Scope and Content Notes
The Isaac Foot Library: A Report to the University
Title: Isaac Foot Collection
Dates: ca. 1530-1964
Collection number: Mss 33
5.5 linear feet
University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
Abstract: Collection contains 16th-17th bible leaves, and correspondence of Joseph Addison, Edmund Burke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, H.
L. Mencken, William Pitt, Alexander Pope, Samuel Wesley, Sarah Wesley, other Wesley family members, and William Wilberforce.
Location: Boxes 1-7 (SRLF); Boxes 8-12 (Del Sur Oversize).
Purchase from the Foot Estate, 1962.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
[Identification of item], Isaac Foot Collection, Mss 33, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University
of California, Santa Barbara.
The following information is drawn primarily from Sarah Foot's biography,
My Grandfather Isaac Foot;
The Times and
The New York Times obituaries (December 14, 1960), and Theodore G. Grieder's,
The Isaac Foot Library: A Report to the University:
Isaac Foot, influential British politician, staunch Methodist preacher, avid book collector, and author, was born February
23, 1880, and died December 12, 1960. The son of a builder and carpenter, he grew up in Plymouth and began his career as a
poorly paid clerk in the Civil Service. He went on to establish a successful solicitor's (law) firm and held a seat in Parliament,
1922 to 1924 and 1929 to 1935, as an outspoken Liberal Party member for Bodmin, Cornwall.
Foot also was Deputy Mayor of Plymouth, 1920-1921; Minister for Mines, 1931-1932; Lord Mayor of Plymouth, 1945-1946; and President
of the Liberal Party Organization, 1947. At various times he was President of the National Temperance League, the National
Sunday School Union, and the National Education Association, as well as President of the Brotherhood movement, 1936-37, and
Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, 1938. He was a leader in the free trade movement and in the movement for Indian
In 1904 Foot married Eva Mackintosh (1878-1946). They had five sons and two daughters. Three of his sons, Hugh, Dingle, and
Michael (known in some quarters as the "Three Left Feet") also became prominent politicians and government officials. Hugh
Foot, a Governor of Cyprus, had a long, distinguished career in the Colonial Service and at the United Nations; Dingle was
a Labour MP and Solicitor General for the Labour Government, 1964-1967; and Michael has been a well known journalist, Left-wing
Labour leader and MP.
During the course of his lifetime, Foot amassed one of the largest private libraries in the country, at his home in Pencrebar,
Cornwall. Estimated to be some 52,000 books, it was particularly strong in law, politics, English history and literature,
and religion, all of which were particular interests of Foot's. As Sarah Foot notes in
My Grandfather Isaac Foot (p. 79), it was the breadth of the subject matter that was particularly impressive:
"There were works on Cromwell and Milton, a fantastic collection of Bibles, 450 Greek Testaments alone, books on the Apostles
especially Paul, and a group of religious books concerned with the Wesleyans, showing the strong influence Methodism played
in his life. There were 2,000 books on the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte, and several volumes covering the American
Civil War, military campaigns and Abraham Lincoln, another hero of his. There were books covering the Italian Renaissance
and the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Carlyle and William Wordsworth."
Letters, documents, historical and literary manuscripts were a lesser interest for Foot, but within the library there were
a number of important items such as letters from William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Thomas Carlyle, and Richard Cobden. A fuller
description of the library, including the manuscripts, is included in Theodore Grieder's
Isaac Foot Library: A Report to the University.
Foot's interest in British history and politics, particularly Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth period (mid 17th century),
is reflected in his publications. These include a number of monographs, articles, as well as printed versions of some of his
more notable speeches, lectures, and addresses. Among these are:
The City of the Living God: Studies of Wesley's Catholicity, with T. S. Gregory (London, 1932).
Drake's Drum Beats Again (Plymouth, Eng., 1945).
Liberty and the Liberal Heritage. Ramsey Muir Memorial lecture (London, 1948).
Michael Verran of Callington and Thomas Carlyle (London, 1946).
Oliver Cromwell and Abraham Lincoln, a Comparison: A Lecture Delivered before the Royal Society of Literature...(London, 1945).
William Tyndale, an Apostle of England (London, 1936).
For further biographical information, see: Sarah Foot.
My Grandfather Isaac Foot. St. Teath, Cornwall: Bossiney Books, 1980.
Scope and Content Notes
In 1962 the University of California purchased the Isaac Foot Library, which at that time was located in Foot's country house
at Pencrebar, in Cornwall. Lawrence Clark Powell, Dean of the UCLA Library, had met Foot in 1945. After Foot died in 1960,
a note was found in his effects suggesting that Powell be approached about the library. The matter was referred to the Library
Council of the University, which handled the negotiations. The library was packed and shipped to the Santa Barbara campus,
which then administered the distribution of materials to five UC campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Santa
Further information on the history of the Isaac Foot Library, including its content and acquisition by the University of California,
may be found in: Theodore G. Grieder,
The Isaac Foot Library: A Report to the University (Santa Barbara, California: Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, for the Library Council of the University,
The Foot distribution at UCSB includes a large collection of printed materials, and a relatively small manuscript portion
which is described in this guide. UCSB printed holdings include early bibles (from the 13th century), Greek testaments, incunabula,
17th and 18th century monographs, English Civil War tracts, French Revolutionary and Napoleonic history, and items relating
to Wesley and Methodism. Most of the printed materials have been cataloged individually and the rarer items are housed in
the Department of Special Collections. They may be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB online catalog.
