My research explores and analyses the book collecting of Enriqueta Rylands, founder of the John Rylands Library, between 1889 and 1908 (when she died). Through close scrutiny of both textual records and the material evidence of Rylands’ collecting practice, my research will reveal what Rylands acquired, how and for what purpose. Central to the project is an investigation of the relationship between the tastes, interests and practical resources of the individual collector and the ambition to found a major educational and cultural institution.
My PhD is supervised by Professor Julie-Marie Strange (History) and Professor Helen Rees Leahy (Museology). I am a professional archivist and manuscript curator working in the University of Manchester Library. In 2008 I curated an exhibition at the John Rylands Library to mark the centenary of Rylands’ death.