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Muir mss. II, 1892-1981

Summary Information

Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Lilly Library
Indiana University
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-5500
Phone: 812-855-2452
Fax: 812-855-3143

Muir, Percy H. (Percy Horace), 1894-1979.

Muir mss. II, 1892-1981

Collection No.
LMC 2286

1,200 items

Materials are in English

Consists of the correspondence and business papers of Elkin Mathews, firm, booksellers, as well as manuscripts and personal papers of Percival Horace Muir, 1894–1979, bookseller and author.

Access Restrictions

Access to this collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information.

Biographical Note

Percy Muir was associated with the antiquarian bookselling firm, Elkin Mathews, Ltd. from 1930 until his death in 1979. Founded in 1885 by Charles Elkin Mathews, the business began in the Cathedral Close at Exeter but moved to London in 1887 when Elkin Mathews and John Lane went into partnership. Within a very few years publishing became the principle interest of the firm, now Elkin Mathews and John Lane Ltd., with retail sales of books, old and new, taking a secondary place. The two men parted company in 1894 and Mathews, although continuing to publish, returned to a greater concentration on bookselling. He died in 1922. A.W. Evans, ex–curate, ex–journalist, and himself a collector and customer of Elkin Mathews, acquired the business as a going concern from Mathews' widow. Percy Muir joined the firm, as a partner, in January 1930, becoming managing director in 1939. It was under his stewardship that the firm moved from London during the German blitz to Blakeney, Norfolk.

Percy Muir was president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association in Britain from 1945-1947, and chaired the first conference of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) in 1947. He became president of the ILAB from 1950-1952 and was subsequently elected the first Life President of Honor. The author of several bibliographies and books on book collecting, as well as an autobiography: Minding My Own Business (Chatto & Windus, 1956), he also made frequent contributions to Colophon, Library, and various bibliographical journals such as Bookman's Journal. He was also a founder and member of the editorial board of Book Collector.


The collection is organized into the following series: I. Elkin Mathews, Ltd.; II. Muir.

Scope and Content Note

The Elkins Mathews series contains correspondence, papers and business records of the company. The Muir series is the personal correspondence and writings of Percy Muir.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Acquired: 2000
Usage Restrictions
Prior arrangements are not necessary before coming to the Library, however, patrons from out of town are encouraged to communicate with the Library in advance of their visits to ascertain availability of materials.

Photocopying permitted only with permission of the Curator of Manuscripts, Lilly Library.

Preferred Citation
[Item], Muir mss. II, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Processing Information
Processed by Craig Simpson.

Completed in 2012

Series: Box 1 Elkin Mathews, Ltd.

Mimeographs lists of books for sale, followed by chronologically arranged business materials.

Early catalogues, pre-1900

Publications lists, 1894,  1908-1909

Catalogues of the private library of Elkin Mathews, 1922

Numbered lists: Nos. 42, 47, 56, 78, 81, 85, 86

(2 folders)

Quarto lists, 1, 3–5, 8, 9, one unnumbered

(2 folders)

Unnumbered and incomplete lists.

Stop Gap, 1 & 2; catalogue #7 new series; publications catalogue for Elkin Mathews and Marrot Ltd., July-Dec. 1933;  John Ruskin first editions catalogue

Box 4 Elkin Mathews catalogues

(master copies), 1-35

Box 5 Elkin Mathews catalogues

(master copies), 36-73 (lacks 57)

Box 6 Elkin Mathews catalogues

(master copies), 74-108

Box 7 Elkin Mathews catalogues

(master copies), 109-133 (lacks 121)

Box 8 Elkin Mathews catalogues

(master copies), 134-150

Box 9 Elkin Mathews catalogues

(master copies), 151-166

Box 10 Elkin Mathews catalogues

(master copies), 167-189

Box 11 Duval & Muir catalogues

(master copies), 1-56 (lacking 6, 30, 41)

Box 1 (continued) ca. 1886–1916.  Bibliographical Wrinkles.

