An incoming file of correspondence addressed to William Hazlitt collector, Lester F. Lange of New York City.


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A file of incoming correspondence addressed to William Hazlitt collector, Lester F. Lange of New York City, comprising 33 letters relating to Lange's collecting activities during the 1930s, including:

[1] Marjorie Crandall (Reference Librarian at the Library of The Boston Athenaeum. Typed letter signed, one page, 16 July 1936, a reply to Lange "about the obscure works of William Hazlitt owned by the Athenaeum.");

[2] Payson G. Gates (American Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt collector, author of William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt: The Continuing Dialogue. 3 typed letters signed, 3 1/4pp, 25 May to 11 July 1936, writing about a recent acquisition ["The biggest surprise of my Hazlitt collecting"], sending thanks for the "photostat of your splendid letter from Hazlitt to his father," and explaining that he has "just returned to the other side the Plain Speakers which I told you about over the phone," as they were "poorly rebacked," and as he finds himself in sympathy with Lange's "plan to acquire only 'fine' copies for your library.");

[3] P.P. Howe (English editor of Hazlitt's Complete Works [21 vols, 1930-34]. 7 typed letters signed and one autograph letter signed, 10pp, 2 February 1935 to 9 October 1937, thanking Lange for offering to "keep in touch with me regarding your further acquisitions or discoveries," exchanging bibliographical data ["I am interested in your notes on various American 'firsts', and hope you will add to them. You no doubt know the first American collected edition, that of Wiley and Putnam, New York, 1846, partly reprinted in their 'Library of Choice Reading' of a year later. The same sheets occur with the imprint of Carey and Hart, Philadelphia, dated 1848. The stereotype plates of this edition had a remarkably long life . . . ."], responding to Lange's "exciting" news that he has purchased the manuscript of Hazlitt's "On Going a Journey," sold recently at auction ["I also made a bid for it, of 25 pounds. To my surprise, I appeared to be the runner-up, as it went for 27 pounds to a purchaser named Taylor. . . . Nothing pleases me better than to think that it is in your possession."], informing Lange about "Hazlitt's hair" ["I understood the only fully authenticated example to be now in the Mrs. Stark collection in the University of Texas. This is Leigh Hunt's affair (see my Life, note on p. 401), was acquired by a friend of mine (Downing, the Elian secretary) on its sale by auction by the Hunt family, and resold by him . . . . The separate history of your dealer's lock should be interesting."], and, in his finaI letter, explaining, "I have had to retire, owing to my financial set-back of last year, from the ownership hobby, and my one acquisition of late has been of the second edition 'Spirit of the Age' with corrections in the author's hand from the Reynell collection, sold at Sotheby's in July, of which Gates may have told you. He sent me a commission, if I was not competing; but I hard-heartedly put the book on my own shelves! There are some interesting textual corrections. . . .");

[4] Geoffrey Keynes (English physician, book collector, and bibliographer of Hazlitt. 4 autograph letters signed and one typed letter signed, 5pp, 28 January 1935 to 19 November 1937, acknowledging receipt of a "further description of the German translation of Hazlitt's Napoleon" ["quite new to me]" which "shall be filed in case there should be a second edition of the Bibliography, though I fear that is improbable," promising to inscribe his "two Hazlitt volumes" for Lange, commenting on an edition of Select British Poets, 1824, and noting the fact that "Hazlitt prices have advanced very much in this country in recent years");

