11 March 2013

Bought By Association

My previous post on the Dunedin City Library’s copy of Richard Knolles’s Turkish History (London, 1687) inscribed by Samuel Pepys generated some questions about how the book fit within Sir Alfred Hamish Reed’s collecting interests.

Known primarily as a collector of medieval manuscripts, notable editions of the Bible, autograph letters, and the works of Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens, Reed also collected association copies. ‘To hold in the hand’, wrote Reed, ‘a book that has been inscribed or written in by some famous person, seems … to bring one nearer to him as nothing else, save an autograph letter, can do’ (279).

Association copies were an early collecting interest of Reed’s. Evidence suggests he was acquiring them by at least 1920, if not earlier. His approach was broad, and took in all the points later described in John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors:

‘This term, often scoffed at by laymen, is applied to a copy which once belonged to, or was annotated by, the author; which once belonged to someone connected with the author or someone of interest in his own right; or again, and perhaps most interestingly, belonged to someone peculiarly associated with its contents’ (27).

In all, Reed's 1948 Deed of Gift records just over 140 association books, mostly presentation copies such as Knolles’s Turkish History. Through further acquisitions by Reed and subsequent purchases made by the Library, the collection today numbers about 570 volumes divided into two sequences: New Zealand and non-New Zealand publications/ associations.

What follows is a selection of books highlighting some of the association copies in the Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection. A secondary reason for this post is I hope readers (or someone you may know) familiar with the signatures/ handwriting of the former owners will contact me should any appear wrongly attributed. Reed purchased these titles in good faith, but objective confirmation is welcome.

Joseph Addison. The Spectator, 8 vols (London, 1749).

The first and sixth volumes are signed by the great eighteenth-century literary figure, Samuel Johnson (17091784).

A photostat of the title-page (along with copies of other Johnsoniana in the collection) was sent to the Johnson scholar J. D. Fleeman in 1968. Fleeman replied with 'delight and enthusiasm' at Reed's ownership of Johnson's copy of Addison's Spectator, confirmed its genuineness, and later listed the book in his A Preliminary Handlist of Copies of Books Associated with Dr. Samuel Johnson (Oxford, 1984).

William Dillingham. Vita Laurentii Chadertoni S. T. P. & Collegii Emmanuelis apud Cantabrigienses magistri primi (Cantabrigiae, [1700]).

A gift from the publishers to the writer and printer Samuel Richardson (16891761), author of Pamela and Clarissa.

It seems unlikely that Richardson received this book the year it was published, being he was just eleven at the time. However, from 1744 until his death, Richardson printed the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. The volumes were produced for the Society's printers Samuel Smith and Benjamin Walford, who were involved in the publication of Dillingham's work on the life of English Divine Laurence Chaderton (ca. 15361640).

A. E. M. Grétry. Mémoires, ou Essais sur la Musique (Paris, [1797]).

With the bookplate of the poet Edward FitzGerald (18091883), known for his translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

In volume one of his Sale Catalogues of Libraries of Eminent Persons (London, 19711975), A. N. L. Munby notes that Trinity College, Cambridge, holds several volumes of 'incongruously bound collections of tracts and excerpts which it was FitzGerald's habit to make up' (Munby, 1:335). FitzGerald's copy of Grétry's Mémoires appears to have received the same treatment, for the volume is made up of various, out of order sequences of leaves from the three volume 1797 reprint of the 1789 first edition.

FitzGerald's bookplate was designed by his friend, the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (18111863)

The Holy Bible Containing the Old and the New [Testaments] (Cambridge, 1668).

Affixed to the front pastedown of this 1668 Cambridge Bible is a note dated 13 July 1675 written by Lazarus Seaman (d. 1675), a Presbyterian minister, Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge (1644 to 1660), and active member of the Westminster Assembly.

The 1676 auction of Seaman's library was the first sale of books by public auction held in England. Not every book was included in the sale and no English bibles are recorded in the catalogue. According to B. J. McMullin's note 'Lazarus Seaman and his bequest to James Hulbert', published in The Bulletin of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand 14:4 (June 1990), the number three (top left corner) suggests two other books were similarly assigned to other recipients and that the absence of English bibles form the catalogue implies these were most likely given as personal gifts before Seaman's death. Although Hulbert's identity is unknown, McMullin proposes that he may have been a member of Seaman's Silver Street congregation.

