The Schelling Collection

According to the Report of the President and Treasurer of Harvard College (1905-06), Royce donated his “remarkable Schelling collection of 151 books and pamphlets” to HCL.[1] The report goes on to state that the collection “include[s] first editions of most of the philosopher’s writings and many volumes of contemporary criticism.”

Houghton Library. Harvard University. Houghton Harvard Depository *GC8.Sch264.C856w

Houghton Library. Harvard University. Houghton Harvard Depository *GC8.Sch264.C856w

Not only are these texts important in their own right—as a collection of first editions of Schelling’s works and contemporary criticisms—but the fact remains that this collection is ever more historically valuable as an untapped resource for insight in the thought and works of Royce.

At present there are minimal to no provenance oriented records for this collection in the HOLLIS catalog, however, based on my preliminary research I am confident that the bulk of Royce’s Schelling collection resides in Houghton Library. Evidence of this can be evinced from a random sample selection in which I examined four pre-1907 Schelling-related volumes (see Bibliography). Of the four, I found that three texts have Royce’s markings and marginalia in both English and German and that all four bear the “Gift of Josiah Royce” bookplate or donation date stamp, thereby identifying them as Royce’s books.[2] Of the sample volumes inspected, two stamps are provided on the recto of the full title page of every text: “Library of the Dept. of Philosophy Gift of Josiah Royce” and “Transferred to Harvard College Library Mar 5 1935.”[3]

[1] Harvard University. Harvard University Archives / Harvard University. Reports of the President and Treasurer of Harvard College, 1905-06. Cambridge: Harvard University, 1908: 210.

[2] The bookplate reads: “Harvard College Library / Library of the Department of Philosophy / Schelling Collection / The Gift of Josiah Royce, LL.D. Professor of the History of Philosophy.” The four random samples (see Royce’s Personal Library) were: (1) Schelling, F.W.J. System des transscendentalen Idealismus.  Tübingen: In der J.G. Cotta’schen Buchhandlung, 1800; (2) Schelling, F.W.J. Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur.  Leipzig: Bey Breitkopf und Härtel, 1797; (3) Erdmann, Johann Eduard. Ueber Schelling : namentlich seine negative Philosophie. Halle : H.W. Schmidt, 1857; and (4) Schelling, F.W.J. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schellings sämmtliche Werke. Stuttgart ; Augsburg : J.G. Cotta, 1856-1861. Note that the first record has been recently updated to reflect its provenance: it reads, “From the library of Josiah Royce, with his ms. notes and underlinings on many pages, and his autograph on front flyleaf.”

[3] Of the four volumes inspected, two different donation dates are given: 23 December 1905 and 15 October 1906. As of yet, I have not found corresponding dates in the HCL donations and book received records. This leads me to believe that they were originally gifted to the Department of Philosophy and later transferred to HCL. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the accession records of Robbins Library were preserved.

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