A Bibliographical Alphabet

Due to the current situation, we are all working from home, so we are unable to show you new images from our collections. However, we are keen to maintain our online presence, so do follow us on Twitter and enjoy looking back at previous blog posts. We are also available by email – epbooks@tcd.ie – but obviously there is a limit as to what research we can do to answer your enquiries. We will do our best, of course!

Bibliography, in the sense of the history and description of books, uses a number of words which are not common in everyday life, so we thought some of our followers might find this A-Z useful. Words in italics are further explained under their initial letter. Continue reading “A Bibliographical Alphabet”

Bedlam in Belgium

‘Documents et particularités historiques …’ Shelfmark: Gall.6.i.39

Bibliophile Renier Hubert Ghislain Chalon was born in Mons, Belgium in 1802. A keen numismatist, his interests clearly extended beyond books and coins as he was also the instigator of the Fortsas Bibliohoax, one of the greatest pranks in the world of book-dealing. His hoax was a thing of beauty. Continue reading “Bedlam in Belgium”

The wanderer’s return from an odyssey

Christmas is a time for homecomings and in EPB we are delighted to welcome back a copy of William Wittich’s ‘A lexicon to Homer …’ (London, 1843). The volume, originally part of the old lending library, has been away for some time.


In September we received an envelope containing the book, a note and a cheque for €34 from Arthur Pritchard in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Arthur, who graduated from TCD in 1965, had visited the College for the August alumni celebrations this year and thoughtfully brought along the volume which he had recently discovered when clearing out his loft! Unfortunately the Library was closed when he attempted to return the work in person. His humorous note includes a photograph of his valiant effort to return the overdue text. Arthur’s generous cheque more than makes up for any accrued fines!



The Golden Lion and its silver swag: a Kerry tale of adventure

Regular readers of our blog might recall a piece relating to Lady Margaret Barrymore which was published in September 2014. She now returns with her husband, Thomas Crosbie, M.P. for Dingle, in a swashbuckling tale that features a rare ballad from the Burgage Collection.

On October 28th 1730, the Danish ship The Golden Lion hit stormy weather off the Kerry coast on its voyage from Copenhagen to the Indian port of Tranquebar. Thomas Crosbie came to the aid of the stranded ship and its captain Johan Heitman at Ballyheigue by beating off a scavenging mob and sheltering the crew on his nearby estate. The cargo was recovered and stored on Crosbie’s land. It included 12 chests of silver, the majority of which was the property of the Danish East India Company and valued at c. £20,000. With his health suffering after the exertions of saving the crew, Crosbie died a short time later. By early 1731 after an eventful few months the widow Lady Barrymore initiated salvage claims to the cargo which resulted in her being awarded £4,000. The drama however was only beginning!

In early June 1731 events took a spectacular turn when the Crosbie property was stormed by a gang of over 60 men who made away with the chests and killed at least two Danish guards in the process. Even though half the silver was recouped with the help of Francis Ryan, a ring-leader of the gang, the balance remains unaccounted for to this day.

Pue’s Occurrences, (June 1731) reports ‘about 200 men’ were involved in the raid. Shelf mark: IN.18.42.
Pue’s Occurrences, (June 1731) reports ‘about 200 men’ were involved in the raid. Shelf mark: IN.18.42.

Establishing who was behind the robbery became a sensational news story. Suspicion soon fell on the Crosbies and other landed gentry about their role in the missing silver. The close relationship between the investigating authorities (local magistrate Sir Maurice Crosbie was a nephew of the recently deceased Thomas) and the suspects, coupled with Lady Barrymore’s dubious salvage claims, rightly concerned Captain Heitman. His confidence in the resulting Kerry verdict was low and he moved that the case be heard in Dublin. Proceedings eventually opened in November 1735 resulting in the acquittal of conspirators Arthur Crosbie, cousin of Thomas, Archdeacon Francis Lauder and his wife Bridget. Much to Captain Heitman’s dismay Lady Margaret was never charged with involvement. He returned in defeat to Denmark in 1740 aged 77 and passed away a short time later.

The events inspired the composition of this rare ballad from the Burgage collection.

