- Majority of material found in 1767-1945, 1793-1850
Scope and Content Note
The Harry B. Weiss Chapbook Collection comprises some 880 chapbooks dating from the late 18th through the mid-19th Centuries, as well as a selection of peripheral material. These chapbooks represent the collecting interests of Harry B. Weiss, and focus on British and, to a much lesser extent, American chapbooks, with other examples from Germany, Italy and Mexico. Nearly half of the collection is from publishers in Scotland, primarily those printed in Glasgow "for the booksellers," though Paisley, Stirling, Falkirk and Edinburgh are also present. Many other centers of chapbook publication in Great Britain are represented in the collection. London comprises about a fifth of the collection, though Coventry, Newcastle, Otley, Leeds, and others are here, as well. A sample of chapbook printers and publishers collected by Mr. Weiss includes J. Catnach, W.S. Fortey and J. Marshall of London, J. Johnson of Leeds, Francis Orr & Sons of Glasgow and William Walker of Otley. Subjects range from collections of songs, to stories of villains and victims, morality tales, famous events and personages, children's fairy tales, Bible stories and instructions how to handle money. Many are illustrated with wood cuts and engravings, some in color. In addition, the collection contains chapbooks that are oversized, reprinted, in anthologies and from the 20th Century. Other material includes correspondence and notes, with extensive correspondence from Walter N. H. Harding and correspondence related to the chapbook The Life of Amos Wilson, Pennsylvania Hermit. Booklets and drafts of articles written by Harry B. Weiss are in the collection. In addition, library, exhibit, and publisher's catalogs relating to chapbooks, children's books and other topics are included, as are examples of a 19th Century children's game, a printed circus advertisement, small copies of chapbook engravings, and a photograph of Harry B. Weiss.
"Dr. Harry Weiss, 89, Entomologist, Dies." New York Times, July 6, 1972. Accessed 2/21/2017.
Weiss, Grace M. "Preface." A Bibliography of Harry B. Weiss for the Years 1912-1964, compiled by Grace M. Weiss. Trenton, NJ: Privately published, 1964.
6 linear feet, consisting of 50 custom boxes and a manuscript box.
Language of Materials
The Harry B. Weiss Chapbook Collection comprises some 880 chapbooks dating from the late 18th through the mid 19th Centuries, as well as a selection of peripheral material. These chapbooks represent the collecting interests of Harry B. Weiss, and focus on British and, to a lesser extent, American chapbooks, with other examples from Germany, Italy and Mexico.
Harry Bischoff Weiss (1883-1972) was an entomologist at New Jersey Department of Agriculture for 44 years, retiring as Director of the Division of Plant Industry. In his professional role, he was known for combatting the Japanese beetle after discovering its presence in the United States and for work to counter other pests, such as the gypsy moth. He wrote extensively on entomology and other broader scientific topics. He was the president of the American Association of Entomologists and an associate editor of the Journal of Economic Entomology, as well as president and editor of other related societies and journals. His received the designation of Honorary Doctor of Science from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, as well as other awards in agriculture and entomology. As an avocation, he was interested in books and history, collecting and writing about Chapbooks, children’s Books and early Americana, particularly as related to New Jersey. He frequently donated the resulting collections and related writings to libraries. He edited the American Book Collector from 1931-1933. Following his retirement, he established the Past Times Press for which he wrote and published works on early American life and industry.
The collection is arranged in five series: SLIP-CASED CHAPBOOKS, BOUND CHAPBOOKS, LOOSE CHAPBOOKS, OTHER CHAPBOOKS AND OTHER MATERIAL. Arrangement generally reflects Harry B. Weiss' original housing methodology: chapbooks were housed in custom slipcases, chapbooks were grouped and bound into a book format, and chapbooks were kept loose and without discernible organization. For the series SLIP-CASED CHAPBOOKS and BOUND CHAPBOOKS, chapbooks are organized according to Weiss' original order, both for the boxes and for the contents of each box. LOOSE CHAPBOOKS are arranged alphabetically by city of publication, then by publisher/printer, then by title. OTHER CHAPBOOKS are arranged by size and category. OTHER MATERIALS are organized alphabetically.
The collection was donated by Harry B. Weiss.
Chapbooks were grouped in acid-free folders or placed in custom acid-free housing, following the original organization of the donor and attempting to preserve the original housing where possible. Box and folder labels were added. Some fragile covers were stabilized and placed in mylar jackets.
- Guide to the Harry B. Weiss Chapbook Collection
- Edited Full Draft
- Evan Stankovics, Elizabeth M. Phillips, and Michael Joseph
- February 2017
- Language of description note
- Finding aid is written in English.
- Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
Part of the New Brunswick Special Collections Repository