PHILLIPPS, THOMAS, SIR. Papers relating to the Bibliotheca Phillippica and the Middle Hill Press, 1300-1886 (bulk 1820-1872)
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Grolier Club Collection Relating to Sir Thomas Phillipps, ca. 1300-1886 (bulk 1820-1872)


Grolier Club collection relating to Sir Thomas Phillipps, ca. 1300-1886 (bulk 1820-1872)

Physical Description
Ca. 6500 items

Organization and Arrangement
Horblit Phillipps Collection organized into seven series: I. Middle Hill Press Books; II. Architectural and Topographical Views; III. Almanacs ands Diaries; IV. Works by and about James Orchard Halliwell (later Halliwell-Phillipps); V. Auction and booksellers catalogs; VI. Manuscripts associated with Bibliotheca Phillippica; VII. Miscellaneous books, manuscripts and objects associated with Phillipps’ personal life; and VIII. Photographs (family portraits and views).

Organization and Arrangement
Sotheby’s Purchase (2003) organized into six series: I. Genealogical material; II. Letters, bills, maps, plans and contracts relating to Middle Hill and other properties; III. Will of Sir Thomas Phillipps (1863); IV. Documents relating to Constantine Simonides and James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps; V. Expense account book; and VI. Improved numeration table; VI. Fragments of English Documents.

Historical/Biographical Note
English antiquary and bibliophile. He began collecting while at Rugby School and Oxford. On inheriting his father’s estate at Middle Hill at Broadway, Worcestershire he embarked on a career of collecting manuscripts, including Eastern, Greek and Latin as well as English and Continental. He also collected books. Between 1820 and 1825 Phillipps traveled to the Continent and visited many libraries in France and Switzerland. On his return to England he continued to collect, frequently buying up entire estate libraries at auction; Phillipps printed a number of the manuscripts, as well as other works, at the Middle Hill Press he established on his estate. During 1864-1865 he removed his household and all his collections to Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham. The husband of Phillipps’ oldest daughter, Henrietta, James Orchard-Halliwell, the Shakespearean scholar and editor; under the terms of the entailed Phillipps estate, he inherited Middle Hill and took the name of James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps. Harrison D. Horblit was a businessman and collector and member of the Grolier Club who lived in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Scope and Contents
The Horblit collection contains 558 separate titles published at Phillipps’ Middle Hill Press (Series I) along with several thousand corrected proofs and supporting letters and manuscripts and thirty catalogs, mainly in manuscript, relating to his collection created between 1816 and 1872. The architectural and topographical drawings, prints and engravings document (Series II) document his estate of Middle Hill as well as churches, monuments and old houses in the village of Broadway and in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. The almanacs and diaries (Series III) include those he kept for the years 1814 to 1866 along with fourteen others kept at various times by his wife and daughters at various times between 1821 and 1844, including those of Henrietta Halliwell-Phillipps. The Halliwell-Phillipps material (Series IV) includes about twenty books and pamphlets by or about the scholar, including those relating to professional controversies in which he was involved. Among the auction and booksellers catalogs (Series V) are those for sales of important individual libraries as well as those of smaller sales that contained material of interest to Phillipps. There are over 1200 catalogs issued by the firm of Puttick and Simpson between the years 1846 and 1872; many have Phillipps' own markings. Manuscripts associated with the Bibliotheca Phillippica (Series VI) include inventories of Phillipps’ manuscripts prepared in 1872 by Edward Bond, Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, that supplement the catalog prepared under the direction of Sir Thomas and brings the total number of entries to 26,365. The grant of arms obtained by Phillipps in 1821 and the altered grant of arms (1857) as well as his armorial bookplate, and magnifying glass are among the items associated with his personal life (Series VII), as is the manuscript by his friend Robert Curzon, Notes of some of the original libraries in the Levant where manuscripts still exist. Curzon gave this to Phillipps in 1837; an expanded version formed the basis of his book Visits to Monasteries in the Levant (1849). The photographs (Series VIII) include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and photographs. The Horblit finding aids are accompanied by various lists and bibliographies created at various times between 1946 and 1997 by Harrison Horblit, rare book dealers, auctioneers and the Grolier Club.

