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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

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Thomas Pennant Barton (1803-1869)

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



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.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Correspondence regarding Thomas Pennant Barton's Library
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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