Rare Book Department Finding Aids

Rare Book Department Finding Aids

Finding Aids

A finding aid is a guide to an archival collection. Finding aids include information about the collection's creator(s) and subject matter, and describe the content, date, and format of the documents in a collection. A finding aid also details the collection's arrangement. Finding aids include information for researchers about how to access and use the collection, and how it should be cited.

Mary Wickham Bond papers on the "real" James Bond
The lives of James and Mary Bond, a Philadelphia ornithologist and author, respectively, were altered the day that author Ian Fleming, a bird lover who was familiar with Bond’s book, “The Birds of the West Indies,” appropriated James Bond’s name for his fictional spy character. The resulting…

History of the Book and Illustrations collection
This collection contains material that shows the history of the book. The majority of the examples of manuscripts are illustrations but there are a few letters and other documents. The printed material in this collection spans the 13th to the late 16th centuries and contains examples of different…

Charles Dickens collection
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was one of the most popular English novelists of the Victorian era as well as a vigorous social campaigner. This is a collection of correspondence, manuscript material, and other items related to him. The material dates from 1832-1993, with the bulk of the material…

Frank Edwin Elwell papers
This collection consists of articles, biographical material, photographs, and scrapbooks related to the American sculptor Frank Edwin Elwell (1858-1922), compiled by his son and daughter-in-law, Alcott Farrar Elwell and Helen Chaffee Elwell.

John Frederick Lewis collection of autographs of engravers
John Frederick Lewis was a Philadelphia lawyer, philanthropist, and collector of writing samples. This collection contains letters, receipts, and other documents by British engravers. Most of the material was written in England between 1775 and 1850. Many of the letters discuss artistic matters…

Oliver Goldsmith papers
This collection is comprised of letters and other documents to and from Oliver Goldsmith. The first series has letters and documents from members in his literary circle as well as documents related to Oliver Goldsmith’s works. The second series is composed of contracts between Oliver Goldsmith…

Kate Greenaway collection
This collection consists of material created by or about the children’s author and illustrator Kate Greenaway. It consists of correspondence, original artwork, and ephemera collected by the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Fine Press prospectuses and ephemera
The collection contains material from fine presses and individual printers received by the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The bulk of the items are prospectuses, but the collection also includes greeting cards, keepsakes, printed advertisements, and samples.

Historical manuscripts collection
This is a varied collection of historical manuscripts obtained by the Free Library of Philadelphia over the course of its history. The collection dates from 1347 to 1969 and is primarily an autograph collection. The collection includes American, British, and European materials; the majority of…

Frederick R. Gardner collection of Robert Lawson
This collection contains the literary papers of author and illustrator Robert Lawson (1892-1957), collected by Frederick R. Gardner. Materials date from 1900 to 1983. Lawson’s illustrations make up the bulk of this collection; illustrations for forty-seven titles and unpublished artworks are…

Munro Leaf papers
This collection contains the literary papers of author and illustrator Munro Leaf (1905-1976), with materials dating from 1918 to 1986. Manuscript drafts and illustrations from fifty-eight titles are represented (including fourteen titles produced as part of his work for the US Army and the…

W. Atlee Burpee Jr. collection of Lincoln papers
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until he was assassinated in April 1865. He led the United States through the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery. The Burpee collection of Lincoln papers covers the time period…

Free Library of Philadelphia Collection of Literary Manuscripts
This collection contains letters, manuscript fragments, autographs, and other documents by famous authors. The material dates from 1666 to 1990 with the bulk of the collection consisting of letters written by the authors to various friends with some letters to editors or critics.

A. Edward Newton collection
This collection consists of the personal and professional papers of Philadelphia book collector A. Edward Newton (1864-1940). The bulk of the materials are book manuscripts, correspondence, keepsakes, and newspaper clippings, with published volumes cataloged separately. The collection relates to…

Colonel Richard A. Gimbel collection of Edgar Allan Poe materials
Richard Gimbel (1898-1970) was a leading rare book and manuscript collector and the son of the founder of Gimbel's department store. Edgar Allan Poe was an American poet, short-story writer, editor, and literary critic, and is considered part of the American Romantic Movement. This collection of…

Beatrix Potter collection
This collection consists of material created by or about the children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter. It contains correspondence, original artwork, manuscripts, collectibles, research material, and ephemera collected by the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Norman H. and Charlotte Strouse collection of letters of the presidents
This is a collection of manuscript letters of presidents of the United States dating from 1780 to 1993 collected by Norman H. Strouse. All of the presidents are represented except for Abraham Lincoln, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. The letters and other documents relating to Abraham Lincoln…

Thornton Oakley collection of Howard Pyle and his students
The Thornton Oakley collection of Howard Pyle and his students covers the influential artistic career of Howard Pyle and several of his students, most notably Maxfield Parrish, Violet Oakley, and N.C. Wyeth. The collection includes a wide range of materials, which was collected and assembled by…

Arthur Rackham collection
This collection consists of material created by or about the children’s illustrator Arthur Rackham. It consists of correspondence, original artwork, and ephemera collected by the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Lubin Manufacturing Company records
Siegmund Lubin (1851-1923) founded the Lubin Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which, from 1895 to just before its collapse in 1916, grew to be one of the largest motion picture production companies in the world. His moviemaking empire started with the purchase of one film…

19th Century playbills
The 19th Century playbills collection contains a range of material related to theater culture in nineteenth century Philadelphia and in selected other theaters across the northeastern United States. Researchers will find nineteenth century playbills from the following Philadelphia theaters: the…

Ed Wynn papers
This collection contains the correspondence and papers of actor and comedian Ed Wynn. The collection includes ideas for gags, box office records for staged productions, telegrams, postcards, 65 publicity photographs, 50 gag magazines, and family papers and mementos. There are also approximately…
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