The manuscript portion of the Foot distribution at UCSB contains the following series:
Biographical Materials (mostly by/about Isaac Foot but with some material relating to other members of the Foot family).
Manuscripts, with three sub-series:
Books and Bookselling (primarily notes on authors, books, the book trade, printing, apparently relating to items in the Foot Collection).
Correspondence (collected by Foot, including items by Joseph Addison, Edmund Burke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, H. L. Mencken, William Pitt,
Alexander Pope, Samuel Wesley, Sarah Wesley, other Wesley family members, and William Wilberforce.
Miscellany (mainly letters to Foot).
Foot Collection Files (lists and correspondence about the contents, acquisition, and distribution of the collection to the five UC campuses).
Pamphlets (mainly 18th century British).
Oversize, with two sub-series:
Bible Leaves (a substantial collection of material, consisting mainly of single sheets, sometimes in multiple copies, ca. 1530-1611).
Miscellany (two items, including an ink sketch of Samuel Taylor Coleridge).
Additional Foot manuscripts are located at the other UC campuses. A more detailed description of the distribution of printed
and manuscript items to the five UC campuses may be found in: Theodore G. Grieder,
The Isaac Foot Library: Classified Lists of the Collections, Showing Location in the Libraries of the University of California (Santa Barbara, California: Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1963).
The Isaac Foot Library: A Report to the University
Theodore G. Grieder,
The Isaac Foot Library: A Report to the University. Santa Barbara, California: Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, for the Library Council of the University, 1964.
The purpose of this report is twofold: first, to consider some of the questions which arose in joint purchase and distribution
of a notable library among several campuses of the University; second, to survey the contents of this library for faculty,
librarians, and other interested members of the University community. Related to the latter purpose is the belief of the Library
Council that brief descriptions of the author, period, and subject collections in the Foot Library will result immediately
in an enlarged group of potentia1 users. Such a survey will, conversely, make known, what is not to be looked for in the library.
For example, a medievalist will find far fewer titles in his field than, say, a seventeenth century historian.
A two hundred page volume containing photographic reproductions of all of the working lists used in the distribution of the
Foot Library has also been prepared. Through its table of contents, index, lists, and supplementary checklists, any interested
person should be able to learn more about academic materials in his field, if Foot collected them. This volume -
The Isaac Foot Library - is available at the reference desks of the libraries at Berkeley, UCLA, Davis, Riverside, and Santa Barbara. A microfilm
negative copy, available for making additional copies, remains at Santa Barbara. The photographically reproduced compilation
deals specifically with the contents of the library: it lists collections in detail, frequently by individual titles, and
gives the present location of collections and titles in the University libraries. The aim of this report is, therefore, to
provide a general description of Foot's holdings. The details of the distribution itself, perhaps of most interest to librarians,
have been described briefly; all related statements, sketches, and correspondence will be available for consultation at Santa
It is not the object of this report to discuss at any length the life of so remarkable a man as the Right Honorable Isaac
Foot. Professionally, he began as a poorly paid clerk to become a solicitor in the law firm now carried on by two of his sons,
John and Christopher. In politics he was a life-long member and leader of the Liberal Party: M.P. 1922-24, 1929-1935; Minister
for Mines 193l-32; President of the Liberal Party, 1947; Deputy Mayor of Plymouth, 1920-21; Lord Mayor of Plymouth, 1945-46.
His other three sons, Sir Hugh, Dingle, and Michael, have been prominent in politics, being known in some quarters as the
"Three Left Feet." Foot was a leader in the free trade movement and in the movement for Indian independence. In religion he
was a Methodist and a local preacher; President of the Brotherhood movement, 1936-37; Vice-President of the Methodist Conference,
1938; and an ardent leader of the temperance movement throughout his life.
As a historian, Foot ranks as an authority on Cromwell and the Commonwealth period; one has only to read his review of Hilaire
Belloc's biography of Cromwell to realize the depth of his learning in this field (
Contemporary Review CXLVI (1934). 556-562). He exchanged letters about 17th century history with men such as C. P. Coach and W. C. Abbott, the
noted Harvard Cromwellian authority, and appeared to know the work of Firth and Gardiner by heart. A grasp of political, social,
and religious thought is evident in his "Oliver Cromwell and Abraham Lincoln," delivered before the Royal Society of Literature
of which he was a fellow (
Transactions of the RSL, New Series, XXII (1945), 2-60). Scholarship, both historical and religious, is shown as well in his "Cromwell: An Open Letter
to the Lord Bishop of London from Isaac Foot" (
Observer, Sunday, Feb. 20, 1949) and in his "Introduction" to
The New Testament Translated by William Tyndale 1534 (Cambridge University Press 1938). That this history was alive for him is most evident in his "Drake's Drum Beats Again,"
a BBC broadcast in August 1940, which contains what is certainly an outstanding affirmation of Protestant independency in
the twentieth century. The bibliography of his writings, available at Riverside, is not compendious, but is substantial for
a man engaged in so many diverse activities.
As a scholar-bookman, he built his library of some 52,000 books around his many interests. Law, politics, history, religion
were all represented. Foot's collection of Richard Cobden's letters, a very large one, reflected his respect for the great
free trader of the nineteenth century; there was a shelf of temperance works. The mark of the man is in these collections,
as it is in the manifold activities of his life, in his political convictions, in his form of Methodism. It is in his wit,
for which his rebuttals to parliamentary salvos were noted. It is in a story he once told about two farmers who listened to
the minister expound on the ten commandments for several hours. After service they returned homeward in silence. Some time
having passed, one observed, "Well, we haven't worshipped any graven images lately."
Negotiations for Purchase
Lawrence Clark Powell, now Dean of the UCLA Library School, met Isaac Foot on the Santa Fe Super Chief in 1945. After Foot's
death in 1960, an agent contacted the University about possible purchase of the Foot Library; a note in Foot's effects suggested
approaching Dean Powell. The matter was turned over to the Library Council of the University; and Edwin T. Coman, Jr., Librarian
at Riverside and Secretary of the Council that year, handled negotiations. A final survey, to be discussed below, of the library
at Foot's country house in Cornwall concluded negotiations; and the library was purchased for 50,000 pounds. Toward this sum,
the libraries of the University provided four-sevenths of the total from their book budgets, and the President the remaining
three-sevenths from special funds. It has been determined that the chief purpose in purchasing the Foot Library was to benefit
the smaller campuses; Davis, Riverside and Santa Barbara therefore each provided one-fourth ($20,000) of the libraries' share
while Berkeley and UCLA contributed $10,000, or one-eighth each. After the conclusion of the purchase, arrangements were completed
for packing and shipping the books to the library at Santa Barbara which was to house the collections and administer the distribution
In the fall of 1961, Coman arrived in England to survey the library at Foot's house at Pencrebar, Callington, Cornwall. He
was joined by Donald Fitch of the library at Santa Barbara. The latter, who took time from London researches on Robert South,
prepared a sketch map of the Foot house and a detailed report on how the different collections were organized, no slight task
considering that the books were placed in all 24 rooms and four corridors of the enormous three-floor country home. The importance
of this sketch - which was later corrected in detail by Martin Hamlyn, the agent who handled the packing - and Fitch's report
was great; they helped the Library Council make preliminary decisions about distribution and enabled Theodore Grieder, the
librarian in charge of the distribution of the collections, to know the scope and general nature of the library before it
arrived in Santa Barbara. Also by agreement, the cartons containing the books were labeled by room or corridor location; when
these 500 cartons arrived in 14 two-ton packing cases at Santa Barbara, they could, thus, be assigned to library areas designated
to receive titular author, period and subject collections. To be able to preserve Foot's arrangement saved much time in basic
Negotiations for Distribution
Before negotiations for distribution began, some basic decisions were reached. Of these, the most important had been determined
before purchase: the chief purpose of the collections was to strengthen the libraries at Davis, Riverside, and Santa Barbara.
Since the smaller libraries each contributed twice the amount of purchase money contributed by Berkeley or UCLA, it was reasonable
that they should expect twice the return of the two larger libraries. A second was related to the principle of building to
specialized strengths: where strength in a subject or period already existed in a particular library, that library should
receive priority for appropriate Foot volumes. A third was to distribute the Foot collections in a year, the period for which
Santa Barbara had agreed to provide shelving space. A fourth was that no library should acquire collections whose titles duplicated
its present holdings to any great extent. In view of these considerations, the Library Council determined that collections
should be distributed in blocks insofar as possible. This judgement was appropriate since the smaller libraries could acquire
these blocks with far less duplication than could the larger libraries; the smaller libraries agreed in turn to list and exchange
duplicates with one another. It was realized, however, that certain collections of particular academic interest - pre-1700,
and in some instances pre-1800, imprints, for example - should be listed title by title and distributed on an individual basis
to build to existing strengths on the larger campuses.
