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2002 articles 1984 articles

The development of the collections of the Department of Printed Books, 1846-1875

P. R. Harris

Abstract

IN June 1872 a special Sub-committee of the Trustees of the British Museum considered a report prepared by W. B. Rye, the Keeper of Printed Books, on the acquisitions system of his department. They expressed great satisfaction with it, but asked that a further report should be produced showing what progress had been made in improving the collections of the library since 1846 when the purchase grant for printed books had been increased to 10,000 per annum as a result of a report compiled by Panizzi in 1842-3 (and printed by order of the House of Commons in 1846) showing how defective the library was. The members of the Sub-committee were of the opinion that the British Museum library had by 1872 become the best in the world, but they thought that an occasional survey of it at infrequent intervals would help to ensure that progress was maintained.

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