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Richard Francis Burton Library Manuscripts Collection: Finding Aid
mssRBL 1-139  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Cataloging Decisions
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing: Subjects
  • Indexing: Added Entries
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Richard Francis Burton Library Manuscripts Collection
    Dates (inclusive): 1842-1890
    Collection Number: mssRBL 1-139
    Creator: Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890.
    Extent: 152 items in 13 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists mainly of manuscripts, correspondence, drawings, and printed material related to the work of British explorer and writer Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) and his interests in swords, fencing, and Middle Eastern poetry and history. The collection contains research material and early drafts of Burton's The Book of the Sword and To the Gold Coast.
    Language: English, also Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian, and Spanish.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Richard Francis Burton Library Manuscripts Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Acquired from The Christensen Fund, November 1997.

    Custodial History

    At the time of Isabel Burton’s death in 1896, the main part of Richard Burton’s surviving manuscripts and library were deposited at the Central Library, Kensington; in 1955, the Royal Borough of Kensington gave the library to the Royal Anthropological Institute for safe-keeping. In 1986, The Christensen Fund acquired the entire library from the R.A.I., and deposited it at the Huntington Library, until November 1997, when The Christensen Fund formally gave the manuscripts and 2,500-volume library to the Huntington Library (Acc. No. 1861).

    Cataloging Decisions

    1. As noted in the acquisition information at the beginning of this finding aid this material has been owned by Burton, as well as several institutions over the years. Therefore, the manuscripts contain autograph notes by Burton, as well as autograph annotations by various catalogers, including pencilled page numbers and the “Kensington Public Libraries” stamp on many of the pages. The notes by Burton are noted on the folders and in the finding aid only if substantive.
    2. Burton was in the habit of heavily annotating his printed books as well as inserting all manner of extra material into the books in his library; this material included letters, clippings, articles and other printed matter. It was decided not to remove any of this material from the books but include detailed information in the electronic record for each book. The Burton Library is part of the Rare Books Department; please consult the Huntington Library Online Catalogue for information about this material and contact the Rare Books Department for paging information or any questions about this material.
    3. A small number of letters were removed from the manuscripts and cataloged in Correspondence; the original location of these letters were noted on the folders and in the finding aid.
    4. There are references to swords, sword-play and fencing throughout the entire collection; it was decided that, unless it was a substantive reference, it would not be noted as a subject on the folders or in the finding aid.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Biographical Note

    Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was a British explorer, linguist, writer, diplomat and translator; he explored Africa, the Middle East, South America and Iceland, and translated, among many other titles, The Arabian Nights. Burton married Isabel Arundell (1831-1896), in 1861, and she, thereafter, accompanied Burton on many of his travels, and became his amanuensis and editor, as well as publishing her own travel volumes and an autobiography. Burton died of a heart attack on October 19, 1890, and Isabel Burton died from complications of ovarian cancer on March 22, 1896.

    Bibliography

    Dictionary of Literary Biography. “British Travel Writers, 1837-1875,” vol. 166, eds. B. Brothers and J. Gergits (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1996), pp. 98-119.
    Dictionary of Literary Biography. “Nineteenth-Century British Book-Collectors and Bibliographers,” vol. 184, eds. W. Baker and K. Womack (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1997), pp. 46-55.
    Dictionary of Literary Biography. “Victorian Prose Writers Before 1867,” vol. 55, ed. W. Thesing (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1987), pp. 25-40.
    Kirkpatrick, B. J. (ed.) A Catalogue of the Library of Sir Richard Burton, K.C.M.G. held by the Royal Anthropological Institute (London: Royal Anthropological Institute, 1978). Lovell, Mary S. A Rage to Live (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1998).
    Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 9, eds. H.C.G. Matthew and B. Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 34-40.
    Also online resources including: Google, Library of Congress and The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists mainly of manuscripts, correspondence, drawings and printed material related to Burton's work and interest with swords, fencing, and his interest in Middle Eastern poetry and history; the collection contains research material and early drafts of Burton's The Book of the Sword, Vols. I-III, and To the Gold Coast. The correspondence includes letters from, among others, Verney Lovett Cameron, Richard S. Charnock, Chatto & Windus, Dominic E. Colnaghi, Alexander Fergusson, Violet Greville, John Latham, Augustus H. L. Pitt-Rivers, Bernard Quaritch, William Tinsley, H. Schütz Wilson, Henry Yule and Hermann Zotenberg.
    The papers consist of the following series:
    1. Manuscripts - Volumes (Boxes 1-5) are arranged alphabetically by author and title. The volumes include one manuscript by Burton, and manuscripts by other authors, which reflect Burton’s interest in Iceland and Middle Eastern history and poetry, including the Arabian Nights.
    This series also includes printed material, clippings, catalogues, pamphlets, illustrations used and annotated by Burton; there is also one folder of Ephemera.
    2. Manuscripts - Folders (Boxes 6-10) are arranged alphabetically by author and title. This series mainly consists of Burton’s work on the sword and fencing, including The Book of the Sword, Infantry Sword Exercise, “Selected System of Fencing” and “The Sentiment of the Sword…;” it also includes a page from The Highlands of Brazil and an early draft of To the Gold Coast…: A Personal Narrative . There are a few manuscripts by other authors, mainly dealing with swords and fencing.
    3. Manuscripts - Drawings (Box 11) are arranged by subject. This series is mainly drawings and illustrations for The Book of the Sword, Vols. I-III, and one illustration for North Borneo.
    4. Correspondence (Boxes 12-13) is arranged alphabetically by author. The majority of the letters are written to Richard Burton and deal with his ongoing work and interest in swords and fencing; there are a few letters to Isabel Burton. This series includes letters by, among others, Verney Lovett Cameron, Richard S. Charnock, Chatto & Windus, Dominic E. Colnaghi, Alexander Fergusson, Violet Greville, John Latham, Augustus H. L. Pitt-Rivers, Bernard Quaritch, William Tinsley, H. Shütz Wilson, Henry Yule and Hermann Zotenberg.

