A Lot of Nonsense

A new digital collection is now available in the FSU Digital Library!

A page from A Book of Nonsense, 1846
A page from A Book of Nonsense, 1846

Edward Lear was a British poet and painter. Although he wrote many poetry volumes and travel journals, he is best known for his Book of Nonsense, first published in 1846, which consists of drawings and short poems he wrote for the grandchildren of Lord Derby. While he is not credited as the inventor of the limerick, the poems of the Book of Nonsense would be defined as such today. This online collection includes the multiple editions of the Book of Nonsense published from 1846 to 1880. It also includes the many derivative editions and works which call the Book of Nonsense their inspiration.

Our Edward Lear collection belongs in the John M. Shaw Childhood in Poetry collection. John MacKay Shaw (1897-1984) was an AT&T Executive who began collecting related to childhood in the 1930s. From this hobby the collection grew. Following his retirement in 1959, Shaw gave his collection of almost 6,000 volumes to Florida State University Libraries. For the next 25 years, Shaw went to Strozier Library daily to study, write, and talk about his books. The Shaw Collection has grown immensely over the years and it currently comprises over 35,000 volumes and 69 linear feet of archival material.

Also, this spring, see an exhibit about John MacKay Shaw in our Exhibit Room put together in collaboration with the Spring 2014 Museum Objects class. For more information, see our post about the exhibit!

Published by Krystal Thomas

Digital Archivist at Florida State University

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