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Finding Aid for the Bentley Family papers, 1849-1970
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Items Removed from the Collection
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bentley Family papers
    Date (inclusive): 1849-1970
    Collection number: 1474
    Creator: Bentley family.
    Extent: 2 document boxes and 1 half document box (1.25 linear ft.)
    Abstract: The Bentley family was prominent in the nineteenth-century publishing industry. Richard Bentley (1794-1871), after joining his brother Samuel in a successful printing business (1819), partnered with Henry Colburn (1829) to begin the long-running Standard Novels series. After dissolving the partnership with Colburn (1832), Richard began Bentley's Miscellany (1837), which boasted Charles Dickens then W.H. Ainsworth as editors. Richard's son George Bentley (1828-1895) then grandson Richard Bentley (1854-1936) ran Richard Bentley & Son until 1898, when it was sold to Macmillans. The collection consists of diaries, business- and farm-related records, texts written or published by the Bentley family, and works on Bentley family history.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: 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 the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    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.

    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.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Justin G. Schiller, purchase, 1977.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Whitney Braun in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2009.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bentley Family papers (Collection 1474). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230371 


    The Bentley family was a prominent nineteenth-century British publishing family. Richard Bentley (1794-1871) joined his brother Samuel Bentley in a successful printing business in 1819. From 1829 to 1832, Richard partnered with publisher Henry Colburn to form Colburn & Bentley. The pair began the series Standard Novels, the successful monthly reprints that ended in 1854 with 126 volumes (and included authors such as William Godwin, Jane Austen, Victor Hugo, Washington Irving, Leigh Hunt, Letitia Landon, and Harriet Beecher Stowe). After the split with Colburn, Richard continued to publish, and in 1837 he created the successful Bentley's Miscellany. Both Charles Dickens and W.H. Ainsworth edited the periodical at various points (with Dickens's Oliver Twist first appearing in its pages), and George Cruikshank contributed illustrations. In 1866, Richard merged Bentley's Miscellany with Temple Bar, and his son George Bentley (1828-1895) became editor the following year, also taking on the leadership of Richard Bentley & Son. George's son, Richard Bentley (1854-1936) then ran the business from the mid-1880s until selling it to Macmillans in 1898.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of manuscript and printed material relating to Richard Bentley (1794-1871), George Bentley (1828-1895), and Richard Bentley (1854-1936), as well as Richard Bentley publishing and Richard Bentley & Son publishing. Manuscript materials include diaries, farm and garden records, collected quotations from literary works, literary essays and humorous journals, lists of works published by Richard Bentley and other firms, stock certificates, and correspondence. Published works in the collection (often with inscriptions) include texts written or published by the Bentley family, various works related to Bentley family history and current family circumstances (as well as works on Upton and Slough, England), works given to the Bentleys, and printing catalogues.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is organized into two series:
    1. Manuscript Material (Boxes 1, 3)
    2. Printed Works (Boxes 2, 3)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


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

    Items Removed from the Collection

    Two books were removed from the collection and individually cataloged.
    • Lindsay, Lady. Caroline. London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1888. UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
    • Lord, Walter Frewen. The Lost Empires of the Modern World: Essays in Imperial History. London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1897. UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    Related Material

    Richard Bentley and Son Papers, 1800-1936 (Collection 830).   Available at the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.