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Richard Bentley and Son papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Expanded Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Items Removed from Collection
  • Processing Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Richard Bentley and Son papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 830
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 8.0 linear ft. (17 boxes)
    Date: 1800-1936
    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.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    General Physical Description note: 16 document boxes and 1 oversize flat box (8 linear ft.)
    Creator: Richard Bentley and Son

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. 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.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Purchase, 1950, 1995, and 2012.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Richard Bentley and Son Papers (Collection 830). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 2723084 


    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 published Dickens' 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, printed material 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.
    Patten-Sauners, W.H., 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.
    [Pisani, Mme. Marianna. Vandeleur; or Animal Magnetism. A novel. n.p., ca. 1830-1836] 3 p.l., 852 leaves. Holograph manuscript. Published in 1836.
    [St. John, Isabella, Lady] The Legacy, by the author of Geraldine Hamilton... In three volumes... [n.p., ca. 1835] 2 p.l., 37-86, 105-735, 29, [1]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.
    Brooke Whiting

    Curator of Rare Books

    Department of Special Collections

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Correspondence (Boxes 1-2).
    2. Manuscripts (Boxes 3-7).
    3. Bentley archives for 1891, 1893-98 from the Bodleian Library, Oxford University (Box 8).
    4. Temple Bar and proof sheets (Box 9).
    5. 1995 Accession, additional material (Box 10-12 ).
    6. 2012 Accession, additional material (Box 13-17).
    To expedite researcher access, the additions were minimally processed and are arranged in the order in which they were received.

    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.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Phyllis Herzog, 2002. Additions processed by Gloria Gonzalez with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2013.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Bentley, George, 1828-1895.
    Bentley, R. (Richard), 1854-1936.
    Bentley, Richard, 1794-1871.
    Richard Bentley and Son Archives.
    Publishers and publishing--England--London--Archival resources.