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2002 articles 1981 articles

The acquisitions system of the Department of Printed Books in the 1870s

P. R. Harris

Abstract

PANIZZI'S years as Keeper (1837-56) were the revolutionary period in the history of the Department of Printed Books. After such a turbulent time consolidation was needed and this was provided first by John Winter Jones who was Keeper from 1856 to 1866. His successor was Thomas Watts, a man of very considerable ability, who had been one ot Panizzi's ablest lieutenants, but he died suddenly in September 1869 at the age ot fifty-eight after only three years as Keeper, and so did not have time to make his mark as head of the department. The next Keeper was William Brenchley Rye whom Esdaile described somewhat condescendingly as 'one of those useful competent men without much initiative whom seniority brings to the top. But this unexciting man has left some useful reports which give a good picture of the Department of Printed Books after the storms of the Panizzi period had subsided.

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