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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Acting Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections
609-258-3165

Richard W. Meirs, Class of 1888: Collection of George Cruikshank
Location designator: Cruik

About 1000 volumes (separately arranged, classed and catalogued), many separate prints, as well as drawings, finished oil paintings, oil sketches, "panorama" prints on rollers for viewing in special boxes, etched plates, broadsides, bound manuscripts, autograph letters, and Cruikshank correspondence. The materials are divided according to form among the following Divisions of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections:

1. Graphic Arts -- has printed book section listed in the 1920 Classed Catalogue described below; it also has about 355 Cruikshank prints and arranged in Cohn number (stored with oversize Cruikshank books) as well as numerous drawings and other objects (there as well). The database VISUALS will give you access to the prints from a wide variety of points, including individual words in each title. For example, Cruikshank did a number of prints satirizing Napoleon; some can be found by searching the word Boney in the title. See also (GA) GC022, which contains a digital version of the catalogue of drawings. Scans of select prints and drawings are available in Almagest.

2. Manuscripts -- consists of bound manuscripts, autograph letters, and Cruikshank correspondence. (MSS) C0256 contains the personal papers of Cruikshank and his wife, Eliza Cruikshank; reflecting his active participation not only in the world of the illustrator and caricaturist but also in the temperance movement of Victorian England. Included are manuscript material, drawings, correspondence, and documents. The groups of drawings, engravings, and proofs are also individually cataloged and listed in an online finding aid.

The total comprises one of the finest Cruikshank collections in America; first deposited at Princeton in 1913.

A complete list of Library holdings as of 1920 appears in the Princeton University Classed List, (Special Collections) vol. 6 (Princeton, 1920) pp. 3565-3583 [(ExB) 0639.7373.5], [full text], published after the major deposit of Cruikshank material by Mr. Meirs.

The Cohn Cruikshank bibliography (covering illustrated books and separate prints) has been checked (recording call numbers) for the Library's holdings. For particulars refer to: Albert M. Cohn. George Cruikshank, a catalogue raisonné of the work executed during the years 1806-1877. (London, 1924) [(GARF) NC1479.C9 C72q, copy 2)

An important article about how and why Americans collected Cruikshankiana was published in 1916 by Arthur Bartlett Maurice, Class of 1894. See A. B. Maurice, "Cruikshank in America", in The Bookman November 1916. Available as a PDF file. Maurice was editor of The Bookman from 1899 to 1916. This article has many particulars about the Meirs collection.

See also: Howard S. Leach "Cruikshank's Illustrations of Shakespeare in the Meirs Collection, Princeton University Library" in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (13 December 1916, p 259-262). An editorial note on the same page as this article states "Alumni visiting Princeton may spend a very entertaining and profitable afternoon in looking over this collection, which is in the exhibition room of the Library."

Also see: F.J. Mather "Rowandson and Cruikshank" in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (4 March 1932); Frank Jewett Mather, "A Statistical Survey of the Meirs Cruikshank Collection" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle IV, 2-3 (February-April, 1943) pp. 50-52 [full text]; E.D.H. Johnson. George Cruikshank: the Collection at Princeton (Princeton, 1973) [(Cruik) 747] which is the offprint of: E.D.H. Johnson, "The George Cruikshank Collection at Princeton" in Princeton University Library Chronicle XXXV, 1 (Autumn and Winter, 1973-74) pp. 1-33. [full text].