Title: Private Libraries of Providence by Horatio Rogers. Providence: Sidney S. Rider, 1878.
This portrait of Roger Williams along with many other original prints is included in an extra illustrated copy of Private Libraries of Providence, which once belonged to John Russell Bartlett (1805-1886).
Historian, bibliophile and Rhode Island Statesman, Bartlett was actively involved in the affairs of the Athenæum throughout his life. In 1914, the heirs of Bartlett donated over four hundred volumes and pamphlets, many of them were handsomely bound, contained loose manuscripts, historical prints, and several were authored by Bartlett himself. Bartlett’s copy of Private Libraries is exquisitely bound in red morocco leather, with gilt decoration and marbled boards, and is enhanced with the addition of over 20 original prints, carefully selected and arranged by Bartlett prior to binding.
In addition to the engraving of Roger Williams, Bartlett added portraits of his fellow collectors C. Fiske Harris and John Carter Brown, as well as his friend and colleague Albert Gallatin, with whom he co-founded the American Ethnological Society in 1842. Historical portraits of Sir Thomas More, Madame da Pompadour, Henry III, Pope Leo X as well as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin among others are also bound into the text to complement the essays of each collector’s library.
Additional noteworthy volumes from the donation by Bartlett’s heirs include a number of books compiled and, or authored by Bartlett, and two unpublished scrapbooks. The following is a sampling of titles that reflect Bartlett’s contribution to American history:
The Progress of Ethnology (1847), A History of the Destruction of His Britannic Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee, (1861), Bibliography of Rhode Island (1864), The Literature of the Rebellion (1866), and Memoirs of Rhode Island Officers (1867), Bibliotheca Americana: A Catalogue of Books Relating to North and South America in the Library of the Late John Carter Brown (1875-1882) among others.
The John Russell Bartlett Collection can be viewed by appointment in the Philbrick Rare Book Room.
Discovered by: Kate Wodehouse, Director of Special Collections & Library Services