    Arrangement

    Organized in the following manner:
    • 1. Manuscripts - Volumes (Boxes 1-5)
    • 2. Manuscripts - Folders (Boxes 6-10)
    • 3. Manuscripts - Drawings (Box 11)
    • 4. Correspondence (Boxes 12-13)
    Arranged alphabetically.

    Indexing: Subjects

    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. In Sir John Macdonald, d. 1850, letter to [My dear Edmond], ([1850]). RBL 100.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In Edwin H. Baverstock, letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1884, Dec. 3). RBL 55.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In Richard Stephen Charnock, 1820-1904 or 5, letters and postcards to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1884-1885). RBL 62-73.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In Chatto & Windus (Firm), letters to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1876-1877). RBL 74-75.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In W. Wareing Faulder, letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1884, Mar. 4). RBL 78.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In Alexander Fergusson, 1830-1892, letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1884, May 6). RBL 79.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In Frederick W. Foster, letters to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1884). RBL 81-83.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In Joseph Grego, 1843-1908, letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1883, Sep. 21). RBL 87.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. The Book of the Sword. In William Tinsley, letters to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1875). RBL 123-124.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. New System of Sword Exercise. In M---- G---- Mattilich, letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1876, Aug. 19). RBL 103.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890. Ultima Thule; or, A Summer in Iceland. In Richard Stephen Charnock, 1820-1904 or 5], note to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, ([ca. 1874]?). RBL 60.
    Hartzenbusch, Juan Eugenio, 1806-1880. In Sebastián de Mobellán, letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1879, Apr. 27). RBL 108.
    Livingstone, David, 1813-1873. In [C---- W---- G----?], letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, ([1872], Sep. 23). RBL 85.
    Stanley, Henry M. (Henry Morton), 1841-1904. In [C---- W---- G----?], letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, ([1872], Sep. 23). RBL 85.
    Urbani, D. (Domenico). Difesa di un Vecchio Pugnale Veneziano. In D. (Domenico) Urbani, letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1879, Sep. 19). RBL 126.

    Indexing: Added Entries

    Beville, Francis Granville, 1867-1923. Autograph letter (1876, June 4), following H---- Burgess letter to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1876, June 4). RBL 57.
    Cameron, Verney Lovett, 1844-1894. Joint author with Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, To the Gold Coast…, ([1882]). RBL 36(1-8).
    Chandler, Henry W. (Henry William), 1828-1889. Letter to Isabel Burton, (1887, Aug. 27), laid into [ Arabian Nights, Vols. 3-4…], ([ca. 1887]). RBL 18.
    Chatto, Andrew, 1841-1913. Autograph letters written for Chatto & Windus (Firm), to Sir Richard Burton, 1821-1890, (1876-1877). RBL 74-75.
    Drawing. Following letter from Percy Fielding to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1881, Oct. 13). RBL 80.
    Lentaigne, John Francis O’Neill, Sir, 1802-1886. Inscription to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, on [Gulistán], ([before 1890 Oct.]). RBL 6.
    Mobellán, Sebastián de. Addressee for Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, 1806-1880, (1879, Apr. 23). RBL 91.
    Quaritch, Bernard, 1819-1899. Addressee for Edward Spencer, (1876, Sep. 13). RBL 121.
    Sketches. In letter from George Thomas Cavendish Paget, 1853-1939, to Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1821-1890, (1884, Apr. 19). RBL 111.
    Stisted, Georgiana M. Addressee for F. K. J. (Francis Kingston John) Shenton, d. 1893, (1877, Jan. 6). RBL 119.
    Wilson, H. Schütz (Henry Schütz), 1824-1902. Addressee for John Latham, d. 1880, (1876). RBL 96-98.
    Zotenberg, Hermann, 1836-1894. Autograph notes on [Zayn al…], ([before 1888]). RBL 11.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Burton, Isabel, Lady, 1831-1896.
    Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890.
    Authors, English -- 19th century.

    Forms/Genres

    Business letters -- 19th century.
    Drawings -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- 19th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- 19th century.
    Manuscripts -- 19th century.
    Translations -- 19th century.

    Additional Contributors

    Burton, Isabel, Lady, 1831-1896, recipient.
    Cameron, Verney Lovett, 1844-1894.
    Charnock, Richard Stephen, 1820-1904 or 1905.
    Colnaghi, Dominic E. (Dominic Ellis), Sir, 1834-1908.
    Fergusson, Alexander, 1830-1892.
    Greville, Violet, Lady, 1842-1932.
    Latham, John, -1880.
    Pitt-Rivers, Augustus Henry Lane-Fox, 1827-1900.
    Quaritch, Bernard, 1819-1899.
    Tinsley, William, 1831-1902.
    Wilson, H. Schütz (Henry Schütz), 1824-1902.
    Yule, Henry, Sir, 1820-1889.
    Zotenberg, Hermann, 1836-1894.
    Chatto & Windus (Firm).