5,000 vols and over 500 mss boxes
The Ogden Collection was the Library's greatest acquisition
of the 20th century. It was purchased with a generous grant made by the Nuffield
Foundation to encourage research in the field of communications. Charles Kay
Ogden (1889-1957) himself described his library as "an Orthological library
of 50,000 volumes with universal English as a solution to the international
problem of Debabelization, and the educational problem of Word Magic as its
focus." From this library UCL acquired in 1953, the Brougham papers
and several other manuscripts, a background collection of 3,500 volumes to the Bentham-Brougham
group including 152 early Bentham items, and about 1,500 volumes (including
24 incunabula and 394 STC books) of carefully built special collections of
rare books in fields related to his interests. He once listed the special interests
of his collecting as "semantics, meaning, word magic, supplemented by
subsections of sign systems, symbol systems and non-verbal notations (including
cryptography and shorthand), universal language, translation and simplification".
Many of these interests are supported by author rather than subject collections.
The special collections of the Ogden Library (with the number of items in brackets)
include : J.V. Andreae, the author of Turris Babel (9), Bacon (41), Boyle (35),
Chaucer (6), Coleridge (16), Comenius (15), Ben Jonson (9), Kircher (19), Milton
(23), Minsheu (34), Shelley (22), Bishop Wilkins (22), annotated books (300),
cryptography (21), emblems (85), and shorthand (13).
|Ogden had a particular
penchant for collecting books of interesting provenance, so the collection
contains five books from Ben Jonson’s own library, Percy Shelley's
annotated copy of Petrarch, John Constable's copy of the memoirs
of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1813) and Oscar Wilde's heavily annotated
copy of the Elegies of Propertius (1872).
are c.4,800 volumes of 19th and early 20th century works, including many
tracts, works by Lord Brougham, and Bentham, some 237 works by Halliwell
Phillipps, many biographies of major political figures such as Gladstone
and Daniel O'Connell, and a number of large volumes containing
illustrations of the Crimean War from The Times.
The collection includes many of the publications of the Society
for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, whose archives the Library also holds,
including the Penny
Magazine (1835-45), the Penny Cyclopedia, the British Almanac from 1828, the
Gallery of Portraits and many publications of the Library of Entertaining Knowledge.
There are also many
periodicals in the Ogden Collection including, among others, the Gentleman's
Magazine (1772-94), the Pamphleteer (1813-28), and the Critical Review
(1775-90). Finally there is a set of Psyche Miniatures and Ogden's
own collection of sale catalogues, many with his annotations, from auction
houses and booksellers such as Sotheby, Quaritch and Blackwells.
Top of page
Last modified 7 March 2006