Category: Mark Samuels Lasner

Circling Kate Greenaway

“Kate Greenaway Before the Fates” Self-Portrait, 1883, Mark Samuels Lasner Collection

Kate Greenaway is a figure that I’ve been circling for some time now. I am currently studying 19th century gardens—both in their material and textual configurations—and, while I am early on in my research of this period, so far I have often focused on gardens of the Regency period and the late Victorian period. Publishing in the late 19th century and clothing children in regency-styled outfits, this makes Greenaway a person for me to know.

In a class visit during Spring 2015 to the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, I first saw Kate Greenaway’s Marigold Garden. Drawn in by the artwork and thinking of a seminar paper topic, I quickly went over to Project Gutenberg and devoured copy of Greenaway’s work. While I didn’t end up writing on it, I noted this as something to come back to.

“Marigold Garden,” Pictures and Rhymes by Kate Greenaway, 1885, Mare Samuels Lasner Collection 

Later in Spring 2015 I was walking through the Delaware Art Museum with a friend and spotted something garden related in a case (apparently my eye is now trained to land upon those artifacts). Upon approach, this also turned out to be a Greenaway work. Again, I noted her as someone to come back to and study further.

Despite my diligent note taking, Greenaway kept slipping out of my academic sightline. Until, however, I began working for Mark. Poking around the collection for garden related items, I once again stumbled upon Greenaway. Rather than scrolling through an online copy that didn’t do her work justice, I could go through page by page and see the beautiful depictions of gardens.

When doing my small role for putting up the exhibition “Victorian Passions,” Greenaway’s work, A Day in a Child’s Life, was one that continually drew my eye. Absolutely stunning from cover to cover, this children’s work is my favorite piece in the exhibition—perhaps unsurprising for someone interested in gardens. Yet, I think it would take a very strong willed person to merely glaze over this beautiful work.

“A Day in a Child’s Life,” illustrated by Kate Greenaway, 1881, Mark Samuels Lasner Collection 

John Ruskin himself—who Mark’s copy is inscribed to—appears to agree with me. Upon expressing his thanks to Greenaway for this copy, in a December 1881 letter he notes that “You are fast becoming—I believe you are already, except E[dward] B[urne] J[ones]— the helpfullest in showing me that there are yet living souls on earth who can see beauty and peace and Goodwill among men—and rejoice in them.”

A Day in a Child’s Life—along with many other beautiful Victorian objects—are on display in Special Collections Gallery, found on the second floor of Morris Library until June 3, 2017.

Happy Birthday, W.B. Yeats


W.B. Yeats arriving in New York City for his American lecture tour, 1903. MSS 126 W.B. Yeats collection

Nobel-prize-winning poet and playwright William Butler Yeats was born on June 13, 1865, in Sandymount, Ireland.   A co-founder of the Irish Literary Revival and the Irish theatre movement, he was one of the founders of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre (est. 1904). Yeats is considered one of the most significant poets of the twentieth century.

Between May and September 1916, William Butler Yeats wrote what would become “Easter, 1916,” a poem that was not the ringing endorsement of republicanism many had hoped it would be (though it was interpreted as such). Despite his prominent role in the Gaelic Revival and establishment of the Abbey Theatre in the earlier part of the century, Yeats became increasingly disillusioned with radicalism. Irish historian and Yeats biographer R.F. Foster notes that “Easter, 1916” instead “emphasized not only the bewildered and delusional state of the rebels, but it move[d] on to a plea for the flashing, changing joy of life rather than the harsh stone of fanatical opinion fixed in the effluvial stream.”

Cover of W.B. Yeats's Easter, 1916

Yeats, William Butler. Easter, 1916. London: Privately printed by Clement Shorter, 1916. One of 25 copies.