Mark Pattison. Milton (London, 1879).

The gift inscription found on the front pastedown was written by Henry George Liddell to his daughter, Alice Pleasance, who was the prototype for Lewis Carroll's Alice of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland fame.

Alice (18521934) was four when she and her siblings met the then twenty-four-year-old Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (18321898), during his visit to their father's deanery in April 1856. Dodgson became a family friend and, on 4 July 1862, invented the story of Alice in Wonderland while on a river picnic with the children. The following year, however, Dodgson was banished from the Liddell household due to an unexplained incident (possibly a marriage proposal made by Dodgson to Alice, then twelve), and his correspondence with Alice, once renewed, was polite at best afterwards (ODNB).

Alice would have been twenty-seven when she received this book in December 1879, and less than a year away from her marriage to Reginald Gervis Hargreaves (18511926) in September 1880.

J. H. Stirling. Jerrold, Tennyson and Macaulay (Edinburgh, 1868).

Presentation copy sent by the author, James Hutchison Stirling (18201909), to the eminent biographer and historian Thomas Carlyle (17951881).

According to his entry in the ODNB, Stirling was 'an ardent admirer of Carlyle ... [who] corresponded with the sage as early as 1842, mimicked his passionate style, adopted his cultural pretensions, and took his advice to learn French and German as a means to mastery over contemporary European literature and philosophy'.

Beneath the inscription are pencilled notes in Carlyle's hand. Though he found pages 172 to 224 'worth reading', it appears Carlyle found much of the rest of Stirling's text to be 'noisy - trivial'.

Anthony Trollope. British Sports and Pastimes (London, 1868).

A little known work edited by Anthony Trollope (18151882), the copy held by the Dunedin City Library appears to have been the novelist's own, and contains numerous editing marks and annotations in Trollope's hand.

The work was reprinted from articles originally published in St. Paul’s Magazine, of which Trollope was the editor from 1867 until it ceased publication in 1870. Eight articles covering horseracing, hunting, shooting, fishing, yachting, rowing, alpine climbing, and cricket are included in the book, to which Trollope contributed the preface and chapter on hunting.

Did Trollope mark up this copy with the intention of producing a second edition? No later edition is known to exist, but the title was reissued six times (see Michael Sadlier's Trollope bibliography, pp. 218-219). It is therefore possible that the edits in the Reed copy are reflected in one of the reissues.

[For more information, see my short contribution in Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society 83 (Spring 2009): 813.]

John Walker. A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language (London, 1834).

The front free endpaper and title-page are signed 'Marian Evans', who is perhaps better known by her pen name 'George Eliot'.

Evans (18191880) would have been just fifteen years old when she signed the book, if the ownership inscription coincides with the publication date. In 1834, she was enrolled in Miss Franklin's school in Coventry, where she excelled at the piano, in French, and in English composition, perhaps with the aid of Walker's Dictionary.

Charles Walton. Essays on Natural History, Chiefly Ornithology (London, 1838).

The Reed collection includes four books from the library of Charles Dickens (18121870). None, however, are as intimately attached to one of Dickens’s most memorable characters as Waterton’s Essays on Natural History. The character is, of course, Barnaby Rudge’s pet raven 'Grip', the second of Dickens’s popular animal characters (the first being the dog 'Bullseye' from Oliver Twist), who was a composite of two successive ravens of that name which formed part of the Dickens household while he was writing Barnaby Rudge (88 weekly parts, February to November 1841).

Dickens used 'Grip' to great comic effect, and justified its creation by writing: 'Barnaby being an idiot my notion is to have him always in company with a pet raven who is immeasurably more knowing than himself'. Dickens quoted from Waterton in his preface to Barnaby Rudge, and the pencilled markings in the chapter on ravens, bears evidence that it assisted Dickens in describing the fictional 'Grip'.

The other books from Dickens's library held by Dunedin City Library are: R. H. Horne's Ballad Romances (London, 1846) and John Hollingshead's Ways of Life (London, 1861), both inscribed by the authors to Dickens, and a French translation of Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop published in Paris in 1857 (also with the bookplate of the Comte Alain de Suzannet (18821950)).


John Carter and Nicolas Barker. ABC for Book Collectors (New Castle, DE; London: Oak Knoll Books; the British Library, 2004, eighth edition)

A. H. Reed. An Autobiography (Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1967)

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