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Manuscripts in the Richard Gimbel Collection of Charles Dickens

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 1998

Scope and Contents

Manuscripts, letters, and documents by English writer and social critic Charles Dickens, 1830-1870, collected by Richard Gimbel. Also included is Gimbel's collection of Dickensiana, 1772-1969, which consists of books, periodicals, printed ephemera, prints and stray plates, photographs, mass-produced objects, manuscripts, letters and documents, paintings and drawings, and relics and association items not created by Dickens but still relating to him.

Present are letters from Dickens to caricaturist and illustrator George Cruikshank, letters from Cruikshank to others, and illustrations and other works by Cruikshank.

Dates

  • 1772-1969

Creator

Language of Materials

In English. Some materials in French or Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Manuscripts in the Richard Gimbel Collection of Charles Dickens is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Richard Gimbel, circa 1920-1969.

Arrangement

Organized into five series: I. Manuscripts, circa 1830-1869. II. Autograph Letters & Documents, 1830-1870. III. Dickensiana, 1772-1969. IV. Material Removed from Cataloged Printed Items, before 1969. V. Materials Associated with the Gimbel Dickens Collection, 1830-1970.

Extent

70.75 Linear Feet ((119 boxes) + 2 broadsides, 8 art)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.gimbeldickens

Overview

Manuscripts, letters, and documents by English writer and social critic Charles Dickens, 1830-1870, collected by Richard Gimbel. Also included is Gimbel's collection of Dickensiana, 1772-1969, which consists of books, periodicals, printed ephemera, prints and stray plates, photographs, mass-produced objects, manuscripts, letters and documents, paintings and drawings, and relics and association items not created by Dickens but still relating to him.

Present are letters from Dickens to caricaturist and illustrator George Cruikshank, letters from Cruikshank to others, and illustrations and other works by Cruikshank.

Richard Gimbel (1898-1970)

Among fellow bibliophiles Richard Gimbel (1898-1970) was known as more than a Dickensian. One obituary honors him as an Americanist, as he was a leading collector of Poe and of Paine, and author of a bibliographical study of Common Sense. Aeronautica was another of his collecting fields, for he was aviator, Air Force colonel, and, at the end of his career, Professor of Air Science and Tactics in Yale's military training corps. In 1953 he was named Curator of Aeronautical Literature in the Yale University Library, a title he kept to the end of his life. He also collected etiquette books, Bibles, books and manuscripts of numerous English and American authors (among them Robert Louis Stevenson and Walt Whitman)--everything, it seems, that appealed to a find sense of rarity or to an ample sense of humor.

Richard Gimbel began to collect Dickens in February 1925, lured into the field by Charles Sessler, the Philadelphia bookseller, with a copy of The Mystery of Edwin Drood in the original serial parts. Sessler guided him through the tangle of "points" that plagued Dickens collecting before the appearance of Hatton and Cleaver's bibliography. During the Boz-fever of the late 1920s, Richard Gimbel bought eagerly, most of all at the great book auctions of the era. After the Hatton sales of 1927 and 1929 and, above all, the Daoust sale of 1929, he could boast that he owned more books by Dickens in a greater variety of issues than any rival collector. After 1929 he seems to have grown shy of buying his Dickens at auction. Like almost everyone else he ignored Sotheby's Dickens sale of 11 July 1938, where autograph letters and unique books from Alain de Suzannet's hoard went begging. But in 1953 Colonel Gimbel acquired many of the best lots when the library of Lewis A. Hird was auctioned at the Park-Bernet Galleries. Although he never gave up the quest, as he grew older he learned to buy more warily. During the final years, manuscripts and autograph letters of Dickens were his main quarry.

Colonel Gimbel's published work on Dickens is alight when measured against his achievements as a collector. Having wrestled with the difficulties of "state" in the early issues of A Christmas Carol, in 1962 he wrote the catalogue for the Yale Library's "Exhibition of 150 Manuscripts, Illustrations, and First Editions of Charles Dickens to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of His Birth." While he lived Colonel Gimbel exhibited his books and shared his bibliographical knowledge with others. In the end he showed the true depth of his philanthropic spirit by leaving his collection to libraries.

Biographical note taken from John B. Podeschi's Dickens and Dickensiana: a catalogue of the Richard Gimbel Collection in the Yale University Library (New Haven: The Library, 1980).