More on W.B. Yeats (and the Yeats family) at UD:

W.B. Yeats collection

Mark Samuels Lasner collection

Jack B. Yeats correspondence

“A terrible beauty is born”: The Easter Rising at 100 exhibition

Book Enthusiasts Celebrate Arrival of Kelmscott Chaucer at Mark Samuels Lasner Collection

Printing scholars, librarians, book collectors, UD faculty, and students toast the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection’s landmark acquisition


Mark Samuels Lasner speaks to the crowd on May 11, 2016.  (Kelmscott Chaucer in the foreground.)

William Morris was one of the most consequential cultural figures in nineteenth-century Britain.  He was also a noted printer, and a rare copy of his greatest published work now makes its home in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library.  Friends of the Collection gathered on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 11th to toast the acquisition of Morris’s 1896 The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Printed, commonly called the Kelmscott Chaucer.

Kelmscott Chaucer

The Kelmscott Chaucer, Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library. The book is seen here in a slip cover made of William Morris fabric by Robert Patterson-Smith’s daughter.

The Kelmscott Chaucer is one of the most famous examples of fine printing.  It is highly sought after by collectors today. The copy recently acquired by the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection is one of only fourteen copies inscribed by William Morris, in this case to Robert Catterson-Smith, who worked with Morris and Edward Burne-Jones on the book’s illustrations.  Around sixty people assembled at the Morris Library on the University of Delaware campus to toast the arrival of the Chaucer.  Guests celebrated with champagne, cake, hors d’oeuvres, and speeches by Mark Samuels Lasner and William Morris scholar William S. Peterson.  They also viewed a special exhibition of other materials drawn from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection that offered further perspectives on the life of Robert Catterson-Smith and the work of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press.  See photographs from the event below.


David Taylor Sheds Light on Important English Family

Noted British historian discusses the Lushington family’s connections to Virginia Woolf

David Taylor's presentation

David Taylor presents on the Lushington family at the Morris Library.

On Thursday, April 28, 2016, noted British historian David Taylor regaled a group of University of Delaware students, faculty, staff, librarians, and members of the general public with a lecture titled “Mrs. Dalloway Goes ‘To the Lighthouse’: Virginia Woolf and Kitty Lushington.”  Held in the Class of 1941 Lecture Room at the Morris Library, the talk used unpublished material from the archive of nineteenth-century Britain’s Lushington family to reveal the little-known background to Virginia Woolf’s novels To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway.  Taylor discussed Woolf’s relationship with her childhood friend Kitty Lushington and offered general insights on this important English family.

Approximately forty people attended the lecture.  Light refreshments were served.

Upcoming: Virginia Woolf Lecture at UD Library

Mrs. Dalloway Goes “To The Lighthouse”: Virginia Woolf and Kitty Lushington

        Woolf     Lushington



Thursday, April 28, 2016
4.30 p.m.
Class of 1941 Lecture Room
University of Delaware Library

Free and open to the public  •  Refreshments

RSVP via email at or call 302-831-2231


In this lecture, noted British historian David Taylor will use unpublished material from the Lushington archive to reveal the little-known background to Virginia Woolf’s novels To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway. Taylor will discuss Woolf’s relationship with her childhood friend Kitty Lushington, and the remarkable and well-connected Lushington family.

Kitty Lushington was Woolf’s “Mrs Dalloway.” The “three Miss Lushingtons” spent family holidays with Virginia’s family at Talland House, Cornwall, which Woolf later used for the setting of To The Lighthouse. Kitty’s engagement to Leopold Maxse at Talland House was Woolf’s “first introduction to the passion of love.” This episode was used by Woolf for the climactic moment of the first part of her novel. Kitty later established herself as a well-known London hostess and Woolf used her again as the model for ‘Mrs Dalloway’.

The Lushingtons were a remarkably well-connected and affluent professional family who took full and creative parts in all the life around them. Their circle of friends, spread across three generations, reads like a “Who’s Who” of Victorian England and includes names such as William Wilberforce, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, Edward Lear, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Alfred Tennyson, William Morris, John Ruskin, the Brownings, Hubert Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams. It was Vernon Lushington who famously introduced Edward Burne-Jones to Dante Gabriel Rossetti – a meeting which led to the second phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Vernon Lushington was also one of the first promoters of the work Walt Whitman in the UK, earning Whitman’s fulsome praise. In his lecture, David Taylor will use unpublished material from the Lushington family archive to reveal more of the background to Woolf’s two novels and will discuss her relationship with her childhood friend Kitty.