Priorities for a few collections were established before negotiations for the others began. Berkeley and UCLA were given priority
for Indian and African titles, although these later proved to be relatively inconsequential; first chance at Foot's exceptional
collection of 3,000 English Civil War tracts (1640-16160) was given to the Clark Library of UCLA while the second went to
Berkeley; the Stevenson manuscripts were assigned to UCLA; Berkeley received its choice of 50 Bibles from Foot's extensive
collection. Since some method of assuring equitable distribution was essential, it was decided to set up what was called a
"unit system." By this, the volumes in Foot's library - with the exception of Bibles, incunabula, manuscripts, and letters
- were each to be assigned a unit value, a unit being thought of as having a rough value of about four dollars. General collections
- the post-1800 imprints in the various periods of English history, in one instance - were assigned a unit value of one. More
specialized collections, judged to be of greater academic, and monetary, worth were given higher unit values. For example,
collections of minor authors in 19th and 20th century English literature were rated at one unit per volume, whereas substantial
collections of major authors were listed at two units per volume. The large French history collection of revolutionary and
Napoleonic titles was valued at two units per volume. STC Books (English imprints, 1485-1640) were given a unit value of four,
as were pre-1790 continental imprints; STC pamphlets were judged, relatively, as worth three units. Wing books (English imprints,
1640-1700) were distributed as three unit items, Wing pamphlets at two units. Values greater than one unit per title were
assigned to a good many other collections as well.
After the first 80 percent of the library had been shelved and evaluated in terms of units, it was calculated that the three
smaller libraries should each expect to receive unit totals of at least 15,000, and that the two larger libraries should receive
unit totals of about 7,000. Final unit totals for all libraries except Berkeley exceeded these calculations. Berkeley's unit
total was slightly lower because the value of its Bible collection - estimated to be worth in excess of $20,000, though not
given unit valuation - had to be considered in reaching an equitable distribution. Some 1,000 volumes not needed by the participating
libraries were shipped for distribution to Santa Cruz, Irvine and La Jolla by the New Campuses Library Project at La Jolla.
As negotiations began, the smaller libraries indicated interests in certain kinds of collections. Davis and Santa Barbara
asked for and received equal priority in 19th century English literature; Riverside received the 20th century English and
American literature collections as a substantial block along with the collection of literary criticism. Santa Barbara later
entered a block bid for 18th century materials and acquired the following collections: English history, 1714-1837;
Gentleman's Magazine; French history; the Wesley collection; the collection of 18th century imprints in history and religion; and priority with
Davis in English literature before 1800. Davis early expressed a deep interest in 17th century collections, and of these received
English history, 1640-1660; the Quaker collection; Tyndale; and Milton. Davis also received most of Foot's post-1800 religious
imprints. Some of the more specialized collections assigned to the smaller libraries were the pocket geographies and Luther,
to Riverside; the Creek testaments, to Santa Barbara; and the Montaigne and Locke, to Davis.
In addition to their receipts in Civil War tracts, and Bibles and manuscripts, Berkeley and UCLA acquired volumes chiefly
majority of Richard Baxter titles, the English Civil War newspaper collection, Melancthon, Calvin, and priority in the fine
Erasmus collection. UCLA (and the Clark Library) received first priority in English imprints to 1700, priority in children's
literature, first choice in some Richard Baxter titles, and about half of the Erasmus collection.
The above summary of major emphases in the negotiations is, of course, oversimplified. It points to some of the important
acquisitions of the participating libraries and necessarily ignores the weighing, the bargaining, and the drawing of straws
for individual titles.
Survey of Collections
In preparing the library for listing, a book's date of imprint - as well as its author, subject, and period classification
- was important. In relation to this date of imprint, several points should be kept in mind: (1) the majority of pre-1700
imprints, such as Civil War tracts, English titles to 1700, and continental titles, were kept in special groups; (2) some
pre-1700 imprints were kept with particular collections, such as English history, 1640-1660, Milton, Erasmus; (3) 18th century
imprints were kept with the appropriate author, subject, or period collection except for historical and religious material
which formed a separate 18th century collection; (4) post-1800 imprints need no particular comment, having been grouped in
whatever author, period or subject collections developed. These principles will be reiterated wherever necessary as the survey
As has been mentioned, one of Foot's chief studies was English history, and his holdings in this subject were large. In post-1700
imprints, he collected some 4,000 volumes, exclusive of commentaries on the Civil War. Of the various periods into which these
historical works fall, the 18th century was most fully represented, although his period collections from 500 A.D. to 1714
and from 1837 to 1903 were not inconsequential.
His great interest in the Civil War and Commonwealth period was reflected in over 750 volumes about Charles I, Cromwell, and
parliamentary history. Early imprints falling within 1640-1660 were also grouped with this collection, so that in total it
represented an impressive historical group.
