On the use of bookdealers’ invoices

Talking Humanities blog, School of Advanced Study, Institute of English Studies, University of London, https://talkinghumanities.blogs.sas.ac.uk/

For the full text : https://ies.sas.ac.uk/blog/use-bookdealers-invoices

In the course of an ongoing research project into collectors and collections of economic corpora, I have had the privilege to consult invoices for purchases of rare books, pamphlets, manuscripts and maps in the papers of H.S. Foxwell at Senate House Library, University of London and the Baker Library at Harvard, those of J.M. Keynes at King’s College and Piero Sraffa at the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge and those of E.R.A. Seligman at Columbia University Library, New York.

Such collections of invoices give insights into not just the collection or the collector but also provenance of certain items, and the book trade overall.  While the physical examination of the books and pamphlets in the collection may reveal indications as to their source (binder’s stamp, bookseller’s mark, bookplates, binding marks, even handwritten notes on the endpapers), invoices give an overall picture of purchases made and can further help trace provenance.