Collection in Focus: Ouida's "A Dog of Flanders"

Jesse R. Erickson, our Astor Curator and Department Head of Printed Books & Bindings, tells us about a popular Victorian novelist, Maria Louise Ramé, better known as Ouida. We look closely at the Morgan’s first edition of Ouida’s “A Dog of Flanders,” her 1872 novel, which has gained worldwide acclaim as a children's book. During her career, Ouida wrote more than 40 novels, as well as short stories, children's books and essays.

The Department of Printed Books contains works spanning Western book production from the earliest printed ephemera to important first editions from the twentieth century. The collection encompasses a large number of high points in the history of printing, often exemplified by a lone surviving copy or a copy that is perfect in every way. Areas of exceptional strength include incunables, early children's books, fine bindings, and illustrated books. The collection's strong base derives from the major acquisitions of Pierpont Morgan, who set out to establish in the United States a library equal to the great European collections. His purchase of entire collections between the late 1890s and the eve of the First World War produced a library notable for its breadth and depth. Among the great libraries acquired by Morgan were those assembled by James Toovey, Theodore Irwin, and Richard Bennett.

Video by SandenWolff.