The 3,000 Civil War tracts formed a separate collection, for which the Clark Library got priority. When one recalls that the
Thomason pamphlets in the British Museum number 22,000, collected as they were being issued, Foot's acquisitions in this particular
type of publication represent what may be an unparalleled achievement for a modern historian. In his own copy of Fortescue's
Catalogue of the Thomason tracts, Foot underlined the author's statement that few, if any, collectors have accomplished so remarkable
an achievement; he was clearly aware of the historical distinction of his own collection. The collection of French history
comprised over 2,000 volumes, of which 1,600 dealt with the years 1789-1815. Of some 1,600 titles, nearly 800 were about Napoleon
and his family. The remainder was composed of genera1 historical studies of the period, relations of campaigns, and biographies
and memoirs of a considerable number of revolutionary and Empire figures. Present also were original issues of the
Journal de Paris and a reprinted series of the
Moniteur, and there was an extensive collection of
The American history in Foot's library had its chief strength in the Civil War, where there were a number of volumes about
military campaigns and Lincoln. World history books, although amounting to over 1,000 volumes, were not of special interest;
the classical period was, however, solid, and there were a number of works relating to the Renaissance in Italy.
Collections in English literature formed a significant number of the total volumes in the Foot Library. There were 2,600 titles
in the collection of English literature to 1800. Of these, 1,400 were 18th century works, authors of the earlier periods of
English literature, with the exception of Milton, not being very well represented.
Doubtless drawn to Milton as the great voice of 17th century dissent, Foot collected his writings intensively, and eventually
acquired over three hundred volumes by and about the poet and defender of the Commonwealth. Of these, more than 40 were 17th
century imprints, including a number of particularly important editions. For example, there were both first and second editions
Paradise Lost and a first of
Areopagitica. Most important reprints after 1700 were also present - Baskerville's, Bulmer's, and Cobden-Sanderson's Doves Press edition
being a few of these, to say nothing of the many critical and biographical studies of Milton's life and writings. Whether
textual critic or historian of ideas, the specialist will find many volumes of interest.
Nineteenth century literary items numbered more than 6,500. Here Foot collected in depth. Specifically, Foot's collections
of major authors in this period usually included biographies, co1lected works, and a number of various editions of individual
works. There were bibliographical titles as well, and a great many first editions. To name only a few, his collections of
Hardy, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, and Swinburne are impressive. A checklist of some of Santa Barbara's
most interesting 19th century acquisitions shows, for example, 80 Swinburne titles, of which many are scarce, privately printed
There were over 4,500 20th century volumes, with a great number of the private publications, autograph editions, and limited
editions essential to full collections of modern authors. W. H. Davies, Beerbohm, Wells, Bennett, Conrad, the Sitwells, and
Laurence Housman were a few of those collected in depth, but a great many more first and second line authors were well represented.
Riverside saw, wanted, and secured this 20th century collection.
The literature of the 1890s appears to have had special interest for Foot; and the listings for the 19th and 20th centuries
show most of the authors, both major and minor, indexed in Holbrook Jackson's definitive
The Eighteen Nineties. In a way, the depth here is more surprising than Foot's scope of acquisition in well-known authors, and undoubtedly will
provide much material for research.
The collection of English literary criticism eventually amounted to some 600, many of which would be very difficult to acquire
today. Literary periodicals were also an interest, and the 1890s were again well represented by a number of somewhat short-lived,
but important, belletristic publications, such as
Yellow Book. Foot also had all issues of
The Germ, Rossetti's scarce pre-Raphaelite manifesto.
Titles in French, American and world literature were chiefly valuable in allowing the three smaller libraries to increase
basic holdings in these subjects. There were, of course, individual volumes of interest, such as early editions of Melville,
Bierce, Stowe, Irving, and Lowell. A notable author collection was that of Montaigne; the first edition of John Florio's rare
and valuable translation of the
Essays was the most impressive item in this group of some 130 volumes, largely composed of French and English reprints of the
Foot's Methodism was an integral part of his life, and it is not surprising to find that this protestantism led him to collect
widely in a host of areas related to the Reformation and the development of protestantism on the continent as well as in England.
His chief interest was the development of English independency in the 16th and, particularly, the 17th century, as his holdings
demonstrated; but his range of acquisition extended back in time from those periods as well as forward in time to the 20th
century, as his 4,000 volumes in post-1800 religious imprints made clear. Bible commentaries, biographies of English divines,
the apostles (especially Paul and the Pauline Gospel), the Oxford Movement, and practical and theoretical expositions of 19th
and 20th century theological questions were numerous. For example, the category of expositions contained over 1,000 volumes.
There were as well many reference volumes, and linguistic and grammatical studies of the Greek testament. The whole collection
will provide both primary and secondary source material for research yet undone. As one illustration, there was a whole series
of throwaway pamphlets on the open-air evangelical movement in mid-19th century England, ephemeral works importantly related
to British religious thought.
There were fewer titles in the Luther collection than had been anticipated. Nevertheless, the 50 volumes in this collection
contained 11 16th century continental editions of Luther's writings, eight imprinted at Wittenberg, and two 16th century and
three 17th century English editions. In contrast, the Melancthon collection was larger than expected, containing 30 16th century
titles, some of which are exceedingly rare. Foot also owned two autograph letters by Melancthon, certainly uncommon items.
