Rare Book & Manuscript Library

William Evarts Benjamin papers, 1817-1940

Summary Information

At a Glance

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



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.

Preferred Citation

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 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.

Processed by RBML staff; revised by BRC 11/74 and 11/81.

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

William Evarts Benjamin (1859-1940) was a prominent publisher and collector.

After clicking 'Submit Request', users will login with their UNI and password (Columbia affiliates) or their special collections account (external users). Appointments are required and will be arranged according to each individual repository's policy.

Series I: Cataloged Correspondence

Box 1 Abbott, Lyman

Box 1 Adams, Henry Gardiner

Box 1 Benjamin, William Evarts

Box 1 Burke, John Bernard

Box 1 Byron, Anne Isabella Noël

Box 1 Campbell, Thomas

Box 1 Carrington, Katherine S. Batts

Box 1 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor

Box 1 Coles, Jonathan Ackerman

Box 1 Cirtisso, Royal

[Available on microfilm]

Box 1 Crockett, Samuel Rutherford

Box 1 Cumberland, Richard

Box 1 Darnley, John Stuart, 6th earl

Box 1 Davis, Richard Harding

Box 1 Dickens, Charles

Box 1 Dickens, Dir Henry Fielding

Box 1 Dix, Morgan

Box 1 Dumas, Alexander, fils

Box 1 Edgeworth, Maria

Box 1 Eliot, George

Box 1 Fairholt, Frederick William

Box 1 Fawkes, Walter Ramsden

Box 1 Gilbert, Thomas "Bishop of Shropshire"

Box 1 Gilder, Jeannette L.

Box 1 Goldwin, J. H.

Box 1 Hale, Edward Everett

Box 1 Hay, John

Box 1 Heytesbury, William Henry Ashe, 2nd Baron

Box 1 Homer, Winslow

Box 1 Hubbard, Elbert

Box 1 Hughes, Charles Evans

Box 1 Ireland, Joseph N.

Box 1 Jones, William Alfred

Box 1 Kitton, Frederick George

Box 1 Langton, Robert

Box 1 Leigh, Oliver

Box 1 Lockhart, Charles

Box 1 Lockhart, Charles Stuart Montgomerie

Box 1 Lubbock, Sir John, 1st Baron Avebury

Box 1 Lupton, Thomas

Box 1 Maas, Joseph

Box 1 Mayer, Joseph

Box 1 Mellon, Andrew W.

Box 1 Mills, Ogden L.

Box 1 Mitchell, Donald Grant

Box 1 Moore, Thomas Sir

Box 1 Nichols, John Gough

Box 1 Overall, William Henry

Box 1 Pearman, Augustus John

Box 1 Phelps, Charles Henry

Box 1 Purland, Theodosius

Box 2 Rheade, Louis J.

Box 2 Rockefeller, John D.

Box 2 Rowlands, John Bowen

Box 2 Ruskin, John

[Also on microfilm]

Box 2 Seaton, Sampson

Box 2 Sheridan, Richard Brinsley

Box 2 Smith, Charles Roach

Box 2 Spence, Chas.

Box 3 Stedman, Edmund C.

Box 3 Symons, Arthur

Box 3 Taylor, W. J.

Box 3 Turner, Joseph Mallord William

Box 3 Vanderbilt, George W.

Box 3 Walcott, Mackenzie Edward Charles

Box 3 Wigram, Joseph Cotton, Bishop of Rochester

Box 3 Wilson, Harriett

Box 3 Wood, Humprey

Box 3 Wright, Thomas

Box 3 Miscelleneous

Series II: Catalogs

Box 4 Duplicate File: Set No. 1

Box 5 Duplicate File: Set No. 2

Series III: Business & Personal Papers

Box 6 American Antiquarian Society , Worcester, MA, 1927-1941

Box 6 American Historical Association, 1926/1927

Box 6 The Book Lover , 1888-1903

Box 6 Bookplates

Box 7 Eastern High School , Washington, DC, 1930

Box 7 Engravings and illustrations

Box 7 Government lists

Box 7 Gutenberg Bible, 1891-1929

Box 7 Library of Congress, 1926-1929

Box 8 Library of Congress, 1930-1935

Box 8 Lyman Allyn Museum , New London, CT, 1935-1937

Box 9 Murillo's Imaculate Conception, 1926/1927

Box 9 Murillo's Imaculate Conception - Pallavicini Catalogue, 1927

Box 9 The New York Community Trust, 1926-1931

Box 9 The New York Historical Society, 1937-1939

Box 9 Photographs

Box 9 Publishing business:advertising; bills, receipts, etc.; James Mcdonald, Bookbinder; print catalogue; printed materials; stock lists

Box 10 Rogers, H.H. - condolences re. his death, 1909

Box 10 S.S. "H.H. Rogers" - launching, 1916

Box 10 Speyer property dispute, 1911-1913

Box 10 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1927-1930

Box 10 Thatcher, John B. The Continent of America

Box 10 Union College, 1890-1935

Box 11 Union College, 1936-1940

Box 11 University of Virginia, 1928-1930

Box 11 George Washington, 1889-1930

Box 11 Washington family, 1927-1930

Box 11 Miscellaneous: memoranda; notebook; clippings; pamphlet; title pages

Series IV: Library of American Literature

Box 12 Accounts, 1884-1903

Box 12 Accounts, 1903-1910

Box 12 Accounts - royalties

Box 12 Advantages of the L.A.L.

Box 12 Advertisements: ; full page ; 1/2 & 1/4 page ; retailo, printed copy ; written copy

Box 12 Advertising

Box 12 Advertising, sets exchanged for

Box 13 Agents, 6 folders

Box 13 Agents - printed materials

Box 13 Benjamin, Charles R. General Agent

Box 13 Binding

Box 13 Boston orders

Box 13 Braunworth & Co. Bookbinders, 3 folders

Box 13 Circulars

Box 13 Colonial literature

Box 14 Commendations, 10 folders

Box 14 Correspondence - miscellaneous

Box 14 Courses of Reading, 3 folders

Box 14 Hovendon, John Relating to E.C. Stedman

Box 14 Illustrations

Box 15 Improvements in manufacturing

Box 15 Jenkins & McCowan Printing

Box 15 Legan matters

Box 15 Macdonald, James Bookbinder

Box 15 Portraits

Box 15 Printed materials

Box 15 Prospectus, etc., 3 folders

Box 15 Specimin pages

Box 15 Stedman, Edmond Charles, 3 folders

Box 15 Webster & Co., 2 folders

Box 15 Miscellaneous

Series V: Scrapbooks

Box 17 Scrapbook of clippings, 1884-1891, 1 volume

Flat Box 28 Scrapbook

Series VI: Photographs

Flat Box 28 Large photographs

Series VII: Printed Materials

For related materials on Library of American Literature see E.C. Stedman Papers

Box 16 Books from W.E. Benjamin's library

Box 18 The Collector

Box 19 The Collector

Box 20 The Collector

Box 21 Catalogs 1-10

Box 21 Catalogs 11-29

Box 22 Catalogs 30-42

Box 22 Catalogs 43-53

Box 23 Catalogs 77-95

Box 23 Catalogs 13-66

Box 24 Catalogs 54-67

Box 24 Catalogs 68-76

Box 25 The Book Lover

Box 26 The Book Lover

Box 27 The Book Lover

Box 28 The Book Lover

Box 29 The Book Lover