Original Collection

The Original Collection consists of many books donated by influential people who supported the International effort to establish Crosby Hall.
Crosby Hall Library


Living in Chelsea in the 1920s, the American born Alys Russell (1867-1951), first wife of Bertrand Russell, gave books, some of which carry the bookplate of her brother, Logan Pearsall Smith.

Another American who supported the venture and its library was Virginia Gildersleeve, Dean of Barnard College, New York. She wrote of her friend Caroline Spurgeon, the Chaucerian scholar of Bedford College, London.


'Everything Caroline Spurgeon did, she did with tremendous gusto. With her, scholarly research became as exciting as the exploration of the Greenland icecap or a search for the supposedly extinct Moa bird in the outermost wilds of Australia'. Many a Good Crusade, p.230

Theodora Bosanquet led the committee which established the library in 1928. She gave to Alys Russell a copy of her work, Harriet Martineau: An Essay in Comprehension (1954)

She wrote: 'Harriet Martineau was a remarkably well-educated woman and accomplished woman ...Much of her youthful energy was inevitably spent in the fine needlework which was the common occupation of gentlewomen. She could make her own clothes. She could cover dancing shoes with silk and plait straw bonnets. But Mrs M... held unusual views as to the blessing of education for girls, and looked about for the means of giving her daughters the advantages she had missed herself'.

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