Dr. David Taylor is an historian and author based in the UK. After many years of persistent enquiry and research, he was fortunate to locate the extensive archive of the Lushington family. Taylor obtained his doctorate from Roehampton University. His thesis was on Vernon Lushington’s role as a follower of Auguste Comte and the development of Positivism in the UK. For this he was awarded the Blackham Fellowship and then the Prix de these Auguste Comte from France. He has spent two years cataloguing the archive.

For more information, view this PDF: Taylor_Lecture_Announcement.


“The tea table however was also fertilized by a ravishing stream of female beauty – the three Miss Lushingtons, the three Miss Stillmans, and the three Miss Montgomeries – all triplets, all ravishing, but of the nine the paragon for wit, grace, charm and distinction was undoubtedly the lovely Kitty Lushington.”

—Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being

Kelmscott Chaucer Receives Warm Welcome in New York City

Exhibition and dinner at the Grolier Club honor the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection’s recent acquisition of William Morris’s 1896 masterpiece The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Newly Imprinted



The Kelmscott Chaucer, designed and printed by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press,
on display at the Grolier Club in New York City, March 24, 2016.


March 24, 2016 was the 182nd anniversary of the birth of William Morris, the great late-Victorian poet, artist, arts-and-crafts designer, and dedicated socialist who reshaped decorative arts and bookmaking in Britain and America. The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library, partnered with the Grolier Club in New York City to celebrate the occasion with a special exhibition of a recently acquired copy of William Morris’s 1896 The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Printed. Commonly called the Kelmscott Chaucer, the book is one of the most famous examples of fine printing and is highly sought after by collectors today. The copy recently acquired by the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection is one of only fourteen copies inscribed by William Morris, in this case to Robert Catterson-Smith, who worked with Morris and Edward Burne-Jones on the book’s illustrations.

The exhibition also featured other materials drawn from the Grolier Club’s own collection, including other books produced by Morris’s renowned Kelmscott Press and assorted manuscripts, books from Morris’s library, and other related rare editions. Around forty people attended the event. After viewing the exhibition, they enjoyed drinks, dinner, and remarks by Mark Samuels Lasner describing the acquisition of the Chaucer. See images from the evening below.


Barbara Bodichon Art Comes to the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection

Landmark acquisition brings work of English artist and feminist to University of Delaware Library

The name Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891) is unfamiliar to most people in 2016, even those who study nineteenth-century British feminism and Pre-Raphaelite art. Despite her obscurity, however, the intelligent, talented, and visionary Bodichon played a vital role in the society and culture of the Victorian age, particularly in the realms of women’s educational and political rights, and women’s involvement in the arts. The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware Library has recently acquired a collection of paintings that comprises the largest single assemblage of Bodichon’s works in existence today. By bringing these artworks to the UD Library, faculty, students, and visitors to campus will enjoy the opportunity to peer into the life and work of an important female Victorian cultural figure.

Barbara Leigh Smith was born in 1827 into unusual, upper-middle-class circumstances.  Her father was a rich and well-known Whig political figure and anti-slavery advocate, her mother (whom her father later married) a milliner. Naturally intelligent, Barbara developed an interest in advocacy for women’s rights and devoted much of her substantial independent income to the cause, simultaneously beginning a career as a professional artist that brought her into contact with the Pre-Raphaelites and their circle. Smith’s marriage to Eugene Bodichon, an eccentric French physician who spent much of his time in Algiers, allowed her considerable flexibility to pursue her radical interests. In 1858, Barbara founded the English Women’s Journal and, eight years later, was involved in establishing Girton College, Cambridge, for the education of women.

