Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Book Collectors Collection, 1769-1950

Finding aid created by
Sara Ausilio, Erin Platte, and Meg Hixon, January 2012

Summary Information
Title: Book Collectors collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1769-1950
Extent: 1 linear foot
This collection is made up of individual letters and documents related to the trade and collection of rare books in the United States. The majority of the material is correspondence between individuals and dealers, and reflects the history of rare book collecting, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

4106.5 et al.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Book Collectors Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged alphabetically by surname of collector, dealer, publisher, or subject.


The late 19th and early 20th centuries are considered a "golden age" of rare book collecting in the United States, encouraged by dealers and by the increased importation of rare books from Europe. During the period, several significant book collections were sold at auction, including those of Robert Hoe, Harrisse, and Brayton Ives. Wealthy men such as J. P. Morgan, Henry C. Folger, and William L. Clements amassed large collections of rare books and other materials, kept private libraries, and frequently bequeathed their collections to universities or similar institutions upon their deaths.

William L. Clements's personal library of early Americana is the foundation of the modern William L. Clements Library, which continues to specialize in books, manuscripts, graphic materials, maps, and other materials related to American history.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of individual letters and documents related to the trade and collection of rare books in the United States. The majority of the material is correspondence between individuals and dealers, and reflects the history of rare book collecting, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Book Collectors collection includes letters by many prominent collectors, historians, and political figures. A selection of items relates to the collections of the William L. Clements Library and to its namesake, including 2 letters from William L. Clements to Worthington C. Ford, one of which regards Ford's contribution to the newly opened library (June 27, 1923). Clements Library directors Randolph G. Adams and Howard H. Peckham also contributed to the collection. See the box and folder listing below for an inventory of contributors' names.