Appendix: Materials Not Located at Time of Processing

The following materials were not located at time of processing:

H. Playbills

  1. H864: Surrey Theatre, London. Playbill for 26 February 1855, announcing the fifth week of the "immense hit," The Seven Poor Travellers.
  2. H872: Theatre-Royal, Edinburgh. Playbill for 9 December 1837, announcing Scraps from "Pickwick," Embodied in Song, Dance, Dialogue, and Action, and Terminating with a Peep at My Lord Mayor's Day, 1837.
  3. H881: Theatre Royal, Carlisle. Playbill for 20 January 1846, announcing Martin Chuzzlewit.
  4. H884: Theatre-Royal, Edinburgh. Playbill for 8 November 1849, announcing Oliver Twist, or The Adventures of a Warehouse Boy.
  5. H897: Theatre Royal, Scarboro'. Playbill for 7 July 1846, announcing the Cricket on the Hearth, or A Fairy Tale of Home.
  6. H901: South Shields Theatre. Playbill for 2 January 1847, announcing The Cricket on the Hearth, or a Fairy Tale of Home.

H. Printed Ephemera

  1. H972: Seymour, D. M. Auctioneer's poster for a public sale of books: "Large Book Auction, at No. 14 Central Row, on Wednesday and Thursday Evenings, Jan, 23 and 24, 1839."
  2. H982: Yale University Library. Exhibition poster for " 150 Unique Items to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Charles Dickens, from the Collection of Colonel Richard Gimbel."

H. Prints & Stray Plates

  1. H1009: Browne, Hablot K. In Dickens-Land: Series IV. London: Raphael Tuck and Sons [unknown date; circa 1900?]. A set of 6 post-cards that reproduce colored versions of 6 of Browne's etchings for The Pickwick Papers. Incomplete: contains 1 print, "The Trial of Bardell v. Pickwick," which is present in the publisher's envelope for the 6 post-cards, which were issued as set number 6012 in Tuck's "Odette" series.
  2. H1010: Browne, Hablot K. In Dickens-Land: Series V. London: Raphael Tuck and Sons [unknown date; circa 1900?]. A set of 6 post-cards that reproduce colored versions of 6 of Browne's etchings for David Copperfield. Present here in the envelope of issue, these prints comprise set number 6047 in Tuck's "Odette" series. - A second set. Incomplete; contains 2 prints: "The Momentous Interview," and "I make the Acquaintance of Miss Mowcher."
  3. H1011: Browne, Hablot K. In Dickens-Land: Series VI. London: Raphael Tuck and Sons [unknown date: circa 1900?]. A set of 6 post-cards that reproduce a second series of colored versions of 6 of Browne's etchings for David Copperfield. Present here in the envelope of issue, these prints comprise set number 6048 in Tuck's "Odette" series.
  4. H1012: Browne, Hablot K. In Dickens-Land: Series VII. London: Raphael Tuck and Sons [unknown date; circa 1900?]. A set of 6 post-cards that reproduce colored versions of 6 of Browne's etchings for Dombey and Son. Present here in the envelope of issue, these prints comprise set number 6050 in Tuck's "Odette" series.
  5. H1013: Browne, Hablot K. [In Dickens-Land: Series VIII], London: Raphael Tuck and Sons [unknown date; circa 1900?]. A set of 6 post-cards that reproduce colored versions of 6 of Browne's etchings for Bleak House. These prints, comprising set number 6051 in Tuck's "Odette" series, are not in the publisher's envelope. - A second set: Incomplete; contains 2 prints: "Coavinses" and "The Young Man of the Name of Guppy."
  6. H1014: Browne, Hablot K. A set of 6 post-cards, printed in the same manner as the preceding prints in Tuck's Dickens-Land series, that reproduce colored versions of 6 of Browne's etchings for Little Dorrit. Because the publisher's envelope is absent, no collective title is known or given. These prints comprise set number 7059 in the "Odette" series of Tuck's post-cards .
  7. H1143: "Rochester." London: G. W. Bacon. [unknown date; circa 1920?]. A post-card on which a map of Rochester is printed in color.
  8. H1168: Watson, P. Fletcher. In Dickens Land: Series I. London: Raphael Tuck and Sons [unknown date; circa 1902?]. A set of 6 post-cards which reproduce in color Watson's paintings of "Chas. Dickens's House, Gadshill," "Chas. Dickens's Study, Gadshill," "The 'Little Inn,' Canterbury," "The Old Curiosity Shop," "Maidstone," and "Dotheboys Hall." These prints are in the original envelope of publisher's issue and comprise set number 1163 in the "Art Series" of Tuck's postcards.