The feminist aspects of Bodichon’s life—in particular her close association with George Eliot and her role in the founding of Girton College— have been studied in far greater depth than her artistic achievements, making the acquisition of so significant a representation of her ouvre by the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection all the more important. As a young woman, Bodichon’s grandfather brought her to see the famous painter Turner at work. She studied under William Holman Hunt and exhibited her watercolors at the Royal Academy and the Salon. Hercules Brabazon was a mentor, and she developed a lifelong friendship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who memorably described Bodichon as “blessed with large rations of tin [money], fat, enthusiasm, & golden hair, who thinks nothing of climbing up a mountain in breeches or wading through a stream in none, in the sacred name of pigment.”

The new acquisition consists of thirty-eight separate paintings by Bodichon, ranging from juvenile works to late landscapes from her travels to the Continent and to Algeria. There are, in addition, several autograph letters and materials connected with Bodichon exhibitions organized by the former owner, John Crabbe. Already present in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection are a watercolor of Hastings harbor and a a pencil portrait of Elizabeth Siddal.  The collection also holds the copy of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s 1870 Poems inscribed to Bodichon. A selection of the paintings are presented below.

John Crabbe described Bodichon’s style as follows: “Her own pictures had a thrusting, sometimes almost unfinished quality, which distanced her stylistically from the Pre-Raphaelites, yet she sometimes contrived a remarkable appearance of fine detail which caused her to be grouped with them.” As Crabbe noted, “In 1856 Rossetti’s brother William Michael touted an Isle of Wight landscape exhibited at the Royal Academy as an example of what he called ‘real Pre-Raphaelism’” (Crabbe 1989, 101).

Useful secondary sources on Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon’s life include Sheila R. Herstein, A Mid-Victorian Feminist: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (Yale University Press, 1985) and Pam Hirsch, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, 1827-1891: Feminist, Artist, and Rebel (Chatto & Windus, 1998), both available in the UD Library.  John Crabbe’s March 2, 1989 Country Life article “Wild Weather in Watercolour” (pp. 100-101) offers a succinct overview and analysis of Bodichon’s paintings.


Faculty Lecture to Highlight Irish Connections

The University of Delaware’s Anne M. Boylan will present on “20th-Century Ireland: A Family Odyssey”


Illustration: Eva Gore-Booth. The Death of Fionavar: From the Triumph of Maeve.  London: E. MacDonald, 1916.
Decorations by Constance Gore-Booth (Countess Markievicz). Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library.  


University of Delaware Library Associates
2016 Faculty Lecture

“20th-Century Ireland: A Family Odyssey”
Anne M. Boylan
Professor of History

March 15, 2016
4.30 p.m. Reading Room
University of Delaware Library
181 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE

Join Anne M. Boylan, a distinguished faculty member in the University of Delaware’s Departments of History and Women’s Studies, for personal reflections on Ireland’s turbulent twentieth-century history.

This lecture is sponsored by the University of Delaware Library Associates in conjunction with the Special Collections Gallery exhibition, “‘A terrible beauty is born’: The Easter Rising at 100.”

A native of Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland, Anne M. Boylan is a historian of the nineteenth-century United States and of women and gender, and holds a joint appointment in the Departments of History and Women and Gender Studies. A graduate of Mundelein College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD), she has published articles in The Journal of American History, American Quarterly, The Journal of the Early Republic, and other scholarly journals. Her books are Sunday School: The Formation of an American Institution, 1790-1880 (1988); The Origins of Women’s Activism: New York and Boston, 1797-1840 (2002); and Women’s Rights in the United States: A History in Documents (2014). She is currently researching the production of popular versions of women’s history in the 19th and 20th-century United States.

Copies of Women’s Rights in the United States: A History in Documents will be available for purchase before and after the lecture.