Subject Terms

    • Antiquarian booksellers--United States--History.
    • Book collecting--United States.
    • Book collectors.
    • Booksellers and bookselling--United States.
    • Private libraries.
    • Rare book libraries.
    • Rare books.
    • William L. Clements Library.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Receipts (financial records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Book Collectors collection,  1769-1950 [series]
    Box   1  
    Adam, Robert Borthwick
    Adams, Randolph G.
    Adams, Richard N.
    Allen, Elisha Hunt
    Allibone, Samuel Austin
    Anderson, Clinton P.
    Bade, Anthony N.
    Baker, William S.
    Barlow, Samuel L. M.
    Barrister, John
    Bartlett, John R.
    Bay, Christian J.
    Beers, Isaac
    Bennett, Geo.
    Beyer, J. B.
    Benjamin, W. E.
    Biddle, Moncure
    Bixby, W. K.
    Blanck, Jacob
    Boltwood, Lucius M.
    Bonaparte, Jérôme Napoleon
    Booksellers Guild of America
    Bradford, Alden
    Bringham, Clarence S.
    Brinley, George
    Bullared, Lauriston F.
    Bullen, Henry L.
    Burton, Clarence M.
    Capen, Edward
    List of books for Charles Carroll
    Chapman, Charles E.
    Childs, George W.
    Cist, Lewis Jacob
    Clarke, Robert
    Clements, William L.
    Cogswell, Jos. G.
    Cole, George Watson
    Cole, Robert
    Collier, John Payne
    Coolidge, Archibald Cary
    Cowan, Robert E.
    Daly, Augustin
    Dalzell, James M.
    Deane, Charles
    DeVoto, Bernard
    Dibdin, Thomas Frognall
    Dowington Franklin Library
    Drake, Samuel G.
    Draper, Lyman C.
    Dreer, Ferdinand J.
    Dufief, Nicholas Gowin
    Eames, Wilberforce
    Eliot, Edward Granville
    Ely, Anna C.
    Emmet, Thomas Addis
    Everitt, Charles P.
    Ewing, C. M.
    Fleming, John
    Fogg, John S. H.
    Ford, Worthington C.
    Forsdyke, Sir John
    Francis, Chas. S.
    Gilman, Daniel C.
    Gilpin, Henry D.
    Goldschmidt, Ernest P.
    Goodwin, Horace
    Grant, S. Hastings
    Greeley, Horace
    Griffin, N. H.
    Box   2  
    Concerning Harvard copy of Hariot's Virginia
    Sibley, John Langdon
    Winsor, Justin
    Potter, A.C.
    Harper, Lathrop C.
    Harrison, Fairfax
    Haskell, Clinton H.
    Hayes, John Lord
    Hazard, J. P. (regarding autograph collecting)
    Heartman, Charles F.
    Heawood, Edward
    William Heinemann, Ltd.
    Books delivered by J. Moore for Patrick Henry
    Hildeburn, Charles R.
    Hildreth, Samuel P.
    Hill, Walter
    Hoffman, [?] S.
    Hogan, Frank J.
    Hoover, Herbert
    Hopkinson, Francis (regarding directors of the Library Company)
    Horton, Frederic L.
    Howe, Fisher
    Howe, W. W.
    Hubbard, Elbert Jr.
    Hubbard, Lucius L.
    Hunter, Dard
    Jamison, John Franklin
    Jenks, William L.
    Jones, Walter, St. John
    Box   3  
    Jones, Matt B.
    Jones, John Winter
    Jones, Carl
    Kellogg, Louise Phelps
    Kennerley, Mitchell
    Kittoe, Edward D.
    Koch, Theodore Wesley
    Lemperley Paul
    Lenox, James
    Lenox, Robt.
    Lilly, Eli
    Littell, Clarence G.
    McCall, Hugh
    McCoy, James Culberston
    Mackall, Leonard L.
    McGregor, Tracy William
    McKerrow, Ronald Brunlees
    MacLeish, Archibald
    Manning, James H.
    March, Francis A.
    Miller, Samuel Millington
    Moon, George Washington
    Moore, George H.
    Morley, Christopher
    Mosher, Thomas B.
    Murray, John
    Box   4  
    Newnan, Henry L.
    Newton, Alfred Edward
    New York City. Auction Hall
    Norton, C. B.
    Orth, Samuel P.
    Palfrey, John Gorham
    Paltsits, Victor H.
    Panckouke, Charles
    Parkman, Francis
    Parry, E. C.
    Peckham, Howard H.
    Pennington, John
    Pennypacker, Samuel W.
    Phillips, Wendell
    Poore, Ben Perley
    Pratt, D. J.
    Quincy, Josiah
    Randall, David A.
    Retz, Charles
    Rice, Paul North
    Richmond, Legh
    Roosevelt, Franklin D.
    Sibley, John L.
    Rose, John S.
    Rosenbach, Abraham S. W.
    Sabin, Joseph F.
    Seymour, George S.
    Skeel, Emily E. F.
    Smith, Hal Horace
    Sotheran, Charles
    Spencer, Walter T.
    Spiegelberg, F.
    Spofford, Ainsworth Rand
    Sprague, William Buell
    Spring, Robert
    Stamp, Sir Josiah
    Steere, Elizabeth B.
    Stevens, Henry
    Stone, Edward L.
    Storm, Colton
    Swann, Arthur
    Sweet, Frederick H.
    Taintor, Charles Wyatt
    Thompson, John R.
    Thurston, Ada
    Tinker, Chauncey Brewster
    Tregaskis, Hugh F. B.
    Trumbull, J. H.
    Tully, Grace G.
    Vail, Robert William Glenroie
    Van Bargen, Captain (purchased of James Rivington)
    Van Vechten, Carl
    Vorhies, H. V.
    Vosper, Edna
    Wagner, Henry Raup
    Ward, Samuel
    Warren, John
    Wessen, Ernest J.
    Whitney, Cornelius Vanderbilt
    Wilson, Samuel M.
    Winship, George Parker
    Winterich, John T.
    Wright, Lyle H.
    Wroth, Lawrence C.
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Randolph G. Adams papers

    George Brinley papers

    William L. Clements papers

    Henry Stevens papers

    Henry Vignaud papers


    Maxwell, Margaret. Shaping a Library. Amsterdam: Nico Israel, 1973.