The Smithsonian copy

Helena E. Wright, Curator of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, has recently contributed a post to the Museum’s blog about the rather mysterious copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer owned by the Smithsonian (2.145 in our Census). It was once in the collections of William Randolph Hearst and Clinton P. Anderson, and earlier (in 1919) had been sold “by order of Francis P. Garvan, Alien Property Custodian.” Ms. Wright — who also supplies three photographs of the binding (one of which you can see here) — is appealing for more information about the book’s history. She suspects (as do we) that this copy of the Chaucer may have been “the property of a German collector or book dealer whose assets had been seized by the U.S. government during World War I.”

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