One Man’s Education.



Wilmarth Lewis.


One Man’s Education.


New York


Alfred A. Knopf




Provenance: Julian and Grace Boyd, with an inscription by the author.

I am interested in the history of American book collecting and especially in the movement of books and manuscripts in the last century from private collections into public institutions, and this book documents that subject. Wilmarth Lewis (1895–1979)was a major donor to Yale University and the Lewis Walpole Library has become a major research center for eighteenth-century studies and an essential resource for the study of Horace Walpole and his house, Strawberry Hill. Princeton University Librarian Julian Boyd and “Lefty” Lewis (as he was known to his friends) are important figures in a distinctly American study of seminal figures in the Anglo-American long eighteenth century and this copy records their close friendship. 

Lewis was the author of a number of books, including Collector’s Progress (1951) and his Cambridge University Sandars Lecture, Horace Walpole’s Library (1957). He sponsored the Yale Editions of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, which concluded in 1983 with its forty-eighth volume.

Lewis’s style is distinctly peculiar. He writes in the first person singular and plural and also in the third person, and sometime switches from one to another in successive sentences! He also refers to himself as Wilmarth, Lewis, WSL, Lewie, and Lefty. I enjoy owning this book immensely and I wish I could report that it was a good read; for its subject matter it is indeed.


William P. Stoneman