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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Keats 10

Louis Arthur Holman collection of Keats iconography and related papers


Collection of images concerning the life of the English poet, John Keats, as well as papers relating to the collection. Collection assembled by American Louis Arthur Holman. Holman was a Keats expert, an artist, writer on art, and a staff member at Goodspeed's Book Shop who established a print department, but later became the owner of Holman's Print Shop.


  • Creation: 1752-1963

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

A portion of this collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to the finding aid describing this collection are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


18 linear feet (39 boxes)

All items in this collection have some relationship to the life of John Keats or the Keats Circle. This collection visually documents the entire life of the poet John Keats.

The first series is: I. Louis Arthur Holman Collection of Keats Iconography. Holman mounted the bulk of his iconography collection onto album-like sheets; he either pasted or attached items with mounting corners onto scrapbook-type loose pages. Most sheets include autograph manuscript comments by Holman (serving as labels), which have been transcribed into this finding aid and placed within "quotation marks." Also included on these album-like sheets is text from Keats' letters that Holman cut from printed sources, along with clippings of articles on Keats from newspapers, books, and journals. The images collected by Holman are in the form of drawings, engravings, etchings, maps, photographs, photomechanical prints, picture postcards, souvenir albums, a few negatives and photostats, etc...; some prints are colored. Also included are images collected by Holman that were not mounted on album-like pages. These items have been grouped in the repository into the sub-series: "Images found loose." Some, but not all, of this sub-series duplicates the primary images from the scrapbook sheets. A few items were added to the collection after Holman's death, both by Holman's son and by Curators of the Houghton Library's Keats Room.

The second series, "II. Papers related to the Holman Collection of Keats Iconography", includes: correspondence with Louis Arthur Holman concerning his research on Keats and his pursuit of images from dealers and libraries, as well as transcripts of Keats era letters from other collections, and some third-party correspondence; notes and lists that Holman assembled during his collecting; miscellaneous autograph manuscript writings by Holman and others; and Keats-related printed materials including clippings and pamphlets. Some materials concern Sir Sidney Colvin's John Keats: his life and poetry..., 1917, Fred Holland Day, Maurice Buxton Forman, Arthur A. Houghton, Amy Lowell, and many others.

Biographical / Historical

Holman was an illustrator, art editor, and print dealer in Boston, Massachusetts. Holman was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, on July 13, 1866 and was the son of James Ludlow Holman and Ada Longmaid Holman. Holman married Edna Lake Bourne Holman in 1898 and they had one son, Richard Bourne Holman. He began work in the bookselling and publishing business in Canada. In 1889 he moved to Boston where he attended Cowles Art School and studied with the painter Charles Woodbury. Holman travelled extensively and contributed illustrations and articles to various popular magazines and worked as art editor of New England Magazine and the Youth's Companion. In 1915, he established a print department at Goodspeed's Book Shop (Boston), leaving in 1930 to open his own firm, Holman's Print Shop, where he was joined by his son, Richard Bourne Holman, who ran the firm after Louis' death (December 14,1939) until 1977.

Holman became an expert on the "life of Keats and the persons, places, things connected with Keats." He began his studies of the poet John Keats around 1908. He described his collection as a "poor man's for no item in it has cost more than five dollars." He went on to describe his collection as "about 500 pieces - contemporaneous Portraits of Keats, his family, teachers, friends, critics, enemies, Places having relation to Keats, facsimile[s] of Mss, pictures & sculpture which influenced his poetry, first printings of his poems, cut from periodicals of his day, etc..."


  1. Who was who in America, Volume I, 1897-1942. Chicago: A. N. Marquis Co., 1943.
  2. Hyder Edward Rollins. "Louis Arthur Holman and Keats." Harvard Library Bulletin, Volume IV, Number 3, Autumn 1950.
  3. Hyder Edward Rollins. Keats and the Bostonians. Amy Lowell, Louise Imogen Guiney, Louis Arthur Holman, Fred Holland Day. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1951.
  4. Finding aid for the Louis A. Holman Papers and Holman's Print Shop Records. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560.


The first half of the Holman papers (I. Louis Arthur Holman Collection of Keats Iconography) was organized and given series titles by Holman. The organization and titles have been retained when possible.

Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Louis Arthur Holman Collection of Keats Iconography
  2. ___A. Artistic and medical
  3. ___B. Burford Bridge, Leatherhead, Bedhampton and Stanstead, Winchester and St. Cross, Chichester
  4. ___C. Dover, Hastings, Margate, Canterbury, Oxford, Stratford
  5. ___D. Dramatic and sports
  6. ___E. First printings — Poems (facsimiles), Marginal notes (facsimiles)
  7. ___F. Hampstead, Kentish Town, Edmonton, Walthamstow, Enfield
  8. ___G. Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Devonshire, Southampton
  9. ___H. Letters in facsimile
  10. ___I. London
  11. ___J. Miscellaneous and odds and ends
  12. ___K. Northern walking tour
  13. ___L. Portraits of John Keats and his family
  14. ______1. Images of John Keats
  15. ______2. Images of the Keats family
  16. ___M. Portraits, chiefly literary
  17. ___N. Voyage to Italy
  18. ___O. Images (loose)
  19. ______1. Portrait images (loose)
  20. ______2. Other images (loose)
  21. II. Papers related to the Holman Collection of Keats Iconography
  22. ___A. Correspondence by name
  23. ___B. Correspondence by topic
  24. ___C. Compositions, notes, and notebooks concerning John Keats
  25. ___D. Clippings, notes, and subject files concerning John Keats
  26. ___E. Printed materials concerning John Keats

Physical Location

Harvard Depository, MS, b

Immediate Source of Acquisition

99M-8. Gift of Arthur A. Houghton, Jr.; received: 1940 June 26. [18 boxes of the Louis Arthur Holman collection of Keats Iconography and loose papers taken from the Keats curator's office relating to the Holman collection].

Recataloged from: bMS Am 800.48. Gift of Arthur A. Houghton, Jr.; received: 1940 June 26. [Formerly titled: Louis Arthur Holman notebooks and papers concerning John Keats].

49M-268 and 67M-162. Gift of Richard Bourne Holman, Esq., 34 Court Street, Boston 8, Massachusetts; received: 1950 June 30. [4 boxes of "Keatsiana removed from the later personal correspondence of Louis A. Holman"].

Related Materials

  1. Houghton Library also holds some separately accessioned reproductions of Keats portraits, not part of the Holman collection.
  2. Other Holman papers are also held by: Louis A. Holman papers and Holman's Print Shop records, ca. 1870-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.


Some of the letters in this collection have been summarized in: Hyder E. Rollins, "Louis Arthur Holman and Keats," Harvard Library Bulletin, 4 (Autumn 1950), 374-391.

General note

A portion of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

These papers were not fully processed until 2009. At this time, a number of formerly separate Holman collections were combined to form one, unified collection.

Holman, Louis A. (Louis Arthur), 1866-1939. Louis Arthur Holman collection of Keats iconography and related papers, 1752-1963: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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