Collection

This collection constitutes the remains of the very first bulk gift of books made to the University of London. It consists of 182 out of an original 185 physical volumes, primarily eighteenth-century German devotional works in octavo format. Most are published in Germany, especially in the 1760s and 1770s. Some works are in French. Alongside sermons, meditations, a catechism and so forth there is some eighteenth-century German literature, with a little history and philosophy and a light smattering of other subjects. Louis Bourdaloue, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Jerusalem, and Georg Joachim Zollikofer are particularly well represented. Several volumes contain distinctively late-eighteenth-century German endpapers. Some editions are very rare.

 

Collector

The books are likely to have been amassed by Nathaniel Vye the elder (1759-1835), a banker and seller of brigs in Ilfracombe. Many formerly belonged to Arnold Mello (1730-1809) of Clapham, a merchant from Hamburg who, having settled in London, was a director of London Assurance and a member of the Hamburg church in London. His library was sold by Leigh & Sotheby in 1810.

 

Acquisition

Donated by Nathaniel Vye (1791-1840), son of the banker Nathaniel Vye and a medical practitioner in Ilfracombe, in 1838.

 

Access

Catalogued online, 2015. To view the entire collection, do a mixed classmark search on ‘[Vye]’. Within this, books are arranged in roughly alphabetical order by author. An author search on ‘Vye, Nathaniel’ as former owner will call up the books with Vye’s name pencilled in them.

 

Related publications:

A Catalogue of the Entire and Very Valuable Library of the Late Arnold Mello of Clapham … (London: Leigh & Sotheby, 1810)

K.E. Attar, ‘The Earliest Books at the University of London (1838): 185 Volumes Presented by Nathaniel Vye, Esq.’, Library & Information History, 32 (2016), 100-111

K.E. Attar, ‘The Earliest Books at the University of London: A Supplement’, Library & Information History, 35 (forthcoming, 2019)