Title: Henry Stevens papers Creator: Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles Inclusive dates: 1812-1935 Extent: 2 linear feet Abstract:
This collection is made up of correspondence, letter books, and transcriptions by rare book dealer and bibliographer Henry Stevens. The material primarily concerns his work obtaining books for prominent private collectors and libraries in the United States in the mid-19th century.
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: www.clements.umich.edu
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.
Henry Stevens Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Henry Stevens was born in Barnet, Vermont, on August 24, 1819, the son of Henry Stevens, Sr., and Candace Salter. He attended several academies and preparatory schools before matriculating at Middlebury College in 1838. In 1840, he left for Yale College; he received a bachelor's degree in 1843 and an honorary master's degree ( in absentia ) in 1846. Stevens worked for Peter Force for two years, identifying and copying historical books and manuscripts. He left for London, England, in 1845. In London, he established himself as a dealer of rare books and manuscripts, and his clients included prominent collectors such as James Lenox and John Carter Brown.
On February 25, 1854, Stevens married Mary Newton Kuczynski, a widow, and they had one son, Henry Newton Stevens (b. June 7, 1855). Henry Stevens died on February 28, 1886. In 1885, Henry Newton Stevens became a partner in his father's firm, then called Henry Stevens & Son, and in 1895 Robert E. Stiles joined the firm, which then became Henry Stevens, Son and Stiles.
This collection is made up of correspondence, letter books, and transcriptions by rare book dealer and bibliographer Henry Stevens and his company. The material primarily concerns his work obtaining books for prominent private collectors and libraries in the United States in the mid-19th century.
The Correspondence and Documents series primarily consists of incoming letters to Henry Stevens about his book business. The correspondence concerns book catalogues, purchases, exhibitions, and other professional matters. Letters and documents from prominent individuals include materials from John Carter Brown (71 items), Obadiah Rich (26 items), and others. A small group of personal letters between members of the Stevens family, notes and drafts by Henry Stevens, and financial documents are also present. See the contributor list below for a partial list of letter-writers.
Seven items in this series pertain to Stevens's American Historical Nuggets, including manuscript and printed mock-ups of the title page and first page of the introduction. The papers also contain a manuscript of "Who Spoils our new English Books."
A group of 16 Letter and Account Books comprises the bulk of the collection. The volumes primarily contain outgoing business correspondence of Henry Stevens, related to his work as a bookseller and bibliographer in London, England. Recipients included John Carter Brown, Samuel Drake, William Deane, Charles B. Norton, and members of the Stevens family. The volumes also contain financial records.
The series pertains to the acquisition of materials for the libraries and individuals, including the following:
A. Asher & Co.
American Antiquarian Society
American Europe Express Company
Amherst College Library
Edinburgh University Library
Harvard College Library
Irving & Willey
Mercantile Library Association of the City of New-York
New York State Library
Pennsylvania State Library
United States Patent Office
University of Vermont Library
Vermont State Library
Virginia State Library
Yale College Library
The Henry Stevens Transcriptions and Notes series contains five transcriptions that Henry Stevens (1819-1886) made in the mid-19th century. The documents concern the years prior to the American Revolution, the New Hampshire Grants, Arthur St. Clair's defeat, and the Sullivan Rail Road.
The series contains the following items:
"Dr. Stiles' Account of the False Alarm in 1774" (By Ezra Stiles)
"Observations on the Right of Jurisdiction Claimed by the States of New York and New Hampshire, over the New Hampshire Grants (So Called) Lying on Both Sides of Connecticut River, in a Letter to the Inhabitants of those Grants" (Originally printed by E. Russel in Danvers, Massachusetts, 1778)
"A Public Defence of the Right of the New Hampshire Grants (So Called)..." (Originally printed by Alden Spooner, 1779)
"Lieut. Michl. McDonoughs Letter to His Brother. Dated at Fort Washington, Nov. 10, 1791"
"A Sermon Preached at Charlestown, N. H., on the First Sunday after the Opening of the Sullivan Rail Road, by J. Crosby" (By Jaazaniah Crosby, ca. 1849)
The William L. Clements Library acquired many books through Henry Stevens Son & Stiles. Published works by Stevens (1819-1886) and Stevens (1855-1930) may be found by searching the library's online catalog.
UCLA holds an extensive collection of Henry Stevens papers, and other repositories have smaller collections of Stevens material.
Parker, Wyman W. Henry Stevens of Vermont: American Rare Book Dealer in London, 1845-1886. Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1963.