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Correspondence regarding Thomas Pennant Barton's Library

 Collection — Container: MS 7339
Call Number: MS 7339

Scope and Contents

This collection, which was removed from the book The Sketch of Thomas Barton’s Library, contains correspondence from the bookseller Thomas Rodd regarding the selling and purchase of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Other letters are responses to Barton’s description of his library and the First Folio. Barton was the first collector of Shakespeare in the United States.


  • 1807-1861
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1873


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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Biographical or Historical Information

Thomas Pennant Barton was born in Philadelphia in 1803. After the death of his father, Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton (1766-1815) who was a professor of natural history, botany, and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the family moved to Europe and lived in Paris for about fifteen years. Barton married Cora Livingston in April 1833 and from 1833-1835, served as the Chargé d'Affaires in Paris for President Andrew Jackson. Upon his return to the United States, Barton began his library which included the works of William Shakespeare. When Barton died in 1869, he left his library to his wife, who shortly before her death sold the Shakespeare part in its entirety to the Boston Public Library.

The Thomas Pennant Barton Collection is acknowledged as one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in a public institution focusing on the writings of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The collection was the first in the United States to include the first four folios of the collected works of William Shakespeare, as well as some 45 early quarto editions of individual plays, many published during Shakespeare’s lifetime.


25.00 Items

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Arranged in original order as removed from James Wayne's The Sketch of Thomas Barton’s Library.

Source of Acquisition

Mrs. Cora Livingston Barton

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

The Thomas Pennant Barton Shakespeare Collection at the Boston Public Library

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Kimberly Reynolds, February 2015.
Correspondence regarding Thomas Pennant Barton's Library
Description rules
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules
Language of description
Script of description

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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