H. Photographs

  1. H1180: Gurney, J., and Son (Ben Gurney), New York, Photographers. A large oval photograph of Dickens (the image being about 22 cm. high), showing the head and chest from the right side. He wears a pleated shirt and velvet vest. Although this portrait bears neither title nor imprint, the majority of Gurney's other photographs of Dickens carry the copyright date of 1867, all of them apparently having been taken during one session in December 1867.

H. Autograph Letters & Documents

  1. H1260: Blackwood, Frederick T., Marquis of Dufferin. Autograph letter, signed, of 17 November 1894 to Mr. Brett.
  2. H1268: Brahman, John. Autograph letter, signed, of circa 1853 [?] to an unknown correspondent.
  3. H1273: Brown, A. Autograph letter, signed, of 25 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  4. H1275: Autograph letter, signed, of 23 August to Mrs. Wilson.
  5. H1277: Bryce, David. Autograph letter, signed, of 19 May 1863 to James Ballantine.
  6. H1281: Bulwer, Edward, Baron Lytton. Autograph letter, signed, to Mr. Delmé Radcliffe, who is perhaps Frederick P. Delmé Radcliffe, the author of The Noble Science (1839), a treatise on fox-hunting.
  7. H1287: Chambers, Robert. Autograph letter, signed, of 18 April 1863 to Peter S. Fraser.
  8. H1299: Collins, Wilkie. Autograph signature to an unknown correspondent. This signature apparently was cut from a letter.
  9. H1303: Cowan, Charles. Autograph letter, signed, of 21 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  10. H1352: Dolby, George. Autograph envelope, signed, of 1866 [?] to Edward Draper. This envelope embossed in blue-and-white relief with the emblem of "Mr. Charles Dickens's Reading," is addressed in what is liberally assumed to be Dolby's handwriting or the script of his amanuensis.
  11. H1361: Everett, Edward. Autograph letter, signed, of 27 October 1846 to James Egan. Everett cannot attend a dinner being given in Cambridge, Massachusetts "Thursday next" in honor of Samuel Lover.
  12. H1362: Faed, Thomas. Autograph letter, signed, of 25 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  13. H1365: Fergusson, John. Autograph letter, signed, of 20 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  14. H1366: Fergusson, John. Autograph letter, signed, of 28 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  15. H1390: Fraser, Peter S. Autograph letter, signed, of "Friday Morning," April 1863 [?] to J. A. Fullerton.
  16. H1396: Gordon, John T. Autograph letter, signed, of 16 April 1863 to James Ballantine. The letter begins as follows: "I missed Dickens by a few minutes yesterday, but Wills (who will be with you) tells me D. has written to you to say that 1 May unfortunately is the Royal Academy Dinner here." The testimonial dinner for Peter Fraser was scheduled for 1 May 1863 in Edinburgh.
  17. H1397: Gordon, John Watson. Autograph letter, signed, of 20 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  18. H1401: Gray, John. Autograph letter, signed, of 20 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  19. H1402: Greeley, Horace. Autograph letter, signed, of 1 September 1851 to John Chapman.
  20. H1405: Grenville, William Wyndham. Autograph letter, signed, of 1803 to William Pitt.
  21. H1407: Grimaldi, Joseph. Autograph letter, signed, of 20 March 1828 to Frances Kelly. Although initialed by Grimaldi, the letter is in the hand of an amanuensis.
  22. H1408: Haghe, Louis. Autograph letter, signed, of 24 August 1861 to David Roberts.
  23. H1414: Hannay, James. Autograph letter, signed, of 26 April 1863 to Peter Fraser. Hannay sends Thackeray's short letter (see entry H1586) of good wishes to Fraser on the occasion of the dinner in his honor. "It should be read at the dinner on Friday as a companion to Dickens's.
  24. H1417: Hill, David Octavius. Autograph letter, signed, of 8 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  25. H1418: Hill, David Octavius. Autograph letter, signed, of 9 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  26. H1419: Hill, David Octavius. Autograph letter, signed, of 9 April 1862 to James Ballantine.
  27. H1432: Hood, Thomas. Autograph letter, signed, of 4 December 1841 to Mr. Smith.
  28. H1439: Hunter, J. Autograph letter, signed, of 14 May 1863 to James Ballantine.
  29. H1443: Jeffrey, Francis. Autograph letter, signed, of 26 April 1832 to George Lamb.
  30. H1455: Kingsley, Charles. Autograph letter, signed, of 10 July 1872 to Alexander Strahan.
  31. H1462: Lawson, Charles, Lord Probost of Edinburgh. Autograph letter of 14 April 1863 to James Ballantine, perhaps in the hand of an amanuensis.
  32. H1466: Lemon, Mark. Autograph letter, signed, of 1849 [?] to Benjamin Webster [?].
  33. H1467: Lemon, Mark. Autograph letter, signed, of 21 April 1863 to Peter Fraser.
  34. H1471: Lewes, George Henry. Autograph letter, signed, of 1 February 1854 to John Chapman.
  35. H1477: Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Autograph letter, signed, of 28 October 1846 [?] to Samuel Lover. This short letter is written on Longfellow's calling card.
  36. H1482: Mackay, Charles. Autograph letter, signed, of 19 August 1851 to A. S. Watts.
  37. H1488: Macnee, Daniel. Autograph letter, signed, of 20 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  38. H1492: Maitland, A. C. Gibson. Autograph letter, signed, of 27 April 1863 to Peter Fraser.
  39. H1511: Murrie, M., Provost of Stirling, Scotland. Autograph letter, signed, of 25 April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  40. H1516: D'Orleans, Louis, Duc de Nemours. Autograph, envelope, signed of 30 July 1856 to Mademoiselle d'Henin.
  41. H1524: Pattison, A. Dunn. Autograph letter, signed, of April 1863 to James Ballantine.
  42. H1532: Porter, Jane. Autograph letter of "Thursday Evening" to Samuel Lover.
  43. H1537: Reeves, Sims. Autograph letter, signed, of April 1863 to an unknown correspondent.
  44. H1545: Russell, Alexander. Autograph letter, signed, of 1 May 1863 to James Ballantine.
  45. H1583: Talfourd, Thomas. Autograph envelope, signed, to William Jerdan.
  46. H1587: Thom, Alexander. Autograph letter, signed, of 7 May 1863 to James Ballantine.
  47. H1590: Trotter, John. Autograph letter, signed, of 15 May 1863 to James Ballantine.