The works by and about Calvin formed a small but noteworthy collection; it contained 11 English editions of various titles
printed before 1640. The Tyndale collection was likewise small quantitatively, numbering only 41 volumes, of which most were
19th and 20th century critical works and biographies. But there were also octavo and quarto copies of the 1536 New Testament
(which appear as the first two English Bibles in the listing of Foot's Bible collection) and 16th century editions of The
Obedyence of a Christian Man,
Wicked Mammon, and
A Briefe Declaration. There was also a Francis Fry facsimile of Tyndale's New Testament, one of three illuminated copies on vellum.
Foot's Erasmus holdings were among his most interesting acquisitions, and must have been gathered over a period of many years.
Among these, 164 volumes were modern editions and commentaries, augmented by contemporary editions of Erasmus' writings. There
were about 100 contemporary Erasmus continental imprints of the 16th century, not to mention 16th and 17th century English
editions. Editions of the New Testament, paraphrases, adagia, and epistolae were numerous.
Whereas the library shows that Foot's sympathies lay with the independents of 17th century England in the religious and political
controversies of that period, his collection of Richard Baxter's Presbyterian expositions and disputations reveal his breadth
of scholarly interest in the subject of dissent. As with works about or by Erasmus, Foot appears to have gathered these volumes
over a long period, eventually, acquiring more than 50 contemporary titles in many varied editions. There were also, consistently,
some modern commentaries and reprints.
The Quaker collection, with its more than 200 volumes, was larger than any of the other author or subject collections in 17th
and 18th century independency. The checklist of this collection shows over 170 titles printed between 1600 and 1800, accompanied
by a smaller number of more recent historical and bibliographical studies. On this checklist, Barclay, Fox, Penn, and Penington
are all represented. Some titles are rare; most are of interest; all have academic value. Noteworthy as a combination of these
qualities are the 17th and 18th century editions of the works of Muggleton and Reeve, comprising 13 titles in a number of
editions. In collecting such antagonists as the Muggletonians, Quakers, and the Quaker foe Baxter, Foot clearly demonstrated
comprehensiveness in his learning; still other religious viewpoints, such as the Familist, the Baptist, the Anglican, appear
in the Wing list of Foot's holdings.
The largest author and subject collection in religion was the Wesleyan. The titles here were chiefly related to John Wesley,
but there were four early titles by Samuel and two early editions of Charles' hymns as well. There was even a small group
of letters from or to John and other members of the Wesley circle. The checklist of John Wesley's writings shows some 35 18th
century titles, exclusive of the original printings of 17 parts of his
Journal. There was also a wealth of more recent material among the 375 titles in this collection.
Since the history of the Reformation and protestant dissent is inseparable from the history of the Bible, that Foot should
have collected both Bibles and Greek testaments was to be expected. But the intensity and breadth of his collecting were beyond
expectations. Few in number, the quality of manuscript Bibles is impressive. Particularly unique and valuable were his Greek
New Testament (about 1200 A.D), with illuminated portraits of the four evangelists; an elaborately illuminated Latin Bible
(about 1300), belonging to James II of Aragon; and an English New Testament (about 1380), a beautifully written Wycliffite
manuscript. The polyglot Bibles were also few, but represented well-preserved landmark editions of considerable academic and
monetary worth: the Alcala, six volumes, 1515; the Plantin, eight volumes bound in nine, 1569-1572; the Vitré, seven volumes
bound in eight, 1645; and the Roycroft, six volumes, 1657.
Of other continental and English Bibles, Foot possessed 240, representing a great many important editions from the inception
of printing in the West to the 20th century. Among the printers of the 20 incunabula Bibles were such great names as Eggestine,
Ruppel, Koberger, Scot, Zainer, and Bevilacqua. Among the 56 continental Bibles of the 16th century appeared those by such
famous printers and publishers as Regnault, Froschauer, Gryphius, Oporinus, Simon de Colines, Plantin, and Stenhanus. Imprints
by Stephanus were also frequent in Foot's large collection of continental imprints exclusive of Bibles. In addition there
were 22 17th century editions by such printers as Blaeu, Elzevir, Maire, and Vitré. Elzevir imprints, like those of Stephanus,
English editions of the Bible were also a special interest; and of the ones which it was still possible to obtain, Foot collected
the great majority, the most notable omission being the lack of a 1535 Coverdale. Among the Foot volumes were both the octavo
and one of the three quarto editions of Tyndale's 1536 New Testament. In addition, Foot owned the Great Bible of 1540, the
Breeches Bible, several editions of Cranmer's Bible of 1540-41, the Bug Bible of 1549, Froschauer's Coverdale of 1550, both
the "He" and "She" Bibles of 1811, and a great many others. Representing almost the entire history of Bible printing in England
up to the Doves Press Bible of 1903-5, Foot's holdings totaled 125 volumes. The time and learning that went into the creation
of this collection were great indeed.
