Henry E. Huntington's Library of Libraries

Overview


Henry E. Huntington was one of the most important book and manuscript collectors of the twentieth century. After making a fortune in the railroad industry, he set out to build a rare book and manuscript library. He succeeded in gathering his unequaled collections over a period of only fifteen years, a result not only of personal determination and almost unlimited means but of fortunate timing. In 1911, as he began to develop a serious interest in rare books, important private collections came on the market. In ...
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Overview


Henry E. Huntington was one of the most important book and manuscript collectors of the twentieth century. After making a fortune in the railroad industry, he set out to build a rare book and manuscript library. He succeeded in gathering his unequaled collections over a period of only fifteen years, a result not only of personal determination and almost unlimited means but of fortunate timing. In 1911, as he began to develop a serious interest in rare books, important private collections came on the market. In that year, Huntington acquired the most important rarities from the Elihu D. Church and Robert Hoe collections. When other libraries became available subsequently, he responded decisively with en bloc purchases, and the "library of libraries" was born. Between 1911 and 1917, Huntington dominated the book markets of New York and London.

This book recounts the story of those tumultuous years in the book trade. The reader is taken behind the scenes at the auction houses, and the strategies of the major book dealers of the early twentieth century—especially George D. Smith and A. S. W. Rosenbach—are revealed in fascinating detail.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Neither a biography nor an institutional history, this readable book instead recounts the story of an extraordinary collector, his collecting passion, and the bookdealers who abetted him. Dickinson, a University of Arizona library science professor, details Huntington's collecting interests and methods, his relationships with dealers, especially George D. Smith and A.S.W. Rosenbach, and the staggering sums of money he spent, offering an intriguing glimpse of the upper end of the rare book trade in early-20th-century New York. Huntington's major auction purchases and his block purchases of important libraries are listed in an appendix. Recommended for rare book and library history collections.-Elizabeth Brice, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Booknews
Recounts the story of the creation of the railroad magnate's library of rare books and private manuscript collections between 1911 and 1927, going behind the scenes at auction houses and major book dealers to reveal the genesis of what is now a renowned center for humanistic research. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873282031
  • Publisher: Huntington Library Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author


Donald C. Dickinson, Professor Emeritus of library science at the University of Arizona, Tucson, is the author of The Dictionary of American Book Collectors (1986), George Watson Cole (1990), The Dictionary of American Antiquarian Book Dealers (1998), Dictionary of American Antiquarian Bookdealers (1998), and numerous articles on book collecting and bibliography.
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