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Scrapboxes of J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps

Identifier: H35745

Scope and Content

The Scrapboxes of J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps consists of notes, letters, pictures, book fragments, maps, and other visual and textual miscellanea that J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps created and/or gathered throughout his career mainly pertaining to Shakespeare's life, residences, friends, family, and literary predecessors. These scraps were originally intended to form part of Halliwell-Phillipps' scrapbook series (Folger MS W.b.201-256), but he either abandoned this project or died before he could amalgamate the remaining material into scrapbook form.

The bulk of the collection consists of single pages and fragments of 19th century books. Other materials include Halliwell-Phillipps' correspondence, handwritten notes, and a variety of engravings and illustrations portraying Shakespeare, locations pertinent to his life, and contemporary dress and architecture. Halliwell-Phillipps assigned his own subject headings to each item (with a few exceptions; see arrangement note). A large portion of these subjects deal with aspects of Shakespeare's life (e.g., his birthplace, family, career as an actor and author, the treatment of his wife, and his death). There are also several subject headings that relate to Elizabethan authors and the theater, such as Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, the social position of actors, the perceived immorality of the stage, various theatres, and events (e.g., James I's progress through London and the King of Denmark's visit).

The collection includes several maps and illustrations. The majority of these illustrations consist of images of Shakespeare, his gravesite, and his effigies. There are also several large maps and illustrations detailing various travel routes (such as to and from Stratford-upon-Avon) and multiple photographs of Anne Hathaway's cottage and Charlecote Park.

Some of the items were created prior to 1701, most of which are fragments of printed books. There are also some maps and illustrations from this period and a variety of contemporary legal contracts (deeds, market and fair charters) and documents recording personal accounts and charity bequeathed by will. Some of the pre-1701 manuscripts have been cataloged separately.


  • 19th century



Collection is open for research.

Biographical note

J.O. (James Orchard) Halliwell-Phillipps (1820-1889), English antiquary and Shakespearean scholar, was the son of London linen draper Thomas Halliwell. He began collecting books and manuscripts on mathematics and astrology in his teens, later devoting himself to antiquarian research while a student at Jesus College, Cambridge.

In 1839, Halliwell-Phillipps was made a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and then Fellow of the Royal Society. He left Cambridge in 1840 without a degree and moved to London where he worked in the Library of the British Museum and continued to add to his personal collection. This is also when Halliwell-Phillipps began focusing his interest on the life and works of Shakespeare, becoming an active member in various literary societies such as the Camden Society, the Percy Society, and the Shakespeare Society.

In 1848, Halliwell-Phillipps published The Life of William Shakespeare, which passed through many subsequent editions. Between 1853 and 1865, he produced a folio critical edition of Shakespeare's works with illustrations by F.W. Fairholt. Other noted publications include: a reprint of Shakespeare's quartos in 48 volumes, New boke about Shakespeare and Stratford-on-Avon (1850); Calendar of the records at Stratford-on-Avon (1863); History of New Place (1864); and Outlines of a life of Shakespeare (1881). Throughout his life, Halliwell-Phillipps published more than sixty volumes and was instrumental in the establishment of a Shakespeare museum at New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon.

He took the additional surname Phillipps in 1872, following the death of his father-in-law, Sir Thomas Phillipps. Halliwell-Phillipps died aged sixty-eight on January 3, 1889 at Hollingbury Copse.


43.0 boxes

Language of Materials



Intended for inclusion in J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps' Shakespeareana scrapbook series (Folger MS W.b.201-256) mainly pertaining to Shakespeare's life, residences, friends, family, and literary predecessors. The scraps include: letters, printed book fragments, notes, clippings, prints, copies of accounts, maps, and photographs.


Originally arranged in 8 series (A-H) subdivided by subject into 37 boxes. The collection is now arranged alphabetically by subject heading, with a total of 296 subject headings, into 43 boxes. Some subject headings have been condensed; in this case, a note has been made of the original components. In some cases subject headings were added in pencil by Folger processing staff to a few scattered items that lacked this designation.


The Scrapboxes of Halliwell-Phillipps may at one time been in the possession of Marsden J. Perry.

Acquisition Information

The Scrapboxes of Halliwell-Phillipps was listed in Sotheby's sale catalog of July 1, 1895, p. 51, lot 667. Correspondence indicates that the lot was withdrawn from the auction and sold to H.C. Folger via private contract. There is an invoice for this lot from Henry Sotheran &38; Co. to H.C. Folger dated September 1895 and a letter from Sotheran to Folger dated September 7, 1895 saying that the lot had been shipped to New York. However, in James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps (2001), Marvin Spevack implies that the sale did not go through due to legal conflict with Halliwell-Phillipps' will and that, in fact, Folger obtained these materials through Marsden J. Perry in 1908.

Related Materials

Scrapbooks of J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps, 19th century ( Folger MS W.b.137-256)

American fragments by J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps, 19th century ( Folger MS W.b.133)

Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. Shaksperian collectanea, compiled ca. 1860 ( Folger MS V.a.492)

Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. Shaksperian collectanea, compiled ca. 1860 ( Folger MS V.a.493-495)

Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. Shaksperian miscellanies, compiled ca. 1870 ( Folger MS V.a.496)

Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. Early notices of Shakespeare, compiled ca. 1860 ( Folger MS V.a.497-502)

Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. Shakesperian notices, compiled ca. 1870 ( Folger MS V.a.503-506)

Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. Curious notices of Shakespeare, compiled between 1842 and 1859 ( Folger MS V.a.507)

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps scrapbook of miscellaneous Shakespeareana, ca. 15th century-ca. 18th century, compiled ca. 19th century ( Folger MS V.b.35 (1-23))

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps scrapbook of miscellaneous Shakespeareana, ca. 16th century-ca. 17th century, compiled ca. 19th century ( Folger MS V.b.36)

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps scrapbook of miscellaneous Shakespeareana, ca. 16th century-ca. 17th century, compiled 19th century ( Folger MS V.b.37)

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps collection of bonds, etc., mentioning Hathaways or Shakespeares, 1584-1692, compiled 19th century ( Folger MS V.b.87 (1-7))

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps collection of early Shakespearean miscellanies, 1555-ca. 1775, compiled 19th century ( Folger MS Z.e.7)

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps collection of miscellaneous Shakespearean relics, 1528-ca. 1800, compiled 19th century ( Folger MS Z.e.8)

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps collection of documents relating to Stratford on Avon, ca. 1270-ca. 1700, compiled 19th century ( Folger MS Z.e.9)

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps collection of Old Stratford-on-Avon inventories, 1576-1874, compiled ca. 1875 ( Folger MS Z.e.10)

Processing Information

Processed by Folger Shakespeare Library staff.

Guide to the Scrapboxes of J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps, 19th century Folger MS Y.d.1119-1414
Unverified Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Kathleen Burlingame, Cathy Ballman, and Elisabeth Brander
May 2010
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Folger Shakespeare Library Repository

201 E. Capitol St. SE
Washington DC 20003 USA