An even more specialized interest was represented by the collection of some 450 Greek Testaments, which range from the Strassburg
imprint by Wolfius in 1524. Foot also possessed the 1518 Aldine of the entire Bible in Greek - to 19th century scholarly editions
by Alforrd, Scrivener, Tischendorff, and others. The Greek Testaments together with the scholarly studies related to them
testify to the vitality and meaning Foot found in this area.
Imprints, Manuscripts, Letters
Exclusive of Bibles, the Foot Library contained only 12 incunabula, not a large number of pre-1500 imprints. Generally, however,
these have historical as well as monetary value. Two theological commentaries by Robert Holcot, the noted English Dominican,
are interesting examples. The 1488 Homer, printed by Bernardus Nerlius in Florence, is a most important work in fine condition;
it is described in detail in the
UCLA Librarian, xvi, no. 14 (May 17, 1963).
Of later continental imprints, 1500-1700, Foot possessed so many that it was decided to organize them as a separate collection,
listed by title individually, for voting and choice among the five campuses. Most of these titles are 16th century, although
Foot also collected a good many Elzevirs and other noteworthy 17th century imprints. As with his continental Bibles, Foot
seems to have chosen these volumes both with an eye to their place in the history of printing and to their importance in themselves
as early contributions to knowledge in a variety of subjects. Classics, both Greek and Latin, form the majority of these continental
works; and some authors, such as Cicero, Euripides, Virgil, Herodian, Juvenal, Ovid, Sallust, and Terence, to mention a few,
are represented by a considerable number of titles. There is scholarly wealth here, both in rare titles and in author collections
with a variety of editions and critical commentaries. Nonclassical authors abound also. The first page of the working list
reveals Ambrose (Chevallon, 1529), two editions of Casaubon, the Stephimus
Dictionarium (1536), Dolet's
Commentorii Linguae Latinue (Gryphius, 1536), and others. John Barclay, another random sample, is represented by two of his works from the Elzevir publishing
Argenis and the
Eurphormionis Lusinini, the latter a somewhat scarce volume; Descartes is represented by three titles, all Elzevir imprints, of which two are the
valuable 1644 and 1656 expeditions of the
Principia Philosophiae. Printers of continental titles in fact form a kind of who's who in printing history: Aldus Manutius, Elzevir, Stephanus,
Cartander, Blaeu, Froben, Simon de Colines, Quentell, Plantin, and Regnault.
The pocket geographies, actually a special group of continental imprints, were kept separate and ultimately amounted to 60
volumes. These were largely Elzevirs, but Maire, Hondius, and Janson also printed these small testimonials to the 17th century's
desire to know the world.
Foot's holdings in books printed in English before 1640, known to specialists as the Short Title Catalog period - exclusive
of works placed with other special collections, such as the Erasmus or Montaigne - totaled some 400 volumes. These were chiefly
concerned with religious matters, but dealt with historical and classical subjects as well. In religion, such authors as Latimer,
Cranmer, Hooker, Ussher, and Whately were represented by a number of titles, as were a good many other divines whose contributions
to ecclesiastical, and political, thought were important in the development of ideas leading to the English Civil War. Such
literary names as Daniel, Drayton, and Wither were also in evidence. In addition to other historical works, the working list
for this collection shows a number of entries under James I and the East India Company. Both difficult to acquire in quantity
and expensive, these volumes were, happily, distributed among all participating libraries.
The next period, that of the Wing bibliography (English, 1640-1700), covers the most crucial years in the history of dissent
in England. Since such history was the heart of Foot's scholarly pursuits. it is logical that his holdings here should be
large. In addition to the many Wing titles shelved in other collections - such as English history, 1640-1660, Civil War tracts,
and the Richard Baxter group - the working list for this particular collection contains more than 1,900 titles, a large number
indeed when the time and expense, not to say the scholarship, required to accumulate such a collection are considered. Many
authors are represented by a number of different titles, very often with multiple editions of individual works. The emphasis
is primarily religious, although historical, literary, and classical titles are also in evidence. Relatively obscure divines
are present in abundance: Hendrik Niclas (Henry Nicholas), three titles; Matthew Killiray, 10, of which the British Museum
appears to have two; and Thomas Beverly, 24, most of which are exceedingly rare. Such examples could be multiplied at length.
Major divines are, of course, represented still more fully: Bossuet, 11 titles; Bishop Burnet, 55; Thomas Fuller, 12; Symon
Patrick, 15; and Edward Stillingfleet, 38.
