Ouvry-Rosebery Collection of English Civil War Broadsides

In August 2010, the Folger acquired a large collection of political broadsides, the bulk published between the beginning of the English Civil War and the execution of Charles I (1642-1649).


Accompanying the printed broadsides was a manuscript handlist (Folger call number Y.d.711) of the contents of the four volumes, prepared by Thomas W. Newton for their owner, the lawyer and antiquary Frederic Ouvry. The catalogue for the sale of Ouvry's library by Sotheby's (lot 275; March 30, 1882) included a "Collection of 184 Political Broadsides of the Reign of Charles I, mounted in 4 vols, morocco," which fetched 38 pounds. From this we understand that Frederic Ouvry, rather than the Earl of Rosebery, assembled the collection.

Original press release

Posted to H-Albion, 31 August 2010

The Folger Shakespeare Library has acquired an important collection of 184 rare broadsides and tracts dating from the time of the English Civil War (bulk: 1642-1649). [CORRECTION: 169 broadsides. Duplicates from the first two volumes, disbound by the bookseller, were not offered to the Folger.] This collection was assembled by the bibliophile and statesman, Archibald, 5th earl of Rosebery and Midlothian (1847-1929). [UPDATE: the collection was, in fact, assembled by Frederic Ouvry.] Like the ephemeral literature of politics today, many of these works would have been read and discarded. Some are so rare that they are unrecorded or are known only through single copies.

The collection provides a snapshot of all levels of society, from the copy of a letter sent by Queen Henrietta Maria in exile to her husband in York, to petitions from "poor labouring men," sea-men, and Catholics; from orders by Parliament for the defense of the kingdom, to "Catalogues of Prisoners." Also included are elegies on the earl of Strafford and Charles I, both of whom were executed during this tumultuous period.

Collections as comprehensive as this one rarely come on the market. This latest acquisition complements the thousands of items from seventeenth-century England already held by the Folger and constitutes a major new archive of Civil War material.

Cataloging and housing

  • Put a summary of the content into field 520. Copy or summarize from Crawford.
  • Add the following subject headings as appropriate, in addition to any other topical subjects.
651 0Great Britain ǂx History ǂy Charles I, 1625-1649 ǂv Pamphlets ǂv Early works to 1800.
651 0Great Britain ǂx History ǂy Civil War, 1642-1649 ǂv Pamphlets ǂv Early works to 1800.
651 0Great Britain ǂx Politics and government ǂy 1625-1649 ǂv Pamphlets ǂv Early works to 1800.
  • For anti-Catholic contents, add
655 7 Anti-Catholic literature. ǂ2 rbgenr
  • Add the following copy-specific access points to each bibliographic record:
7001 Ouvry, Frederic, ǂd 1814-1881, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo
7001 Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, ǂc Earl of, ǂd 1847-1929, ǂe former owner. ǂ5 DFo
7300 ǂi Part of: ǂa Ouvry-Rosebery Collection of English Civil War Broadsides. ǂ5 DFo
  • Template 852 for loose broadsides:
8528 ǂb DeckC-Rare ǂh 265- 6 ǂz  Number in ink in early hand, struck out; number in pencil and red ink. Mounted on stiff paper backing. Disbound from the [first] second of four volumes of the Ouvry-Rosebery Collection of English Civil War Broadsides. Acquired from C.R. Johnson, 2009-12-16.
  • Re-house all loose broadsides in large paper folders, regardless of actual size. Keep them in call-number order in box.

Additional information

External links