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At a Glance
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
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William Evarts 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 04/04/89.
Processed by RBML staff; revised by BRC 11/74 and 11/81.
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.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
William Evarts Benjamin (1859-1940) was a prominent publisher and collector.