Technical issues

We have tried to make our introductory remarks elsewhere on this site as straightforward and brief as possible, but certain interesting technical issues do arise from time to time as we work on this catalogue of Morris’s library, and we thought it would be useful to record here our thoughts about some of these questions.

“And others”

One of the mildly exasperating aspects of auction catalogues is that the lot descriptions sometimes conclude with a phrase such as “and six others.” This problem crops up fairly often in the 1898 Sotheby catalogue that we have used so heavily in our work here. What it means, of course, is that there are quite a few books that actually passed through that auction but can no longer be connected with it. We occasionally encounter a book with Morris’s label—generally a sure sign that it is a part of the Morris–Bennett–Sotheby chain—that simply does not appear in the Sotheby catalogue, and we assume that it is therefore hidden in one of those “and others” phrases. However, in such cases we offer no conjectures and simply record what little information is known. You can see an example of this kind of entry here.

Morris’s book label

Morris bookplate

This label was printed, after Morris’s death, at the Kelmscott Press in November 1896 (Bibliography, D10.1) while Cockerell and Ellis were carrying on negotiations for the sale of the library. It therefore appears in nearly all of Morris’s books and manuscripts that were purchased by Richard Bennett. (There are a few minor exceptions that we have described in our catalogue.) Since it seemed repetitious to record the presence of this label in each entry, our rule has been to record only its absence. We have of course also indicated any signatures or inscriptions by Morris.

¶ Personal names and book titles

In early printed books the names of authors and titles appear in a bewildering variety of forms. In order to achieve consistency, we have followed the Incunable Short Title Catalogue in rendering book titles and imprints of fifteenth-century books. For the names of authors, we have adopted the Library of Congress Authorities, which is also available online. Since the LC uses the vernacular rather than the Latin form for most personal names, we have often inserted the Latin name in brackets after the vernacular name if we felt that readers might find it confusing—e.g., “Peter Lombard [Petrus Lombardus].”