New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections presents an exhibition, “A Writer for the People: Charles Dickens in the Fales Collection,” on display in the Bobst Gallery, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, (at LaGuardia Place) through December 23, 2014.


A Writer for the People: Charles Dickens in the Fales Collection,  spans the full extent of the writer’s life, from his earliest sketches under the pseudonym ‘Boz’, to his triumphant tour of America at the height of his fame, and on through his continued popularity and relevance today.


“Drawing from the deep and rich holdings that are a cornerstone of the Fales Collection, the exhibition highlights aspects of Dickens that may be less known, such as his social conscience and theatrical ambitions,” said Carol A. Mandel, Dean of New York University Libraries.


Grouped into a series of five cases, the show covers the early works; major novels; Christmas books; periodical editorship, and social criticism. Dickens’s popularity, reflected in the exhibition, resulted in a flood of piracies, parodies and adaptations of his work that continues in the present day.


“Dickens was one of DeCoursey Fales’ favorite writers, and the Fales Collection holds copies of all the first editions as well as American imprints, memorabilia, correspondence and ephemera,” notes Marvin J. Taylor, director of Fales.


Some of the rare or unique Dickens items on show include artifacts from his American trip, a book of photographs from the 1915 silent film of ‘Barnaby Rudge’, and Dickens’ own handwritten recipe for punch.


About Fales Library and Special Collections:

The Fales Library, comprising nearly 355,000 volumes and over 10,000 linear feet of archive and manuscript materials, houses the Fales Collection of rare books and manuscripts in English and American literature, the Downtown Collection, the Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection and the general special collections of the NYU Libraries. The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. The Downtown Collection documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present and is extremely rich in archival holdings, including extensive film and video. The Marion Nestle Collection is a vast collection of books and manuscripts documenting food and foodways with particular emphasis on New York City. Other strengths of the collection include the Berol Collection of Lewis Carroll Materials, the Robert Frost Library, the Kaplan and Rosenthal Collections of Judaica and Hebraica and the manuscript collections of Elizabeth Robins and Erich Maria Remarque. The Fales Library preserves manuscripts and original editions of books that are rare or important not only because of their texts, but also because of their value as artifacts.

The NYU Division of Libraries comprises five libraries in Manhattan and one each in Brooklyn, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Its flagship, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on Washington Square, houses more than four million volumes and received 3 million visits last year. Around the world the Libraries offers access to more than 800,000 electronic journals, books, and databases; its website received 2.5 million visits last year. For more information about the NYU Libraries, please visit

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