Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Collections / Books and Other Printed Materials / British Literature

British Literature

Besides the early British imprints already noted, a wealth of English literature is in the collections, including the original parts of Dickens's Bleak House, David Copperfield, Dombey and Son, Little Dorrit, Master Humphrey's Clock, Nicholas Nickleby, and The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, as well as All the Year Round, edited by Dickens from 1859 to June 1870. Three Dickens letters in the Frederick G. Kitton Papers are also available. First editions of Thackeray's The Adventures of Philip on His Way through the World and Our Street have letters by the author laid in. Original parts for Trollope's The Last Chronicle of Barset and The Way We Live Now are in the collections, as are first or early editions of thirteen titles by James Joyce. Samuel Johnson's 1755 A Dictionary of the English Language, a lexicographical landmark, is included as well.


Major holdings:

Thomas Carlyle Collection

The Carlyle Collection of more than 650 titles is among the more complete in this country. Presented by Isaac Watson Dyer (Bowd. 1878), it contains works by and about Carlyle, as well as several volumes of pamphlets. Although many of these works are not reflected in the online catalog, a card catalog is available in the department.

Dyer collected this material in preparing his Bibliography of Thomas Carlyle, published in 1928. It remained the definitive work until the publication of Rodger Tarr's Thomas Carlyle: A Descriptive Bibliography in 1989, for which Tarr made extensive use of this collection. Dyer's research papers and a small collection of Carlyle letters are also part of the collections.

Shakespeare's Works:

The Second and Fourth Folios of Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories and Tragedies (1632 and 1685) are in the collections. Eighteenth-century editions of Shakespeare's works, acquired by Stanley Perkins Chase (Bowd. 1905), Chapman Professor of English Literature, complement the two Folios. They range from Nicholas Rowe's 1709 edition to Edmond Malone's of 1790 and include versions edited by Alexander Pope and Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Most are not represented in the online catalog, but a card catalog is available in the department.

John Frost Play Collection:

The collection comprises more than fifty plays, mostly by early British playwrights, from the estate of John Frost (Bowdoin 1904). Dating from the late-seventeenth through early-eighteenth centuries, it includes pieces by William Congreve, George Farquhar, Oliver Goldsmith, Hugh Kelly, Fanny Kemble, and Sir Richard Steele.

Although not listed in the online catalog, a list of these plays is available in the department.
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288