject which pro¬
duced it even more highly than I view the books themselves."

A catalogue of the library was published by the Harvard Uni¬
versity Press in 1929.

Quite late in life he began a collection of contemporary por¬
traits of English authors, which buigeoned into almost 50 items,
ranging from the outstanding Occleve portrait of Chaucer, pur¬
chased at the Baroness Burdett Coutts sale in London, through a
somewhat dubious i6io portrait of Shakespeare at the age of 46
by one Lynde (otherwise unknown), a contemporary portrait
(1673) of John Bunyan which was formerly owned by Robert
Louis Stevenson, and a Dryden by Godfrey Kneller, to a pencil
drawing of Shelley by the Lieutenant ^^'illiams who was drowned
with him in 1822. The collection is now on the walls of the Presi¬
dent's House at Amherst College, which is currently occupied by
  v.10,no.1(1960:Nov): Page 4