Books and Printed texts

Cover and spine of "Songs and poems of love and drollery." By T.W. (Thomas Weaver) Published/Created:[London : s.n.], Printed in the year, 1654. bound in red morocco with gilt tooling

Like all materials in the collections of the Lewis Walpole Library, the books and pamphlets record and support the ideas and culture of eighteenth-century Britain, focusing particularly on Horace Walpole and his world. Formats range from books and pamphlets to trade cards, almanacs, broadsides, periodicals, and maps.

Holdings cover such topics as:

  • Walpole and his friends, associates, and contemporaries
  • politics, history, diplomacy, geography, and travel
  • Great Britain
  • antiquarianism
  • bibliography
  • art, music, literature, and drama

The library is perhaps best known for its collection of:

  • approximately two-thirds of the traceable (and half of the known) volumes once belonging to Horace Walpole (local call number begins with 49)
  • numerous editions of Walpole’s own works (local call number begins with 24)
  • those printed at his Strawberry Hill Press (local call number begins with 33 )
  • copies of each edition of the 1842 Sale catalogue (local call number begins with 485 842)

Highlights of a rich collection of extra-illustrated volumes include several copies of:

  • Walpole’s Catalogue of the Royal and Noble Authors of England
  • his Description of the Villa
  • the 1842 Sale catalogue, A Catalogue of the Classic Contents of Strawberry Hill
  • Seeley’s Horace Walpole and His World
  • Pennant’s Journey from London to the Isle of Wight
Finding Books and Other Printed Texts in the Library’s Collection "John Bristow, engine-maker, to all His Majesty's forts, garrisons, dock-yards and other public offices belonging to His Majesty's Royal Navy " Letterpress broadside with a hand-colored etched and engraved header illustrating the use of a fire-engine at the site of the Cornhill fire, which occurred on 25 March 1748

The vast majority of the library’s holdings of printed texts are reflected in Orbis, Yale’s online catalog, and the Walpole and Strawberry Hill items are described in detail in the published bibliographies listed below. The library’s books can also be found cataloged in Worldcat. Indices to other printed materials are available at the library in Farmington. 

The library uses a local classification scheme for all books except those in the reference collection.

Digitized Books and Other Printed Texts from the library’s Collection

Digitized and processed with optical character recognition so it is entirely keyword searchable. 

Ephemera has been digitized as images and can be found in the library’s Digital Image Collection . Although individual pieces are not full-text searchable in the digital collection online, items within bound volumes are searchable by keyword and by call number from Orbis.

Highlights include:

  • Playbills
  • Trade Cards and trade tokens
  • Bookplates
  • Calling cards and invitations
  • Ballads and broadsides