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The IOBA Standard is the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association and covers the book world, with a special focus on the online used, out-of-print, and collectible bookselling markets.


The Dickens Reference Shelf. An Annotated List.

Charles Dickens

As a Dickens specialist, I have over 6 shelves of books I use in researching Charles Dickens material. This is obviously overkill for the purposes of most booksellers, so what appears below are those that I consider the more important volumes, in various categories, such that others will know where to turn to answer a given “Dickens” question…

Primary References

Smith, Walter. CHARLES DICKENS: In the Original Cloth (Part I & II). A Biblio-graphical Catalogue. LA: 1982. 2 volumes. Probably the best reference to have for identifying first editions of all the major (and most minor) Dickens titles. Includes a nice section on the issue/state labrynith that surrounds the first edition identification of “Christmas Carol.” A nice set usually runs $125.

Eckel, John. The FIRST EDITIONS of CHARLES DICKENS. London: 1932. 2nd edition. This the second reference to own. Originally published in 1913, it was updated in 1932. The 1932 edition reissued in 2 reprints of which I’m aware: Haskell House (in a horrible pink cloth during the 1970s) and Martino (nice maroon cloth done around ’93). The 1932 edition will run a few hundred dollars, the reprints generally $50 – $75.

Hatton & Cleaver. A BIBLIOGRAPHY Of The PERIODICAL WORKS Of CHARLES DICKENS. London: 1933. The bible for identifying the parts issues of Dickens’ works. The first a mid-three figure book; was reprinted by Martino, and can readily be had for $75 or so.

Podeschi – Compiler. DICKENS and DICKENSIANA: A Catalogue of the Richard Gimbel Collection in the Yale University Library. New Haven: 1980. The best reference for Dickensiana, including U.S. publications, as well as sets. A book readily available, and well worth the $60 selling price.

American Editions

Wilkins, William Glyde. FIRST and EARLY AMERICAN EDITIONS of the WORKS of CHARLES DICKENS. Cedar Rapids: 1910. An early effort to separate and identify the many complex editions of Dickens’ [mostly pirated] U.S. publications. While dated and subject to later scholarship, it’s still a good point to begin, and is necessary to be consulted. Was reprinted by Burt Franklin in 1968.

Edgar & Vail. CHARLES DICKENS: His Life as Traced by His Works & Early American Editions of the Works of Charles Dickens. NY: 1929. A listing of the U.S. editions found in the NYPL. Updates Wilkins and, with a few exceptions, is generally reliable. Somewhat uncommon, and will run [usually] over a C-note to acquire. Was reprinted (with minimal attribution) by Mandel in 1997, and so perpetuates the errors that are in this NYPL Bulletin.

Sumner & Stillman. “Catalogue Thirty-Six. First American Editions of Charles Dickens. The Allan D. McGuire Collection.” Useful for the pictures, as well as research into publication history (especially OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, the information regarding which supercedes that provided in Edgar & Vail above).

Secondary References

The NEW CAMBRIDGE BIBLIOGRPAPHY Of ENGLISH LITERATURE. Vol III. Cambridge: 1969. Ppg 779 – 850. Very good for secondary material, and a welcome adjunct to Gimbel. While the entire 5 volume set is EXTREMELY useful, the Dickens portion was issued separately by the Dickens House in 1970. The 5 volume set will run 3 figures; the extract pamphlet, under $25. Get the set if you can find one, and can swing the $$$.

Miller, William. The DICKENS STUDENT And COLLECTOR: A List of Writings Relating to Dickens and His Works 1836 – 1945. Cambridge: 1946. Also somewhat useful, though uncommon (I’ve only had a couple of copies over the last 13 years, though now with ABE, et al, it should be easier to acquire). I’ve found obscure items listed here and nowhere else.

Carr, Lucile. A Catalogue of the VANDERPOEL Dickens Collection at the University of Texas. Austin: 1968. 2nd ed. The second edition is the preferred edition.

CHARLES DICKENS. An Excerpt from the General Catalogue of Printed Books in the British Museum. London: 1960. Like Miller, this can document somewhat uncommon material.

