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New Victorian poetry collection

The Library has recently finished cataloging a collection of nearly four hundred volumes of 19th century poetry which have been added to Special Collections’ Victorian Literature Collection.  Most of these books are by minor Victorian poets whose work has never been reprinted, providing researchers with examples of forgotten literature in its original format.

Around 15 percent of the books are by women poets, such as Janet Hamilton, a Scottish woman who married at age 13 and gave birth to 10 children.  Because she couldn’t write, she composed poems in her head which her husband or son transcribed for her until she reached age 50, when she taught herself to write.  Her poetry was well received, and she even drew the notice of Queen Victoria.

Besides being a new source for literary scholarship, this collection is also a great resource for the study of book history.  Many of the volumes in this collection were issued by provincial publishers, offering scholars the chance to examine the importance of printing outside London, the major English publishing center, in the 19th century. The collection also contains many examples of original publishers’ bindings.

If you have reference questions relating to this collection, please e-mail us at specialcollections@byu.edu.

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