Scope and Contents

The Phillipps material purchased at the Sotheby’s auction of December 2, 2003 includes: Sir Thomas Phillipps’ autograph account book for the period 1819-1870 (Series V); letters, bills, maps, plans and contracts relating to Middle Hill and other properties (Series II); his will dated 1863 (Series III); a record of the number of copies of titles printed at the Middle Hill Press and his Improved Numeration Table of 1829 (Series VI). Other manuscript material includes the draft of his letter about the forgeries of Constantine Simonides and his copy of Joseph Hunter’s letter about James Orchard Halliwell (Series IV). Also: three large wooden crates containing ca. 5000 fragments of English documents dating from 1300 to 1800, with bulk belonging to eighteenth century (Series VI). Genealogical material includes a volume of printed pedigrees, Dugdale’s Baronage-, Henry St. George’s Visitatio Wiltoniae and pedigrees collected by John Mellersh of Bath, England (Series I).

General Note
Some prints and drawings housed in portfolio boxes.

General Note
Detailed finding aids have been created for most series; Middle Hill Press imprints and the Puttick and Simpson Catalogs have been cataloged separately.

Finding Aid
Detailed finding aids have been created for most series and imprints (i.e. Published and unpublished finding aids available in repository.

Immediate Source of Acquisitions
Horblit collection; Gift, Jean Mermin Horblit, widow of collector Harrison D. Horblit, 1995.

Immediate Source of Acquisition
Items from Schoyer Collection; Purchase, Sotheby’s auction no. 3243, London, 2003 Dec. 2.

Publications about Described Materials
“The Horblit Phillipps Collection at the Grolier Club,” by Martin Antonetti and Eric Holzenberg. Gazette of the Grolier Club, n.s., no. 48 (1997), p. 51-71.

Portions of the collection exhibited: “Sir Thomas Phillipps, Portrait of a Collector: An Exhibition of the Greatest Book Collector of All Time,” organized by the Grolier Club, 1972 Dec. 19 to 1973 Feb. 14; and “The Collector Collected: The Horblit Archive of Sir Thomas Phillipps at the Grolier Club,” organized by the Grolier Club, 1997 May 20 to July 31.

Halliwell-Phillipps, Henrietta, 1819-1879.
Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. (James Orchard), 1820-1889.
Horblit, Harrison D.,
Horblit, Jean Mermin, donor.
Phillipps, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1871.
Phillipps, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1872, collector.
Phillipps, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1872. Correspondence.
Phillipps, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1872. Will.
Middle Hill Press.
Puttick & Simpson.
Phillipps family.
Phillipps family. Photographs.
Grolier Club.
Sotheby’s (Firm).

Book collectors. England. 19th century.
Book collectors. Connecticut. Ridgefield. 20th century.
Book collecting. England. 19th century.
Book collecting. Connecticut. Ridgefield. 20th century.
Private libraries. England. 19th century.
Private libraries. Connecticut. 20th century.
Private libraries. England. 19th century. Catalogs.
Middle Hill Press.
Middle Hill ( Estate: Worcestershire, England). 19th century.

Account books. England. 19th century.
Ambrotypes. England. 19th century.
Auction catalogs. England. 19th century.
Booksellers catalogs. England. 19th century.
Catalogs. England. 19th century.
Daguerreotypes. England. 19th century.
Diaries. England. 19th century.
Drawings. England. 19th century.
Genealogies. England. 19th century.
Grants of arms. England. 19th century.
Personalia. England. 19th century.
Photographs. England. 19th century.
Printers proofs. England. 19th century.
Wills. England. 19th century.

Occupation (as reflected in collection)

Book collectors. England. 19th century.
Book collectors. Connecticut. Ridgefield. 20th century.
Genealogists. England. 19th century.

Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022-1098.
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