[5] Christopher Morley (American novelist and miscellaneous writer. 3 typed letters signed, 3pp, 7 October 1936 to 6 June 1941, arranging a meeting ["Nothing in the world would interest me more than to see your manuscript of Hazlitt's essay. Don't you think we should take a few hours off from work for this purpose?"], referring to his most well-known novel ["I was cleaning up some old papers and came across a kind note from you nearly four years ago when you sent me the invaluable perpetual calendar. It occurred to me you might be pleased to know that was the reason for Kitty Foyle's discovery that the first of January 2000 will be a Saturday. April is unquestionably the 'cruellist month,' as Tom Eliot said; but it also includes Hazlitt's birthday and I keep a small picture of him pinned on the wall here in my working hideaway."], and seeking assistance for "some lectures" at Columbia" that he is preparing: "I think I shall make Hazlitt my starting point. Is it impertinent to ask if you care to tell me how your interest in him first began? I should like to allude to an enthusiasm for W.H. so far downtown. . . .");

[6] Joseph J. Reilly (Librarian at Hunter College of the City of New York. 3 typed letters signed and one autograph letter signed, 5 1/4pp, 6 June 1936 to 22 September 1936, where dated, saying he "should be happy to see the first editions of Hazlitt and the manuscript of 'On Going a Journey' which you have," explaining that the Library at Hunter has "no scarce Hazlitt material," because "We have, under the necessities of the case, been concerned more with securing material for our students to use than with trying to get such material as would warm the heart of a bibliophile," mentioning the books of Alexander Smith (author of Dreamthorp), recommending various "volumes of selections from Hazlitt and books of essays which include essays on him," and forwarding a typed copy of Louise Imogen Guiney's poem, "Beside Hazlitt's Grave" [still present]);

[7] Percy Van Dyke Shelly (Professor of English [University of Pennsylvania], author and editor [of Essays by William Hazlitt, 1924]. 3 autograph letters signed, 5 1/4pp, 24 May 1935 to 13 July 1936, agreeing "to autograph your copy of my little book," admitting, "I am not a collector -- I have never been able to afford to be. My money has gone into collecting a family. . . . But I am greatly interested in your collection. . . . I have long been an admirer of Hazlitt as one of the greatest English prose-men & Essayists. . . . But you are the first I have heard of whose enthusiasm has taken the form of collecting as well as reading. More power to you. . . .", and congratulating Lange on his "magnificent acquisition of the manuscript of 'On Going a Journey' ["one of the best of Hazlitt's essays & one of the best of its kind in all essay literature -- a perfect specimen of the familiar essay. I suppose there is no single item of Hazlitt that it would be more worth while having."]);

[8] Jacob Zeitlin (American rare book dealer, Hazlitt enthusiast and collector; 6 autograph letters signed, 10pp, 27 January 1935 to 3 September 1937, an interesting series dealing with the two men's mutual collecting experiences ["I have been picking up things in a haphazard fashion, when I could get them cheap. Only a few of them look at all handsome. However, I am proud of owning an odd volume of the Eloquence of the British Senate with the imprint 'Brooklyn 1810,' not known to Keynes or anybody else . . . . I found the volume in a miscellaneous lot in a Fourth Avenue book-shop . . . . "], remarking on a projected book "that I have agreed to do . . . .on Hazlitt for W.W. Norton" ["My own inclination is toward a study of Hazlitt's mind and his place in liberal thought rather than a routine biography."], praising the writings of Montaigne ["I yield to no one in my admiration for Hazlitt, but when it comes to modern breadth of outlook, flexibility of mind, humor, and sheer richness and truth in thinking, he must decidedly take his hat off to the old Frenchman. There simply is no essayist like him."], inquiring about the Hazlitt material owned by A.C. Goodyear, of Buffalo, "whose collection of Hazlitt MSS were utilized by P.P. Howe in the 'New Writings of Hazlitt,'" and attempting to arrange a visit to Lange's collection when Zeitlin is in New York."); and

[9] Unidentified. Typescript of "William Hazlitt (A talk delivered to a group of friends in 1933)." 4pp, 4to, a fair copy, unsigned.

Evidently much of this correspondence was at one time taped into an album, and, as a result, there is browning and tape residue in the margins, top and bottom, of some of the letters (no text disturbed); Save for a little toning, slight wear and a few tears, the lot is overall in good condition.

(Item ID: 21915)

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