James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps (1820-1889)

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Shakespearean scholar and collector

In 1872 and subsequent years James Orchard Halliwell (he added the maiden name of his wife Henrietta, daughter of the antiquary and collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, in 1872) presented to the University Library ca 1,000 printed volumes on Shakespeare together with 100 volumes of notebooks and diaries as well as 300 volumes of literary correspondence. Links with the Library had been brokered by David Laing (1793-1878), who had arranged for Halliwell to have access to the rare copy of "Titus Andronicus" (London, 1600) presented by the son of Roger Hog, Lord Harcarse in 1700. By 1869 Halliwell began to make arrangements for the eventual disposal of his books and MSS after his death, and asked Laing's advice as to whether to prefer the University of Edinburgh or the University of Glasgow. Laing advised the former, as leading the way in literary studies, and part of the collection came to Edinburgh. The collection includes nearly all the editions of Shakespeare printed before 1660.

The University was able to secure the other part of the collection, consisting mainly of Jacobean, Restoration and early 18th-century plays, which Halliwell had gifted to Penzance Library, by purchase at auction in 1964. The impetus for that purchase came from the recently-formed Friends of Edinburgh University Library.

All or some of the text on this page originally appeared in the Gallery of Benefactors