As I write this post, I celebrate my one year anniversary at the New York Society Library.
Dating from 1720 to 1847 (bulk dates 1770-1820), the 1,153 titles in the Hammond Collection are a useful resource for anyone researching popular reading interests of that period. The collection consists almost entirely of fiction and plays, including many gothic novels, with scattered non-fiction items, chiefly poetry and biographies. Some of the novels are extremely scarce; in several cases, ours is the only known extant copy.
These books were part of the circulating library of the 19th-century merchant James Hammond, who lent them from his dry-goods shop in Newport, Rhode Island. They came to the New York Society Library in 1868. Many are in fragile condition and bound in deteriorating sheep boards, reflecting the heavy use they received from readers.
To browse the Hammond Collection, which is fully cataloged online, search by author for James Hammond's Circulating Library.
Contact a Special Collections Librarian for assistance.