Address: John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.
PhD Title: Modern Medici: the 25th and 26th Earls of Crawford and their Manuscript Collections
Supervisors: Prof. Stephen Milner, Dr Guyda Armstrong, Dr David Matthews
Main discipline areas
History of the book; history of collecting; library history; manuscript studies
Alexander William Lindsay (1812–80), known for most of his life as Lord Lindsay, and his son James Ludovic Lindsay (1847–1913), 25th and 26th Earls of Crawford, created one of the most extraordinary private libraries ever assembled in Britain. The Bibliotheca Lindesiana was rich in manuscripts from Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, as well as printed books, proclamations and broadsides. In 1901 the 26th Earl of Crawford sold the manuscripts en bloc to Enriqueta Rylands for £155,000, to become one of the foundation collections of the John Rylands Library.
Informed by the work of cultural theorists and museological theories of collecting, my thesis will examine the 25th and 26th Earls of Crawford as case studies of manuscript collecting during the second half of the 19th century. I shall explore the particular characteristics of the Crawford collection of manuscripts, revealing the philosophical and cultural underpinnings of Lord Lindsay’s collecting policy and practices, and setting them within the context of other great manuscript libraries.
I shall examine the mechanisms by which the Earls of Crawford purchased manuscripts, and in particular the pivotal role played by Bernard Quaritch, the premier bookseller of the second half of the 19th century, in the formation and shaping of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana and other great manuscript collections, locating the development of these collections within the economic, social and cultural contexts of mid-Victorian Britain and the consolidation of Empire.
Both Lindsay and Ludovic were particularly interested in the classification of libraries. I shall examine their principles and practices in organizing the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, within the wider context of the development of classification schemes and the organization of libraries. Both men were situated at the axis of a series of relationships with fellow collectors, bibliophiles, scholars and librarians who informed the development and use of the library, and I shall investigate these nexuses, within the wider context of the organization of knowledge in the Victorian period.
- 1988-1989: Master of Archive Administration, University of Liverpool.
- 1984-1987: BA (Hons) Classics, University of Cambridge.
- 1989-1995: Assistant Archivist, John Rylands University Library
- 1995-2004: Co-ordinating Archivist / Head of Archives, JRUL
- 2004-2010: Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, JRUL
- 2010 to present: Collection and Research Support Manager (Manuscripts, Archives and Visual Materials), JRUL