Monday, July 28, 2008

Lillian Gary Taylor

The University of Virginia Library has digitized the memoirs and the reading journals of Lillian Gary Taylor, who died in 1961 at the age of 96. The journals, 18 volumes altogether, provide a record of best-selling American fiction from 1787 to 1947.

Through these journals, Lillian documents reading trends in her lifetime as well as in the Early Republic. For each book, she would meticulously hand-copy the title page, and record the volume’s condition, provenance, worth, and any other information she could add, such as reviews and sales. Through these documentary concerns, Lillian reveals what interested readers from the late eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century.

Fascinating stuff.

(via Readerville forums and Bibliophile Bullpen)


  1. I just took a quick look at the reading journals, and they are absolutely fascinating. I could get lost in those for hours. Thanks for sharing this gem.

  2. Aren't they great? I love the idea that anyone can access them.

  3. It's so fascinating!! Thanks to you and Bibliophile Bullpen! For me, the cherry atop the banana split is that she died the year I was born.


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