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Bibliotheca Fictiva Manuscript Collection: Part of the Arthur & Janet Freeman Collection of Literary & Historical Forgery

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0580
Starting on a shoestring budget as a graduate student at Harvard, where he also entered the antiquarian book trade as co-founder of Ximenes Rare Books in 1961, Arthur began to collect for himself, generally in the area of his academic specialty, Elizabethan drama, focusing in particular on the long career of the nineteenth-century English scholar-forger John Payne Collier an interest later revived through close collaboration with Arthurs wife, co-author, and business partner Janet Ing Freeman. Together they completed, after twenty more years of collecting and research, a two-volume, 1500-page bio-bibliography of Collier, published by the Yale University Press in 2004. This was awarded the prestigious International Bibliography Prize of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers for the years 2002-2006, and remains the authoritative account of that controversial figure. In the process of assembling and exploiting their Collier collection, they also widened their scope and began to collect all forms of literary forgery they could reasonably identify. The Freemans constructed their own canons of inclusion, defining practical limits--as, for example, where traditional pseudepigraphy might border on deliberate and tendentious misattribution, or where true narrative impostures converge on conventional fiction, or whimsical hoaxes give way to immediate disclaimer. The collection includes letters and other materials documenting the history of literary forgery, 1778-1970.

Dates

  • approximately 1635-1970

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

4.22 Cubic Feet (3 record center cartons, 1 legal size document box)

Biographical / Historical

As an antiquarian bookseller, and a former academic, Arthur Freeman has collected rare books and manuscripts for more than fifty years. Starting on a shoestring budget as a graduate student at Harvard, where he also entered the antiquarian book trade as co-founder of Ximenes Rare Books in 1961, Arthur began to collect for himself, generally in the area of his academic specialty, Elizabethan drama, focusing in particular on the long career of the nineteenth-century English scholar-forger John Payne Collier an interest later revived through close collaboration with Arthurs wife, co-author, and business partner Janet Ing Freeman. Together they completed, after twenty more years of collecting and research, a two-volume, 1500-page bio-bibliography of Collier, published by the Yale University Press in 2004. This was awarded the prestigious International Bibliography Prize of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers for the years 2002-2006, and remains the authoritative account of that controversial figure.

In the process of assembling and exploiting their Collier collection, they also widened their scope and began to collect all forms of literary forgery they could reasonably identify. The Freemans constructed their own canons of inclusion, defining practical limits--as, for example, where traditional pseudepigraphy might border on deliberate and tendentious misattribution, or where true narrative impostures converge on conventional fiction, or whimsical hoaxes give way to immediate disclaimer.

Ultimately they settled on a plan to collect the entire range of literary forgery from approximately 600 B.C. to the end of the twentieth century. Among these were specimens of the more conventional physical forgeries faked printings, falsified provenance or autograph manuscript annotation, and the like but the emphasis always lay on the deceptive creation of spurious text and fictive record, and the history of their investigation, discreditation, and/or pernicious survival, even into present-day controversy.

written by Earle Havens, Curator of Rare Books

Scope and Contents

Letters and other materials documenting the history of literary forgery, 1778-1970. See series descriptions for more information.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged according to the "Canons" set forth by the collector. The final series consists of ephemera removed from the book portion of the Arthur & Janet Freeman collection of literary and historical forgery.

Physical Location

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48 hours notice for retrieval.

Other Finding Aids

A published catalog contains detailed information on both the book and manuscript portions of the Arthur & Janet Freeman collection of literary & historical forgery. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Arthur and Janet Freeman, 2011-2012. Items are received by the Freemans on a regular basis and reference to them is added to the finding aid at this time.

Related Materials

This manuscript collection is part of the Arthur & Janet Freeman Collection of Literary & Historical Forgery. For information on the rare book portion, please contact Special Collections for more information.

Description Control

Scope and content notes as well as detailed item descriptions are described verbatum according to the accounts provided by the collector, a rare book dealer. It consists of an expansive entry for each item and may include information such as languages represented, general physical description, and brief histories pertaining to the item. Entries were copied exactly as they appeared in the catalog, thereby replicating the capitalization and punctuation contained therein.

For each entry a number and page number are referenced. These numbers reflect the arrangement in the published catalog and have been retained because they may be cited by researchers interested in accessing the collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Kelly Spring and Carla Ruas, 2012-2013; Jordon Steele in 2015, Annie Tang in 2015-2016, and Kristen Diehl in 2019.

Source

Creator

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA