Friday 27 December 2019

Collecting Haywood, 2019

2019 was a better year for Haywood collecting than I was expecting. I did have better years with a lot less money about a decade back but, as I mentioned in last year's year-in-review post (here), the supply of Haywood material has diminished, so my expectations have been low since at least 2013.

The 2019 highlights are:

[1] Ab.5.1b Injur'd Husband, 2nd ed. (1723) and Ab.7.1a A Wife to Be Lett (1724), bound together in a contemporary binding. Although both are first editions, it seems likely that this is a very rare example of issues of items found in Aa.2.1 The Works of Mrs Eliza Haywood being purchased separately. As the low Spedding Bibliography-numbers indicate, both are very early works by Haywood, and particularly hard to find for this reason. As I mentioned last year, Haywood's plays have been particularly elusive for me, so it was nice to get another copy of A Wife to Be Lett so soon too.

[2] Ab.7.3 Wife to be Lett (1735); my second copy of this edition, but only my third of the play. It is quite worn, but has some wonderful near-contemporary marginalia, which will be gold for the book I am planning on Haywood's readers.

[3] Ab.19.1a Memoirs of the Baron de Brosse, Part 1 (1725) and Ab.19.2 Memoirs of the Baron de Brosse, Part 2 (1726), bound together in a contemporary binding. Also early works; they join my copy of the "Second" edition of Part 1 (Ab.19.1b), so that I now have all editions and issues of Ab.19 MdB.

[4] Ab.59.1a Fortunate Foundling (1744), a first edition (first issue) of one of Haywood's later novels. Again, as I mentioned last year, I did not have any of Haywood's later novels until very recently, so it was great to get another so soon.

[5] Ab.60.1 The Female Spectator (1745), my third set of the first edition, which I describe here.

Also worthy of note are Ab.67.12 L’├ętourdie, ou histoire de Miss Betsy Tatless (1754), which I did not have. It is quite rare, only two other copies being known to me. I now have copies of all of the French translations of Betsy Thoughtless published between 1754 and 1782; Ab.67.11–16—a bit of a milestone for me. Ab.70.5b The Wife (Boston, 1806), the only issue I was lacking of the Bowdlerised American edition of The Wife—another rarity (only one other copy known) and another milestone. I was also very pleased to find my third copy of Ed.59.18 Edwin and Lucy, in yet-another variant binding (above, right). Finally, this year I got a copy of Clara Reeve's The Progress of Romance (1785), an important early assessment of Haywood's writing.

* * * * *

I still have less than half of the Haywood items I know about, and am well short of matching the British Library collection (which has about 55% of the items known to me). My goal as a collector is to surpass the BL collection, which I hope to do in the next three or four years, not to have a complete collection, which is almost certainly not possible in one life time, even with endless funds. My goal as a scholar has always been to simply to have a useful collection. The collection has already proven to be quite useful—providing me with material for original research and publications—but it is obvious that it will get more useful as it gets larger—so my scholarly and collecting goals remain in agreement: more Haywood items are required!

Rocking Chair Reader, ca. 1910

The young woman in this photo is posed with a book on a plain oak rocking chair. The book can't be identified, and the posture of the "reader" is not suggestive of either a captured private moment, or an attempt to recapture a moment of reading, such as we see in some of the previous photos I have posted. Likewise, while the oval inset croping of the image and the plain background suggests that the photo could have been taken in a studio, I imagine that the former could be requested when printing a negative and the latter is consistent with both the chair and the book, so perhaps this photo was taken at home.

The photo is printed as a real-photo postcard; the recto is well-thumbed (which is why I have cropped it out in the photos above and below); the stamp box on the verso is an "AZO"-type with triangle corners, pointing upwards. According to this site, this paper stock was used from 1904 to 1918. The chair in the photo has turned spindles and bentwood arms—although the legs are not visible, this is a style that was common on rocking chairs. Earlier chairs (rocking, kitchen, and dining chairs) often had pressed wood backs, as you can see here.

Although the plain, wide back of the oak chair has a bit of an early Deco look to me, our "reader" is wearing clothes that are suggestive of an earlier period. (Although long hair and high-neck shirts [without mutton leg shoulders] paired with a lace jabot or cravat were common from the late 1890s until at least 1915.) The binding style of the book was common from the mid-19th century well into the the 20th century, which does not help with narrowing down the date of the photo either.

All considered, there are no very strong indicators of date, location, or identity, and those clues that are present do not work together to offer any clue to the (fairly wide) date range indicated by the stamp box, thus the conservative dating above.