The Library of Frances Mary Richardson Currer

To understand the largely 19th and 20th century history of American women book collectors, it is helpful to know the standard by which they were judged. In 1906, the London Times declared Miss Richardson Currer to be "the greatest woman book collector." The New York Sun sprang to the defense of American bibliophiles,  claiming, "That title properly belongs ... to Mrs. … Continue reading The Library of Frances Mary Richardson Currer

In Pursuit of a Collector: Abby Ellen Pope, 1858-1894

Abby Ellen Pope was one of the earliest American women book collectors to achieve national fame for her collection, although much of her life remains mysterious. The descriptions of her magnificent library are tantalizing, but reveal little of the woman behind the collection. The most comprehensive source for her biography is an article by Charles Ryskamp, published … Continue reading In Pursuit of a Collector: Abby Ellen Pope, 1858-1894

Are Women the Enemies of Books?

“There is a significant and instinctive enmity between women and books.” — Holbrook Jackson, The Fear of Books (1932).  In 1937, Anne Lyon Haight asked “Are Women the Natural Enemies of Books?” Haight went on to refute this idea with a history of several notable women bibliophiles. Unfortunately, the works on women book collectors are vastly outnumbered by the … Continue reading Are Women the Enemies of Books?