Rare Book & Manuscript Library

William Everts Benjamin papers, 1817-1940

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0100
Bib ID 4079157 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Benjamin, William Everts, 1859-1940
Title William Everts Benjamin papers, 1817-1940
Physical Description 14 linear feet (26 boxes 4 volumes)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection is arranged into 7 series.



Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, financial records, photographs, drawings, engravings, and printed materials of Benjamin. The personal and business papers concern Benjamin's publishing and bookselling company, his numerous benefactions, the disposal of his collections, and many printed catalogs for his company, 1883-1940. The two major correspondents are the business and financial records for the printing, binding, and extensive promotion through a network of agents of Stedman's A LIBRARY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE FROM THE EARLIEST SETTLEMENT TO THE PRESENT TIME; new ed. (New York, W.E. Benjamin, 1894). There are also letters, manuscripts, documents, and drawings of English literary figures collected by Benjamin. Among these are six letters of George Eliot, 47 letters and six manuscripts of John Ruskin, and three letters and one manuscript of Joseph Mallord Turner, with four letters relating to the artist. In addition there ten drawings and watercolors by Ruskin.

Also, 37 letters and one manuscript were removed from Benjamin's copy of Robert Langton's THE CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH OF CHARLES DICKENS and cataloged for this collection. One letter from Langton and 32 from others were addressed to Charles Roach Smith, a well-known antiquary of London. Several letters are concerned with numismatics (including two from John Stuart, Earl of Darnley, one each from William Henry Ashe, baron Heytesbury, and Chase Spence), but most of these letters relate to Charles Dickens: three letters from his son, Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, six from Henry Gardiner Adams, of the Mechanics' Institute of Chatham and Rochester, one each from Frederick William Fairholt, and Charles Stewart Montgomerie Lockhart, manuscript notes by John Gough Nichols, a letter from John Bowen Rowlands, one each from W.J. Taylor and Joseph Cotton Wigram, Bishop of Rochester, two from Humphrey Wood of the Mechanics' Institute, and of particular interest the two letters from Sampson Seaton, whose father was a friend of the father of the famous novelist. Many of these letters were written at the time of Dickens' death from people living in the area of Rochester and Chatham, his early childhood homes.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William Everts Benjamin papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Alternate Form Available

Royal Cortissoz and John Ruskin letters are on: microfilm.

Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of Beatrice Benjamin Cartwright & Henry Rogers Benjamin, 1943.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Cartwright, Beatrice Benjamin and Henry Rogers Benjamin. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1943. Accession number--M-43.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 04/04/89.

Revision Description

2010-01-21 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Engravings (prints) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Paintings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
A'Court, William Henry Ashe, 2nd Baron Heytesbury, 1809-1891 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Adams, H. G. (Henry Gardiner), 1811 or 1812-1881 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors, English Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Booksellers and bookselling -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Darnley, John Stuart, Earl of Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dickens, Henry F., Sir (Henry Fielding), 1849-1933 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Eliot, George, 1819-1880 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fairholt, F. W (Frederick William), 1814-1866 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Heytesbury, William Henry Ashe Holmes-à Court, Baron, 1809-1891 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Langton, Robert, 1825-1900 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lockhart, C. S. M (Charles Stewart Montgomerie) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mechanics' Institute of Chatham and Rochester Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nichols, John Gough, 1806-1873 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Numismatics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Phelps, Charles Henry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rowlands, John Bowen Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ruskin, John, 1819-1900 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Seaton, Sampson Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Smith, Charles Roach, 1807-1890 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Spence, Chase Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 1833-1908 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taylor, W. J Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Turner, J. M. W (Joseph Mallord William), 1775-1851 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wigram, Joseph Cotton Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wood, Humphrey Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Publisher, collector.