Long Eighteenth Century

The Clark’s central collection comprises books and manuscripts produced in England and France between 1650 and 1830. Particularly strong in John Dryden, Restoration drama, and early modern poetry, the collection contains many of the rarest printed books produced in the early modern period, including nearly a thousand titles surviving in unique copies. While focused primarily on British literature and history, this collection also has strong holdings in philosophy, music, history of science, and theology. The bound manuscript collection is rich in verse miscellanies, culinary and medicinal recipe books, early music, accounts and memoranda, sermon and lecture notes, writing manuals, legal manuscripts, genealogical works, educational texts, and more. The English manuscripts from this collection are currently being digitized through a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). William Andrews Clark Jr. and his successors have actively collected in French materials from this period as well, especially French translations of English authors. The collection also includes books owned and annotated by William Hogarth, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Hannah More, John Dennis, and William Congreve.

Highlights
  • promptbook of John Dryden’s play An Evening’s Love: or, the Mock-Astrologer (1691), marked up for performance in a contemporary hand
  • copy of Sir Richard Blackmore’s epic poem Prince Arthur (1695), polemically annotated by the literary critic John Dennis (1658–1734)
  • collection of copiously annotated and/or “hybrid” books owned by the French bibliophile François-Louis Jamet (1710–1778)
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