‘An excellent new ballad on the county of Kerry jury’ [Dublin, c.1735]. Shelf mark OLS X-1-924 no.21
‘An excellent new ballad on the county of Kerry jury’ [Dublin, c.1735]. Shelf mark OLS X-1-924 no.21

The collection came to the library in 1979 from Terence Vigors of Burgage, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow. The verse shown is one of seven poems and ballads from the collection not recorded in Foxon, D.F. ‘English verse, 1701-1750′.

Nollaig Shona Daoibh Go Léir

Lilyvale Club
E.A. Johnson, ‘The Lilyvale club, : and its doings’ (OLS POL 1960)

The staff in Early Printed Books and Special Collections would like to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and New Year. We close for the festive break today at 5.00 pm and reopen in the New Year on Friday 2nd January at 10.00 am.

Lunar exhibit on show in the Berkeley Library

To coincide with the visit to Trinity College of the European Space Expo a celestial print by Johann Baptiste Homann and Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr is now exhibited in the BLU display case. Published in Nuremberg c.1707, it shows the cartographic systems of two astronomers, Johannes Hevelius and Giovanni Battista Riccioli. Hevelius published the earliest discourse devoted solely to the Moon, ‘Selenographia’, in 1647. Four years later Italian astronomer Riccioli first published his map in ‘Almagestum novum’. In that short space of time the nomenclature in Hevelius’ work was displaced by Riccioli’s lunar descriptive terms which we still use today. Sadly for Hevelius disaster struck in 1679 when a fire destroyed his home and his observatory in Danzig. Although aged 68, Hevelius rallied, built a new observatory and continued to print astronomical works shortly up to his death in 1687.


Dicks’ Standard Plays

Among the collections in EPB are a lengthy run of plays in the series ‘Dicks’ standard plays’. John Thomas Dicks, born in 1818, advanced his publishing career enormously with the success of ‘Reynolds’s Miscellany’ in 1848. By 1868 the author G.W.M Reynolds was referred to in ‘The Bookseller’ as ‘the most popular writer in England’. Such popularity could only have been beneficial for his publisher too.

By the mid-1860s Dicks’ cheap reprints of Shakespeare led to another expansion of the flourishing business. Around the same time he began publishing ‘Dicks’ standard plays’. Over 1,000 titles were published over a twenty year period –averaging more than one a week! The library copy of ‘List of Dicks’ standard plays and free acting drama’ (London: ca. 1884) identifies Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ as being the first play in the series. Irish interest was heavily represented early on with R.B. Sheridan’s ‘School for Scandal’ (#2), ‘Pizarro’ (#15), ‘The Rivals’ (#18); Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ (#4) and Charles Macklin’s ‘The Man of the World’ (#16).

‘List of Dicks’ standard plays and free acting drama’ (London: ca. 1884) Shelfmark: OLS JOH 40 no.11

Drama scholars today are thankful to John Thomas Dicks as in many cases his publications are the only source that remains of some of the lesser known works.The publishing format included an illustrated paper cover, often pink in colour, with a repeat of the illustration on the title page. The verso of the title page shows costume and stage direction. The printing was done in two columns per page.

Dicks died in France in 1881. However, John Dicks Press Limited continued to publish up until 1963.

Holdings of the series in the Department are chiefly located at 149.u.166-182. See our online listing for more details.


Have You Registered Yet?

Building Collections: 300 years of the Old Library. Programme. Monday 25th June, 2012. The Thomas Davis Theatre, Trinity College Dublin, followed by a celebratory reception in the Long Room.The full programme is now available for TCD Library’s Tercentenary Conference, ‘Building Collections: 300 years of the Old Library’, which takes place on 25th June.

Featuring internationally renowned speakers, the conference is part of a series of events commemorating the laying of the foundation stone of the Old Library in 1712.

Toby Barnard, Bernadette Cunningham, Jane Ohlmeyer, Marianne Elliott, David McKitterick, Elizabethanne Boran, Charles Benson, and Peter Fox will all be giving papers. And if that’s not enough to entice you to register, delegates are invited to attend a celebratory reception in the Long Room that evening, during which Dr Edward McParland will give an address.

For further details of the conference, or to register online, go to http://www.tcd.ie/Library/tercentenary/conference/.