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  2. NEW OU Digital Archive Exhibition: The Sampson Low Collection

NEW OU Digital Archive Exhibition: The Sampson Low Collection

Sampson Low was a Victorian bookseller and publisher whose clients included many notable figures of the nineteenth century. The Sampson Low Collection of over 200 letters was deposited with The Open University in 1992 and in 2020 a new deposit agreement was created that allowed the OU Digital Archive to digitise the letters and put them online.

Ruth Cammies and Amanda Saladine led the Archive Team and other members of the Library to create the online exhibition, which required a great deal of work including transcribing over 200 letters in Victorian handwriting!

The collection contains:

  • Handwritten letters from literary giants Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell, artist John Everett Millais, poet John Clare, and notable social reformers and philanthropists including Florence Nightingale and Angela Burdett-Coutts.
  • Writings from scientists, explorers and engineers including Charles Lyell and Sherard Osborn, alongside military leaders and politicians such as the Duke of Wellington.

The letters give an insight, not only into the publishing world of the nineteenth century, but also their authors’ opinions of other clients, charitable organisations, and world events such as the American Civil War and abolitionist movement.

View the new Sampson Low Collection Exhibition or browse the Sampson Low Full Collection over at the OU Digital Archive. Read the full story on the creation of The Sampson Low Collection Exhibition.

This image shows the volumes open to display letters from Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale.