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The Collation

Bell's nightmare continued

This post is a continuation of “John Bell, bibliographic nightmare.” I began to write these posts while entrenched in the difficult task of cataloging the library’s myriad copies of Bell’s 18th-century Shakespeare publications as a means of sharing a look into the unique, maddening world of Mr. Bell. In the last post, Sarah and I shared some background information about John Bell and why I considered him a bibliographic nightmare. In this post, I’ll give you one specific example of the mysteries and rewards of cataloging his editions of Shakespeare.

  1. Note that while I have taken a stab at describing the issue with Bell’s extremely confusing set of publications, I do not presume to think I have figured it all out!


I have inherited some Bell’s Shakespeare and in several volumes the actors names are present, though not in others. How would I go about understanding what I actually possess? The engravings are so beautiful. Some volumes include other ‘New Books published by John Bell. Very confusing, and fascinating.

Charlotte Edgeworth Kuehn — August 31, 2019