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Letter from E. Gordon Duff to Mr. Johnston, and fragment

Identifier: Coll-1280

Scope and Contents

The letter from E. Gordon Duff is dated Tuesday 7 January 1913, on paper embossed with the arms of the Athenaeum, Liverpool. It is written to 'Dear Mr Johnston' . The letter refers to 'the two books in the Laing portraits'. Apparently the book 'on the table in the sitting portrait was a copy of some Scottish Acts'. The book had been 'sold in the final Laing sale'. When Duff had seen it a couple of months before writing the letter 'it was in the hands of a London firm of booksellers'.

Duff goes on to say that the book in the second portrait 'is a MS of the Philobiblon' which 'is now in the University Library Cambridge.

The letter was placed inside a copy of Notices of David Laing : to which is added a chronological list of the various publications which were issued under his editorial superintendence from the year M.DCCC.XV. to the year M.DCCC.LXVIII inclusive, by Thomas George Stevenson, 1878, along with a Letter from Harry Gidney Aldis (1863-1919) to Mr. Johnston, with rubbing fragment which is now at E2010.33.


  • 1913


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

The bibliographer Edward Gordon Duff was born in Liverpool on 16 February 1863. He was educated at Cheltenham College, and then studied at Wadham College, Oxford, from 1883, taking a degree in Classics in 1887. At Oxford he drew up a catalogue of the 15th century books in the Bodleian Library, but further avenues did not open up for him in that direction so in 1889 he began to read for the Bar.

In 1893, Duff was appointed by Mrs Rylands as her librarian with the task of cataloguing her books (including the Spencer library), advising on new purchases, organising the collection, and supervising its transfer to the new John Rylands Library in Manchester. He was also Sanders Reader in Bibliography at Cambridge, and President of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society.

Duff's works include Early Printed Books (1893), Early English Printing (1896), The Printers, Stationers and Bookbinders of Westminster and London from 1476 to 1535 (1906), The English Provincial Printers, Stationers and Bookbinders to 1557 (1912), A Century of the English Book Trade, 1457–1557 (1905), and Fifteenth Century English Books (1917).

Edward Gordon Duff died on 28 September 1924.


1 letter

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material formerly placed in a book in Edinburgh University Library collections, and removed August 2010. Accession no: E2010.34.

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.
Letter from Edward Gordon Duff (1863-1924) to Mr. Johnston

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

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