Scope and Content
Organization and Arrangement
Items Removed from Collection
Title: Richard Bentley and Son papers
Date (inclusive): 1800-1936
Collection number: 830
Richard Bentley and Son
9 boxes (4.5 linear ft.)
Abstract: Richard Bentley (1794-1871) worked at his brother Samuel's printing shop. He published a series of 127 volumes known as standard
novels and retired in 1867, after which his son George Bentley (1828-95) ran the business. His grandson, Richard Bentley,
(1854-1936) ran the business for five years until its dissolution in 1898. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts,
business records, catalogs, and ephemera related to the activities and literary associations of Richard Bentley and his publishing
firm, Richard Bentley and Son.
Language: Finding aid is written in
University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections
for paging information.
Restrictions on Access
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library
Special Collections for paging information.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the
creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright
owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
[Identification of item], Richard Bentley and Son papers (Collection Number 830). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles
E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
Richard Bentley (1794-1871) was born in London and attended St. Paul's school; in 1819 joined printing office set up by his
brother Samuel; became partner of Henry Colburn, publisher of fashionable novels, 1829; after Colburn's departure, Bentley
Oliver Twist; began
Bentley's Miscellany in 1837, with first Charles Dickens and then W.H. Ainsworth as editor until it ceased publication in 1868; published a series
of 127 volumes known as standard novels; retired 1867, after which his son George Bentley (1828-95) ran the business; his
grandson Richard Bentley (1854-1936) ran the business for five years until its dissolution in 1898.
Scope and Content
Collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, business records, catalogs, and ephemera related to the activities and
literary associations of Richard Bentley and his publishing firm, Richard Bentley and Son. Also includes letters to the younger
Richard Bentley after the demise of the Bentley firm in 1898.
Expanded Scope and Content
UCLA's collection of the Papers of the publishing firm of Richard Bentley has been collected from various sources. Two large
groups of material were purchased in 1963, one from Francis Edwards, Limited, through an American bookseller, and the other
at Sotheby's auction, February 19, 1963, Lot 387. The group from Francis Edwards comprises the bulk of the correspondence,
while the group purchased at Sotheby's consisted primarily of manuscripts from the firm's archive which had been submitted
to them for publication.
In addition we have purchased at various times beginning about 1950 smaller groups of letters to and from the Bentleys. Strictly
speaking the letters from the Bentleys to various authors should not be part of the Papers since those letters belong in the
papers of the recipient of the letters, but for convenience we have included them in the Bentley Papers. It is interesting
that a number of the letters from well-known writers such as James Fenimore Cooper, Marguerite Blessington, and Charles Dickens,
to name a few, were purchased from Winfred A. Myers, London manuscript dealer, in large bundles of literary manuscripts, and
it was only when we had them in hand that we
discovered that they belonged in the Bentley Papers. And in a few cases letters to the Bentleys remained for many years in
a file with other letters of the writer until the error was noticed.
UCLA does have some additional manuscript material relating to the firm of Richard Bentley which is not a part of our Bentley
Papers, and consequently not on this microfilm. We own the manuscripts of the following novels published by Bentley:
Broughton, Rhoda, 1840-1920.
Second Thoughts, by... In three parts. [n.p.,
ca. 1880] 2 p.l., 739 leaves. Holograph manuscript. Published in 1880.
Buchanan, Robert Williams, 1841-1901.
The Shadow of the Sword. A romance. [n.p., 1876] 226 leaves. Holograph manuscript. Published in 1876.
[Burdon, Hannah D.,
afterwards Mrs. Wolfensberger.
Seymour of Sudley; or
The Last of the Franciscans. n.p.,
ca. 1828-1836] [8pp.], 57-343, 337, 345pp. Holograph manuscript. pp.1-56 are missing. Published in 1836.
Captain. Black and Gold; or
The Don! The Don! A Tale of the Circassian War. [n.p.,
ca. 1864] 3 vol. Holograph manuscript. Published in 1864.
Vandeleur; or Animal Magnetism. A novel. n.p.,
ca. 1830-1836] 3 p.l., 852 leaves. Holograph manuscript. Published in 1836.
[St. John, Isabella,
The Legacy, by the author of Geraldine Hamilton... In three volumes... [n.p.,
ca. 1835] 2 p.l., 37-86, 105-735, 29, p. Holograph manuscript. Four stories published in 1836 under the title, Mrs. Cleveland,
and The St. Clairs, etc. pp.1-36 and 87-104 are missing. Ascribed to Lady Isabella St. John in the Bentley Catalogue, January
21, 1836. Geraldine Hamilton is ascribed to Lady Isabella Mohn in
The English Novel, 1740-1850, by Andrew Block, p.163, and to Miss E.H. Macleod in the British Museum Catalogue.
Two of these, the Burdon and the Pisani, were part of the group purchased at Sotheby's auction, February 19, 1963, and catalogued
separately because of their length. The others, with one exception, were purchased at various times and catalogued as individual
items for the same reason. The one exception is the manuscript of Rhoda Broughton's
Second Thoughts. This was acquired from the University of Illinois Library in 1959 in exchange for an important group of H.G. Wells manuscripts
which we thought should join the large Wells Collection in the University of Illinois Library.
Regretting the break-up of the Bentley Archive is certainly an exercise in futility, but on the other hand, I do have a small
sense of pleasure and accomplishment that at UCLA we have been instrumental in bringing some of this material together again.
An interesting project for the future would be a checklist with location of the Bentley correspondence now scattered in many
collections, both public and private.
Curator of Rare Books
Department of Special Collections
Organization and Arrangement
Arranged in the following series:
- Correspondence (Boxes 1-2).
- Manuscripts (Boxes 3-7).
- Bentley archives for 1891, 1893-98 from the Bodleian Library, Oxford University (Box 8).
- Temple Bar and proof sheets (Box 9).
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Bentley, Richard, 1794-1871.
Bentley, George, 1828-1895.
Bentley, R. (Richard), 1854-1936.
Richard Bentley and Son Archives.
Publishers and publishing--England--London--Archival resources.
Items Removed from Collection
Bentley's List of Publications for the years:
- 1897 (which was set up in Type).
- 1891, 1893, 1895, 1896 (which was in manuscript only).
These were withdrawn from this collection in May of 1970, to be bound and catalogued to complete the set: Z2003 B44l.