Special Collections & Archives, Univeristy of Kent. Pre-1700 collection.

John Crow Collections

This collection, from the Shakespearean scholar John Crow, consists of ca 12,000 printed items, plus great quantities of booksellers' catalogues, correspondence and working papers. It was acquired via Molly Mahood, Professor of English at the University of Kent in the 1970s and formed the basis of the Templeman Library's Special Collections.

Some of the material from the main collection was extracted and used to form a Renaissance Collection and a Ballad and Song Collection, and other valuable material which went into the Pre-1700 Collection; it also included some modern novels and poetry which formed the basis of the Modern First Editions Collection.

Catalogued items in the Crow collections can be found through LibrarySearch

Collection in brief

Contents: books
Period: 16th-20th century
Subjects: history, literature, drama, criticism, sermons, music, bibliography, linguistics

Ballad and Song Collection

This covers the publications of the Percy Society and the Ballad Society, collections and anthologies from the early 18th to the mid-20th centuries, political satire, stage songs, Victorian comic verse, and one or two interesting Charles Dibdin items. Associated with it is a small collection of chapbooks and early Children's literature. The 300 volumes of this collection are all catalogued and classified at PB 2342 - PB 2350.

See a list of items in the Ballad and Song Collection.

Bibliography Collection

There are 500-600 volumes in this collection, mostly catalogued. They include:

  • general bibliographies of early publishing in the United Kingdom
  • library catalogues
  • old publishers' and booksellers' catalogues
  • book exhibition catalogues
  • books on the history of printing
A facsimilie of a bookplate
A.F. Johnson, The first century of printing at Basle (1926).

Facsimilie of page from Leontorius, Conradus (ed.) 1506 , Ambrose, Opera. Featured in 'The first century of printing at Basle', by A.F. Johnson. 

English Renaissance Collection

This collection consists of texts of English authors writing in the 16th century, collected editions of Shakespeare from the 18th and 19th centuries, critical works on Shakespeare pre-1900, a small selection of 19th century books on the Shakespeare/Bacon question, and association copies of works by 20th century critics. 

For instance The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore: a bibliotic study (1927) by S A Tannebaum, is inscribed by the author to A W Pollard and contains a letter from Greg to Pollard about the book. There are also association copies with holograph letters from the Victorian literary editors Halliwell-Phillipps and J. Payne Collier. In all there are some 2,500 volumes, mostly catalogued.  

A shelf of Penguin books from the John Crow collections
Penguin Collection, University of Kent.

Penguin Collection

About 1,000 Penguin books from the 1930s and 1940s, including Pelicans and a fairly comprehensive set of Penguin Specials. So far they have not been catalogued. Unfortunately some of these are water damaged. It is assumed they came from Crow.  

Pre-1700 Collection

Of the circa 850 titles in the Library's collection of Early Printed Books (ie books printed pre-1701) about half come from the Crow collection. These include the 1st and 2nd folios of Beaumont and Fletcher, a 1598 edition of Chaucer and seven items from the actor John Philip Kemble's collection of old quarto plays. There is also a useful assemblage of sermons, principally from the period 1600-1640.

Works within this collection published between 1482 and1640 have now been listed - download Early printed books 1482-1640 (pdf).

A photograph of our pre-1700 collection in situ in our collection's store
Special Collections & Archives, Univeristy of Kent. Pre-1700 collection.

Proverb and Language Collection

500 volumes: dictionaries of dialect, slang, proverbs and quotations, from the 16th to the 20th centuries, English & foreign language dictionaries and other early linguistic works. Catalogued and classified.  

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