19th Century Collection

The Armstrong Browning Library's 19th Century Collection, begun in the 1980s, strengthens and enhances the core Armstrong Browning Library Collection with first and early editions of the works of nineteenth-century authors other than the Brownings, both British and American. This collection has grown to over 4,500 titles and has especially notable holdings of the works of John Ruskin and Charles Dickens. Click HERE to see a complete list of the books, pamphlets, and tracts in the 19th Century Collection, which can be sorted by author, title, or year of publication

19th Century Sub-Collections

Included in the 19th Century Collection are several important sub-collections, each linked to a list of holdings provided by OneSearch:

  • Women Poets Collection
    This growing collection of over 400 titles consists of poetry written and published in English from 1800 to 1900. The collection includes a few titles published in the early 20th century (1901 - 1919), in instances where the same poet published works in the 19th century. While the emphasis is on poetry published in Britain, works published in the United States are also included.

    Embracing a wide range of styles, written by women whose station in life ranged from dairymaid to grand lady, the collection includes topics such as religion, ancient Greek and Roman myth, daily life, romance, nature, motherhood, and local and national history.

    The majority of this collection has been digitized and each volume is searchable by keyword. Link to the digitized portion of the collection HERE.

  • Minor English Poets Collection
    This is a collection of 249 titles of minor English verse from the age of Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901).

  • Tract Collection
    This is a collection of over 250 small-size tracts, dating from the 1830s to the 1870s, which were produced in large numbers in Britain for the wealthy to buy in bulk and distribute to those less fortunate. Intended to be read by the poor and the semi-literate, most of the tracts have a religious theme or a moral lesson. Many in the ABL's collection were written for children and often contain a simple illustration. This type of "street literature" reveals subjects considered relevant to everyday life in nineteenth-century Britain.

  • Theological Pamphlets Collection
    Over 1,500 British theological pamphlets document the fervent religious debates of the nineteenth century, particularly those revolving around the "Oxford Movement" or "Tractarian Movement" of High Church Anglicans. Included are sermons, addresses, lectures, printed letters, discourses, charges, and society proceedings. The collection has been subdivided into:

    Examples of the holdings in the 19th Century Collection are:

    • First edition, 1838, of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, or, The Parish Boy's Progress in three volumes; illustrated by George Cruikshank; with the "fireside" plate that was canceled in later issues
    • Bleak House by Charles Dickens, illustrations by H. K. Browne; first edition in 20 numbers issued monthly, from March 1852 to September 1853
    • Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass; first edition with press notices inserted at front (1855) and a second edition (1856)
    • James Russell Lowell's Among My Books, 1876; first edition, second issue; signed copy of Frank Sanborn to whom the book is dedicated
    • Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature by Thomas Henry Huxley, 1863; first edition in the original pebble-grain turquoise cloth
    • First English edition of Herman Melville's first book, Narrative of a Four Months' Residence Among the Natives of a Valley of the Marquesas Islands; or, A Peep at Polynesian Life, 1846
    • John Ruskin's The Seven Lamps of Architecture, with illustrations drawn and etched by the author; first edition, 1849
    • Praeterita: Outlines of Scenes and Thoughts, Perhaps Worthy of Memory in my Past Life by John Ruskin, 1885-1889; first edition, unbound, in parts as first issued

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