Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays -- Henry Bowen Anthony

Henry Bowen AnthonyHenry Bowen Anthony was a senator from Rhode Island, a graduate of Brown in the Class of 1833, a collector of poetry, and a cousin of Caleb Fiske Harris. In May, 1882, after Harris's death, Anthony began negotiations with the bookseller Sidn ey S. Rider of Providence to purchase Harris's collection of American literature. By the end of the year he had agreed to purchase the collection, despite the fact that it was soon evident that many titles thought to be a part of the collection were not present. Although it is clear that a number of the books were sold at later auction sales, according to Roger Stoddard, "there has never been a satisfactory explanation of the disappearance of most of the missing books.

In the following year, Anthony sold 1,078 duplicates from his and Harris's combined collections through a catalogue issued by the bookseller William T. Tibbitts. "In the following year Anthony died, bequeathing the collection to Brown University. In his will he requested that it be kept together and that an inscription in Latin be placed over its alcove in the library: 'The Harris Collection of American Poetry: Commenced by Albert G. Greene, Continued by Caleb Fiske Harris and Henry B. Anthony. By the Latter Presented to this Library.'" That inscription may be seen over the fireplace in the Bruhn Room of the John Hay Library.

Source: Roger E. Stoddard. "C. Fiske Harris, Collector of American Poetry and Plays." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Vol. 57, First Quarter, 1963.

» Return to the History of the Harris Collection