Wilkins, William Glyde – Compiler. DICKENS in CARTOON and CARICATURE. Boston: 1924. Somewhat uncommon, as it was issued in a limited edition of 440cc.

Dramatic Dickens

Bolton, H. Philip. DICKENS DRAMATIZED. NY: 1987. The standard reference for the dramatic versions/editions of Dickens works.

Fitz-Gerald, S. J. Adair. DICKENS and the DRAMA. NY: 1910.

Fitzsimmons. The CHARLES DICKENS SHOW. An Account of His Public Readings 1858 – 1870. London: 1970.

Dickens Periodical Appearances

Lohrli, Anne – ed. HOUSEHOLD WORDS: Table of Contents & List of Contributers & Their Contributions. Toronto: (1973).

Oppenlander, Ella Ann. DICKENS’ ALL THE YEAR ROUND: Descriptive Index and Contributor List. Troy NY: 1984.

Books Owned by Dickens

Stonehouse, J. H. – Editor. CATALOGUE Of The LIBRARY Of CHARLES DICKENS From GADSHILL. Reprinted from Sotheran’s ‘Price Current of Literature’ Nos. CLXXIV and CLXXV. London: 1935. Dickens’ bookplate and/or the Gadshill sale label were reproduced and affixed to many volumes NOT owned by Dickens… if the book in question not listed here, exercise caution.

Illustrations & Illustrators to Dickens’ Works

Johannsen, Albert. PHIZ: Illustrations from the Novels of Charles Dickens. Chicago: (1956). This work broke new ground (e.g., herein demonstrated was the fact that the “” was NOT an issue point for Martin Chuzzlewit).

Kitton. DICKENS and HIS ILLUSTRATORS. London: 1899. A supplement was issued the next year. The 1899 portion was reprinted in 1972.

Grego, Joseph – ed. PICTORIAL PICKWICKIANA. London: 1899. 2 volumes. Traces the various illustrators to Dickens’ first novel.


Individual Dickens’ Titles

Cox, Don Richard. CHARLES DICKENS’S The MYSTERY Of EDWIN DROOD. An Annotated Bibliography. NY: (1998).

Engel, Elliot. PICKWICK PAPERS An Annotated Bibliography. NY: 1990. 1st ed.

Glancy, Ruth F. A TALE Of TWO CITIES An Annotated Bibliography. NY: 1993.

Lougy, Robert E. MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT An Annotated Bibliography. NY: 1990.

Schlicke, Paul & Priscilla. The OLD CURIOSITY SHOP An Annotated Bibliography. NY: 1988.

NB. There are others in this Garland series (e.g., GREAT EXPECTATIONS), but the above are the only ones I’ve been able to lay my hands on. And 2 titles have multiple bibliographic works written about their publication: CHRISTMAS CAROL & PICKWICK PAPERS.

Exhibition & Auction Catalogues

Matz, B. W. & J. W. T. Ley – Editors. The PICKWICK EXHIBITION. Held at the New Dudley Gallery From July 22nd to August 28th, 1907. London: [1907].

CATALOGUE Of An EXHIBITION Of The WORKS Of CHARLES DICKENS. January 23d to March 8th. NY: The Grolier Club, 1913.

NB. There are many such Exhibition Catalogues, and I’ve named but 2 that I have available to me… most have a bit of utility to some degree or another.

Dickens Friends & Inspirational Sources

Pugh, Edwin. The DICKENS ORIGINALS. NY: 1912. 1st U.S.

Ley, J. W. T. The DICKENS CIRCLE. NY: (n. d.).

Other, Rather Esoteric References…

Coustillas, Pierre. GISSING’S WRITINGS On DICKENS. London: 1969.

Gummer, Ellis N. DICKENS’ WORKS In GERMANY. NY: 1976. This is a reprint edition.

Churchill, R. C. – Compiler & Editor. A BIBLIOGRAPHY Of DICKENSIAN CRITICISM 1836 – 1975. London: 1975. Self-explanatory.

Wilkins, William Glyde – Compiler. DICKENS in CARTOON and CARICATURE. Boston: 1924. Somewhat uncommon, as it was issued in a limited edition of 440cc




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