Please RSVP to or call library administration at 302-831-2231. This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

“‘A terrible beauty is born’: The Easter Rising at 100,” on view through June 12, 2016, commemorates the anniversary of a brief insurrection mounted by a small band of republicans over Easter Week 1916 that was quickly and violently quashed by the British. The uprising became a defining moment for the complex landscape of Irish culture, politics, and history in the twentieth century. The exhibition examines events and attitudes before and after the events of Easter Week 1916, including the Celtic Gaelic Revival period, the rise of Irish Nationalism, the War of Independence and the Civil War, as well as Irish literature produced in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland during The Troubles in the latter half of the twentieth century. Literary texts—with the rare first edition of Yeats’s Easter, 1916 as the iconic centerpiece—are shown alongside political broadsides, manuscripts, letters, periodicals, and graphics, indicating the rich history of Irish print culture and the deep resources of the University of Delaware Library. The exhibition is curated by Maureen Cech, senior assistant librarian in the Manuscripts and Archives Department of the University of Delaware Library.



Mark Samuels Lasner Collection Hosts Book History Open House

Faculty, librarians, graduate students, and community members discuss history of the book at UD Library

An eclectic assemblage of University of Delaware professors, librarians, conservators, administrators, and community book enthusiasts gathered in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection on Thursday, December 3rd to discuss the importance of book history, material texts, and print/manuscript culture within the broader context of material culture studies. Over festive seasonal fare including cranberry orange scones and hot apple cider, the crowd also enjoyed an exclusive viewing of the temporary exhibition “Beyond the Looking Glass: Lewis Carroll Materials in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection,” which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the famous children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. View a gallery of photos from the event below.


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August A. Imholtz, Jr. Explains Delaware Connection to Alice in Wonderland

Large audience attends lecture on Eldridge Johnson and the Lewis Carroll Alice manuscript


August A. Imholtz, Jr. presents on Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, December 1, 2015.

Noted Lewis Carroll scholar and collector August A. Imholtz, Jr. explained the little-known Delaware connection to the manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, the original version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, during a lecture on Tuesday, December 1. A crowd of 86 University of Delaware faculty, staff, students, and community members filled the UD Library Class of 1941 Lecture Room to capacity for the highly anticipated talk.

While Lewis Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass remain treasured pieces of children’s literature, few know that the manuscript for the first Alice story has an American—and indeed a Delaware—connection. When Alice Liddell Hargreaves, Carroll’s inspiration for his stories, sold the manuscript for Alice’s Adventures Under Ground at auction in 1928, it was purchased by the famous Philadelphia book dealer Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach, who in turn sold it to native Delawarean Eldridge Johnson, co-founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company. After Johnson died in 1945, Rosenbach again purchased the manuscript and, with the help of many wealthy Americans including Walt Disney and Nelson Rockefeller, donated the book to the British Library as a token of American appreciation for British valiance during the Second World War. Imholtz’s talk traced the fascinating history of the manuscript and its circuitous path to the United States and back to Great Britain.


August A. Imholtz, Jr. shows a picture of Eldridge Johnson, December 1, 2015.

August A. Imholtz, Jr. was the Government Documents Vice President of Readex, a digital publishing company. A former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, he is also a past president of the Baltimore Bibliophiles, a member of the American Library Association’s Rare and Endangered Government Publications Committee, and a member of the Lewis Carroll Societies of Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. He has written or edited several books and published more than 100 articles on Greek and Latin philology, Lewis Carroll, and other subjects. He has lectured at Cambridge University, the Smithsonian Institution, Princeton University, the Foreign Language Library in Moscow, and other institutions.

To view a digitized version of the Alice’s Adventures Under Ground manuscript, click the following link:

This talk was associated with “‘We are all Mad’: The 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” an exhibition (November 20–December 18) in the Guenschel Case, located in the University of Delaware Morris Library’s Information Room. The display includes a copy of the facsimile of the Alice manuscript Eldridge Johnson had printed in Vienna in 1936. Another exhibition, titled “Beyond the Looking Glass: Lewis Carroll Materials in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection,” is on display in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection (Room 115A, Morris Library) until December 18th. Viewing of the exhibition is by appointment only. Please call Mark Samuels Lasner at 302-831-3250 or e-mail him at to arrange a viewing.

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