Bound volume, plus one folder of items formerly laid–in


John Lane letters to Grant Richards

1893–1917.  Elkin Mathews correspondence, including letters from Richard le Gallienne, from Mathews to Holbrook Jackson, and from Jack B. Yeats, enclosing three Elkin Mathews logo designs.

1894.  Stock on hand.

4 ledger sheets

ca. 1896–1981. 

Miscellaneous notes, invoices, printed pieces

ca. 1922–1980.  Share register

1922–1980.  Stock transfers

1930.  Edmund Blunden letter to A.W. Evans, enclosing an introduction for a catalogue.

1932–1933.  Trial balances

1933.  Two leases

1930s–1960s.  Ledger volume

1943–1968.  Annual returns

1949, Apr. 30.  Stock. 8 ledger pages

1969–1977.  Share certificates

Box 2 1927–1929

Oversized share certificates

Series: Box 2 Muir

Subseries: Box 2 Correspondence

Arranged alphabetically by correspondent or subject. Range of years of the correspondence follows each name

Antiquarian Booksellers' Association. 1958, Apr.–1959, May 

(4 folders)

Davis, Rupert Hart. 1958–1986

Deval, Laurie E. 1932–1970

McLean, Ruari. 1964–1966

Property concerns. 1935–1938,  1962

Sendak, Maurice. 1966,  1968–1969

Subseries: Box 2 Writings by Muir: Articles and books

Arranged alphabetically by title or subject of book or article, followed by reviews Andre Poursin, obituary. 1969

The Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

1st item in volume of miscellaneous writings

Beaumarchais: Biography of a Bourgeois. Unfinished

(8 folders)

Bibliographical Notes & Queries. Concerns Toy Books designed by Walter Crane. 1968

Bibliographical Notes & Queries. "Tauchnitz editions of nineteenth–century English novels...[1st line]" 1955

Book–collecting: More letters to Everyman.

Book–collecting II: More letters to Everyman.

Casanova's memoirs.

"Come on Kate! said the little boy . . . " First line of chapter one of untitled volume

Commentary on Weston, W.J. Law and the Countryman. 1953

Edward Seago art exhibition. 1953

An Elizabethan Writing Master, Peter Bales (1547–1610?).

Encyclopedia Britannica: Bibliographic comparison of 1773 London printing and 1771 Edinburgh. (incomplete). 1969

February 14 and all that. Also draft of introduction

The First Edition of Rousseau's Émile, 1762. 1952

Further letters to Everyman; preface to Book Collecting as a Hobby, etc. Bound volume Includes "The International Congress at Copenhagen (Preliminary Report)"

Goethe Bibliography with special reference to Faust, ein Fragment, 1790. 1977

Gregynog Press. 1957

History of science and philosophy collectors; et al.

The Incunabula of Progress.

Introduction to Little Wide Awake by Leonard De Vries. Includes two letters from M. Joy Fisher to Muir, Oct. 12 and Nov. 4, 1966

Journal. Chiefly concerns Muir's work with the ABA. Jan.–Feb. 1967

Box 3 Just in time. Bound volume Partial memoir?

Limited Editions and Spurious Values.

London letters. Bound volume

Minding My Own Business. Bound volume

Miscellaneous notes, concerning authors: Dr. Newman, Samuel Pepys, Adam Smith, et al.

Miscellaneous notes and fragments concerning books and editions of various books.

Miscellaneous notes.

8 items, all untitled

Murder? Unpublished short story. ca. 1940s.

My first suit. Bound volume

Note concerning death of William Kundig. 1952

Novel fragment. p. 179–211; 232–234 (latter pages are on verso of p. 3–5 of "What is a Working Majority?")

