Halliwell Phillipps, 'Literary Scraps'

James Halliwell-Phillipps was an indefatigable researcher of Shakespeare's life and works, and in pursuit of his enquiries he compiled large collections not only of early printed books, but also of later works of relevance to his studies and many volumes of notes. Not all his early books remained intact in his hands, however: in fact, he had a habit of making scrapbooks as part of his research which undoubtedly seems alarming to contemporary sensibilities.

Some of the clippings he pasted in contained references to Shakespeare's life and times. Others shed light on details of his plays. A large proportion of these clippings were taken from early printed books which were themselves rare, though some of the copies he mutilated may already have been damaged or imperfect.

This book belongs to a series of more than 70 volumes of 'Literary Scraps' which are now dispersed among a number of repositories, the majority being held in the Folger Shakespeare Library. In this scrapbook Halliwell-Phillipps has compiled notes of his own, but he has also pasted in extracts cut from a number of sixteenth and seventeenth century works, including a copy of Shakespeare's Poems of 1640 and at least one early edition of Ben Jonson.

 

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Further Study

For more on Halliwell-Phillipps's scrapbooks and his collecting habits, see J. A. B. Somerset, 'James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps and his Scrapbooks', Records of Early English Drama 1979: 2, 8-17, Samuel Schoenbaum, Shakespeare's Lives (Oxford, 1991), and Marvin Spevack, James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps (London, 2001).