H. Paintings & Drawings

  1. H1717: Clarke, Joseph Clayton, under the pseudonym of "Kyd." "The Broker's Man (Sketches by Boz)." A drawing in pen and black ink and watercolor, on card-paper 19.5 cm. x 13 cm. This drawing and the following five drawings are done in the same style as Kyd's work in the foregoing portfolios, but the figures of the characters here are slightly larger.
  2. H1720: Clarke, Joseph Clayton, under the pseudonym of "Kyd." "Mr. Nadgett (Martin Chuzzlewit)." A drawing in pen and black ink and watercolor, on card-paper 19.5 cm. x 13 cm.
  3. H1722: Clarke, Joseph Clayton, under the pseudonym of "Kyd." "Toby Crackit (Oliver Twist)." A drawing in pen and black ink and watercolor, on card- paper 19.5 cm. x 13 cm.
  4. H1732: "Charles Dickens." A drawing in pencil, on paper 17 cm. x 13 cm., mounted. It is believed that this sketch of Dickens's head and upper body was drawn from life by Cruikshank in 1838. Frederick W. Pailthorpe made an etching after the drawing; see entry H1132.
  5. H1808: A drawing of Dickens, done in pencil and red chalk, on pale brownish grey card-paper 18 cm. x 23 cm., mounted. This portrait of Dickens, which depicts his head and chest, is believed to have been drawn from life by Leech circa 1860. Provenance: Samuel Wells.

H. Relics & Association Items

  1. H1878: "Tavistock House." A cast-iron plaque 12 cm. x 9.5 cm. This plaque may have come from the gate-post of the house that Dickens bought in 1851; or it may have fitted into the front door as a knocker-stop.

Processing Information

This collection was processed following the organization established by John B. Podeschi in Dickens and Dickensiana: a catalogue of the Richard Gimbel Collection in the Yale University Library (New Haven: The Library, 1980). The alphanumeric identifiers and item-level description were taken directly from this published volume.

Typically, each identifier matches with a single item or container. In some instances, however, multiple identifiers will match a single item or container (e.g. a bound volume). Furthermore, there are also instances where materials given a single identifier are housed in multiple containers (e.g. a grouping of prints).

Printed materials in the Richard Gimbel Collection of Charles Dickens can be found in the Yale University Library Catalog using the call number "Gimbel/Dickens" followed by Podeschi's identifier.

An appendix for materials not located at time of processing is included in this finding aid. These materials are likely tipped-in or otherwise housed with printed materials in the collection.
Title
Guide to the Manuscripts in the Richard Gimbel Collection of Charles Dickens
Status
Completed
Author
Sarah Lerner
Date
September 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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