Reader In The John Rylands Library, Manchester UK
Here is a reader in The John Rylands Library, a Victorian Gothic building on Deansgate in Manchester and part of Manchester University. The library is a grand historical place to study with the smell of books all around. There are many collections here, but you will be as welcome if you bring in Martin Amis or Dan Brown.
The foundations of the Library's collections were the Althorp Library of Lord Spencer (yes that one!), acquired in 1892 and a part of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana purchased from James Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford in 1901. The Bibliotheca Lindesiana was one of the most impressive private collections in Britain at the time, both for its size and for the rarity of some of the materials it contained. The manuscript collections (including Chinese and Japanese printed books) were sold in 1901 to Mrs. Rylands for the John Rylands Library.
The collections include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts, examples of the earliest forms of European printing including the Gutenberg Bible, as well as the personal papers of distinguished historical figures including Elizabeth Gaskell, John Dalton and John Wesley. The library also houses the papyrus fragments known as the Rylands Papyri and documents from North Africa. The most notable of these are the so-called St John Fragment, believed to be the oldest extant New Testament document., Rylands Library Papyrus P52, the earliest fragment of the canonical Gospel of John text and Papyrus Rylands 463, a manuscript fragment of the apocryphal Gospel of Mary. The collection of incunabula numbers about 4,500.
In a nod to Irene Royal and Ann Brown, librarians I see very infrequently, there have been many important staff associated with the collection.
Librarians at John Rylands before its merger include Edward Gordon Duff in 1899 and 1900 and Henry Guppy between 1899 and 1948 (joint Librarian with Duff until 1900). Duff was responsible for the original library catalogue, compiled between 1893 and 1899: Catalogue of the Printed Books and Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, Manchester; ed. E. G. Duff. Manchester: J. E. Cornish, 1899. 3 vols.
Dr Guppy began publication of the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library in 1903; it later became a journal publishing academic articles and from autumn 1972 the title was changed to the Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester (further slight changes have occurred since). Other noteworthy members of staff were James Rendel Harris, Alphonse Mingana, the Semitic scholar Professor Edward Robertson (d. 1964) who was the third librarian, and Moses Tyson, keeper of western manuscripts, afterwards librarian of Manchester University Library
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