Other important writers - Sprat, Glanvill, Roger L'Estrange, Dryden, Walton, George Herbert, Thomas Brown, to name a few -
also appear. There are unique volumes, too, such as General Fairfax's copy of
Leycester's Common-Wealth; a presentation copy, with some manuscript corrections, of Isaac Walton's
A Collection of Ingenious Poems once owned by Elizabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain. Other unusual volumes will certainly turn up as participating libraries
catalog their acquisitions of Foot items printed 1641-1700, which promise to contribute much to scholarship in the University
Letters, documents, and historical and literary manuscripts were only a subsidiary interest with Foot; but since the fact
that he collected these at all was largely unknown, some unexpected holdings turned up. Among these were a number of letters
from William and Dorothy Wordsworth; some Carlyle letters and the materials concerning the Squire controversy which developed
around Carlyle's edition of Cromwell's letters and speeches; some manuscripts by Arthur Symons; a series of letters between
Mrs. Hughes and Caroline Southey, Robert Southey's second wife; a beautifully bound series of Stevenson manuscripts and letters;
and a large number of Richard Cobden's letters. It was known that Foot had some Cromwellian letters and other letters and
documents related to the Civil War and Commonwealth, and the size of this group was gratifying.
Shelving the Foot Collection
The newly doubled library building at Santa Barbara provided four areas for shelving the Foot volumes. It was determined to
put the great block of Foot's collections in 19th and 20th century English literature, literary criticism, periodicals and
publishers' series in a storage area which had space for 18,000 volumes. Historical titles, exclusive of pre-1700 imprints
and Commonwealth history, were shelved in a temporarily screened stack area which had space for 10,000 volumes. Foot's substantial
collection in religion, exclusive of pre-1800 imprints and such special collections as Wesley and Quakers, was shelved in
another borrowed stack area which could house 4,000 volumes. Pre-1700 imprints, Commonwealth history, 18th century literary
titles, 18th century non-literary imprints - all collections, in fact, judged to be of unusual academic interest - were shelved
in the Special Collections Department which loaned space for 10,000 volumes. It was, thus, possible to shelve 42,000 volumes
(80 percent of the Foot Library) in these four areas. The remaining 20 percent of the library was stored until space was cleared
by the distribution of volumes unpacked earlier.
Shelving in these four areas began in July and occupied several months. Inevitably, many volumes had to be juggled to fit
the shelving plan; collections unforeseen in the initial survey had to be accommodated. Once shelving and organization of
the 42,000 volumes were completed, the process of distribution could begin. Some of the necessary negotiations for collections
had indeed gotten under way as shelving proceeded.
In review, the Foot Library may be described as possessing three chief qualities: size, aesthetic appeal, academic value.
Each of these is in turn related to the nature of the man who put such a library together; and Foot can be viewed as collector,
man of aesthetic sensibilities, and scholar.
A collector may, of course, possess taste and learning but he can also be defined as a man who has a wider streak of the acquisitive
than most other men. Certainly one sees this streak in Foot, and the story about his smuggling books into an overcrowded house
against family objection is probably not apocryphal. He was certainly surrounded by parcels of recently purchased books when
Dean Powell first met him. As a collector who controlled his own purchasing - unlike some noted men who have supplied money
and very little else to the building of their libraries - Foot had constantly to be on the alert for sales, to browse personally
in an untold number of bookshops in many different places, and to search for desired items with the aid of agents and dealers.
Procured by all of these means, Foot's Library reveals the bookplates and autographs of a good many other well-known collectors
and libraries. He had, for example, a number of books from the Holland House Library, and in that way came to possess volumes
once the property of the Fox family. He also bought a great many books once owned by Charles Whibley, the fine Tory essayist
and critic; Augustine Birrell, essayist and litterateur; John Drinkwater, the poet; and Harold Monro, poet and pioneer in
a number of 20th century poetic movements. Foot's collection of Drinkwater's works was that once owned by the poet himself;
and a good many of the rare titles which made Foot's holdings in early 20th century poetry impressive seem to have been collected
by Monro as they appeared, some indeed having been printed by Monro's own Poetry Bookshop.
Foot's aesthetic sensibility was most clearly revealed in his Bible collection, his manuscripts, his 16th century continental
imprints, and his very numerous private press titles in 19th and, particularly 20th century English literature. His art collection
was not of major importance in his library, but showed a substantial interest in that discipline; he appeared to be particularly
interested in prints and caricatures, Leach, Cruikshank, and Beardsley being among the satirists and illustrators whose work
he owned. Thomas Bewick, the great engraver of birds and animals, was represented by several works of interest, among them
two collections of proofs from his original wood-blocks. All of Foot's works with more than usual aesthetic appeal were, however,
related to his various author, period, and subject collections. A man of taste himself, he apparently bought books first for
their content, only secondarily for the beauty of design or binding.
Foot's scholarship in religion, English history, and English literature accounts for much of the research value of his library.
But where he collected more generally as an educated layman, his books nicely supplemented the more basic research material.
For instance, biography, that somewhat frowned-upon art, interested Foot greatly; in Victorian history and the large collection
on the French Revolution, this biographical penchant was particularly noticeable. The Isaac Foot Library possessed, thus,
as the end result of a lifetime of scholarly collecting and educated buying, a wealth of resources for both specialist and