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E.L. Burney Collection

2,200 items.

The collection of Edward Lester Burney, donated in 1975, includes a large number of items associated with Mrs George Linnaeus Banks (1821–97), née Isabella Varley, the Manchester schoolmistress and authoress of The Manchester Man (1876). However, the subject coverage is wide, with items of local history, women’s literature, general and popular fiction,  book illustration and juvenilia. 

Women’s literature is well represented, with works on the theme of etiquette and the role of women in Victorian society, such as The Housemaid: Her Duties, and How to Perform them (c.1880)  and Mrs Humphry’s Manners for Women (1897).

The whole collection resembles a private library put together in a piecemeal rather than systematic fashion, reflecting the tastes and preoccupations of a collector of diverse interests.

The Wadsworth Manuscripts and the John Howard Nodal Papers also contain letters from Mrs Linnaeus Banks, 1882–95.

Finding aids

  • Uncatalogued, but recorded in accession register. See also John P. Tuck, 'Some Sources for the History of Popular Culture in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester,' Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 71, no.2 (1989), pp.176-7.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library