Eliot-Phelips Collection

The collection

Approximately 3500 items printed in or relating to Spain between the early sixteenth and the early twentieth centuries, with well over half of the printed material from before 1830. Several items represent notable Spanish presses. A large part of the collection relates to the social history of Madrid, including an extensive set of ‘manuales’ and ‘guias de forasteros’ of the eighteenth century. The collection is particularly noteworthy for its evidence of the range of printed books available in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from treatises on accounting, astronomy, handwriting, and cookery, to books of chivalric romances and love poetry, dictionaries of the Castilian language, and collections of emblems, riddles, and humorous anecdotes. Official documents, maps, manuscripts and prints supplement the books.

La colección consta de aproximadamente 3500 títulos, muchos de ellos impresos en España y otros en el exterior pero pensados para el mercado español. Abarca el período comprendido entre principios del siglo XVI y primeras décadas del XX, siendo la mayoría de los títulos previos a 1830. Incluye material representativo de notables imprentas como las de Arnao Guillén de Brocar, Juan de la Cuesta, Pedro Madrigal, etc. Una parte importante, por su número, está referida a la historia social de Madrid que cuenta con un extenso conjunto de “Manuales” y “Guías para forasteros” del siglo XVIII. La colección es particularmente notable porque testimonia la importante gama de libros impresos disponibles en España durante los siglos XVII y XVIII, conteniendo desde tratados de contabilidad, astronomía, o recetarios de cocina, hasta caballería medieval y poesía. También diccionarios de la lengua castellana y libros de emblemas y humor. Todo ello se complementa con documentos oficiales, mapas, manuscritos e impresos.

The collector

Formed by William Robert Phelips (1846-1919), Deputy Lieutenant, and his son Edward Frederick Phelips (1882-1928) of Montacute, Somerset.

Acquisition

Placed in Senate House Library by the Guildhall Library, Corporation of London (to which it had been bequeathed) on permanent loan in 1950.

Access

Catalogued online 1997-2000. For an overview of the library, do a mixed classmark search on [E.P.].

Related archives

MSS326-79 (manuscripts from the Eliot-Phelips library); Eliot-Phelips Collection accession register (UoL/UL/5/7/1); exhibition catalogue, 1998 (UoL/UL/13/9)

Select publications

Noble, P.E., ‘Edward Phelips and the Eliot-Phelips Collection’, in Grandeurs of Spain: the Eliot-Phelips Collection in the University of London Library. Journal of the Institute of Romance Studies (1999), 13–20.

Highlights

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