An Open Letter to Paul Hirsch on His Seventieth Birthday. Feb. 1951. Tear sheets, p. 3–6 of The Music Review edited and revised to include only story of original manuscript of Mozart's Haffner Symphony

Otto Eric Deutsch. A Profile. Incomplete, accompanied by untitled Muir reminiscence of OED, 1975

"...Paul Louis Bader has closed his shop...[first line]" Accompanied by letter from Bader to Muir, 29 Oct. 1965

A Picture Bible. Includes clipping of article from Sunday Chronicle, July 11, 1954

Private Presses. 1965

The Rake's Progress. Complete set of the eight plates, 1735–1763,  plus other bibliographic descriptions

Robert Burns and the Scots Musical Museum. Incomplete

Robert John Thornton and his "Temple of Flora," etc. Bound volume

Round a Curious Tree. 1968

Some Whys and Wherefores of Book Collecting (a.k.a. Book Collecting and the Man in the Street). 1951

Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies, 1808–1834.  1933

Two Library Hoaxes (for ABA Newsletter, 1961)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Original Manuscripts of the Haffner Symphony (K.385).

Words. 3 versions. "PHM succeeds Dr. Flower (Address)" in pencil on cover of bound volume. 1964

Subseries: Box 3 Writings by Muir: Reviews.

Arranged alphabetically by author and title of book reviewed.

Abbey, J.R. Life in England in Aquatint and Lithography, 1770–1860 ... 1953

Amman, Jost. Kunst und Lehrbüchlein. 1971

Bentley, Eric. Shaw on Music: A Selection From the Music Criticism of Bernard Shaw. 1955

Childs, J. Rives. Casanoviana: An Annotated World Bibliographyâ...1956

Fletcher, Ifan Kyrle and Arnold Rood. Edward Gordon Craig: A Bibliography. 1969

Hamilton, Sinclair. Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers, 1670–1870.  1968.

Hofstätter, Hans Hellmut. Jugendstil: Druckkunst. 1968

Humphries, Charles. Music Publishing in The British Isles... A Dictionary of Engravers, Printers, Publishers and Music Sellers ... 1955

King, A. Hyatt. Some British Collectors of Music. The Sanders Lectures for 1961.  1963

McGrath, Daniel F. Bookman's Price Index: An Annual Guide to the Values of Rare and Other Out–of–Print Books and Sets of Periodicals... 1964

McLean, Ruari. Victorian Book Design and Colour Printing. 1963

Morison, Stanley. Calligraphy, 1535–1885: A Collection of 72 Writing–Books. 1962.

Neuberg, Victor E. The Penny Histories: A study of chapbooks... 1968

Newbery, John. A Little Pretty Pocket–Book. 1963

Newman, Ernest. The Life of Wagner. 1948

Roscoe, S. Newbery–Carnan–Power: A Provisional Check–List of Books... 1966

Schauer, Georg Kurt. Deutsche Buchkunst: 1890 Bis 1960. Vol. I: Text by G.K. Schauer. Vol. II: Illustrations & bibliography... 1964

Shaw, J.M. Childhood in Poetry: A Catalogue of the Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection in the Library of the Florida State University. 1968. Accompanied by correspondence between Shaw and Muir, July 24,  Aug. 27,  and Sept. 11, 1974.

Spielmann, Percy Edwin. Catalogue of the Library of Miniature Books. 1961

Taubert, Sigfred. Bibliopola. Pictures and Text About the Book Trade. 1967

Thwaite, Mary Florence. From Primer to Pleasure in Reading. 1963

Tooley, R. V. English Books with Coloured Plates, 1790 to 1860: A Bibliographical Account... 1955

Uden, Grant. Collector's Casebook. 1963

Wagner, Richard. Sämtliche Briefe... 1969

Wegehaupt, Heinz. 150 Jahre Kinder–und Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm. 1965

Wendt, Bernhard. Der Antiquariats–Buchhandel.... 1975

no author. Book Auction Records, Vol. 62, August 1964 to July 1965

no author. Book Auction Records, Vol. 64, September 1966 to August 1967

no author. Jahrbuch der Auktionspreise für Buchen, Handschriften und Autographen. 1976