02 April 2011

Recent Acquisition: Johnsonian Keepsakes

The Library recently acquired a fine collection of mostly twentieth-century Johnsoniana from the library of Dr Stephen Parks, retired curator of the James Marshall and Marie-Louise  Osborn Collection of early-English manuscripts, held by the Beinecke Library, at Yale University.

Getting part of the collection in order

The core of the collection, a run of keepsakes printed for the annual Johnsonian dinner from 1948 through 2010, was given to Dr. Parks by James Osborn. Dr. Parks added to the core group of keepsake received from Osborn and amassed a number of other related items, including souvenir printings from the Johnson societies of Southern California and the Central Region, eight souvenir port glasses, distributed to members of the Johnsonians in 1988, and over twenty additional off prints and exhibition catalogues. Among the non-keepsake material are a short collection of verse printed in 1965 aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary for noted Johnson and Boswell scholar Hermann 'Fritz' Liebert, his wife Laura and 'their friends', and a delightful  'Johnsonian Quiz', believed to have been typed up by Liebert.

Page one of 'A Johnsonian Quiz'

All of these objects are collectible, highly displayable, and would have been of great interest to Sir Alfred Hamish Reed (1875-1975), whose collecting activities established an important Samuel Johnson collection in the Dunedin Public Library. Further promotion of this acquisition is being prepared and the collection is soon to be catalogued. Feel free to contact me with any enquiries.

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