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James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps and the British Museum Library

Marvin Spevack

Abstract

IN an address on the Halliwell-Phillipps collection delivered before the Pennsylvania Library Club, at the Friends' Library, Philadelphia, on Monday, 14 January 1895, Albert H. Smyth, Professor of the English Language and Literature, Central High School, Philadelphia, no librarian and therefore 'rather reminiscent than doctrinaire', raised the curtain thus: "For several years I have been as regular in my summer visits to the British Museum as the birds that haunt the convenient corners of its Grecian front. From the day that I first walked with Richard Garnett, wittiest and most learned of librarians, in the gallery of the great reading-room and looked down upon the scholars who had come from the corners of the earth, I was made free of the learned society that makes of the library in Bloomsbury a great literary club. Lucy Toulmin Smith, the learned and industrious editor of the York Plays; Dr. Brinsley Nicholson, gentle and scholarly Shakespearian, now, alas, gone from us forever; P. A. Daniel, the best Elizabethan since Dyce, and many a foreign spirit, met every afternoon in the Museum restaurant, where we ate the worst meal in the United Kingdom and released our tongues after the forenoon's enforced silence."

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