The Lilly Library
The materials included in London Low Life are taken from several of the Lilly Library’s renowned collections, including:
- The Michael Sadleir Collection of London Low Life
- The Virginia Warren Collection of Street Cries
- The Chapbook Collection
- The Pforzheimer Collection of George Gissing’s manuscripts.
The Lilly Library is one of the largest rare-book and manuscript libraries in the United States. Founded in 1960 with the collection of Josiah K. Lilly, Jr, of Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, the library now contains approximately 400,000 rare books, 6.5 million manuscripts and 100,000 pieces of sheet music. The library's holdings are particularly strong in British and American history and literature, Latin Americana, medicine and science, food and drink, children's literature, fine printing and binding, popular music, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and early printing. Notable items in the library's collections include the New Testament of the Gutenberg Bible, the first printed collection of Shakespeare's works, Audubon's Birds of America, one of 25 extant copies of the "First Printing of the Declaration of Independence" (also known as the "Dunlap Broadside") that was printed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, George Washington's letter accepting the presidency of the United States, Abraham Lincoln's desk from his law office, a leaf from the famous Abraham Lincoln "Sum Book" c. 1824-1826, Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son, the manuscripts of Robert Burns's "Auld Lang Syne", J. M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World and J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and typescripts of many of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. The library also owns the papers of Hollywood directors Orson Welles and John Ford, the poets Sylvia Plath and Ezra Pound, and authors Edith Wharton and Upton Sinclair. In 2006, the library received a collection of 30,000 mechanical puzzles from Jerry Slocum. The collection will be on permanent display. Special permission is not required to use the collections, and the library has several exhibition galleries which are open to the public.