Riley, William Harrison, 1835-1907.

The Library has recently received from Mr. Walter Beinecke, Jr., a collection of manuscripts and printed material relating to a minor figure of considerable tangential importance for the study of socialism in England and the United States in the latter half of the last century. William Harrison Riley seems to have received little attention but with this collection there is enough material to compile a considerable footnote to intellectual history.

A man who received and kept letters from people like Karl Marx, John Ruskin, Walt Whitman, William Rossetti, Walter Besant, Rudyard Kipling, Justin McCarthy, and Edward Everett Hale must have interest to more than the Yale Library – although this list may sound like a list of our special collections. Mr. Riley was editor of a large number of periodicals, many of which are present in the gift. In 1871 he was editing the Leeds Critic. He proceeded to London where he concerned himself with the Herald and Helpmate, the Republican, the International Herald under the auspices of the British Federal Council, becoming in 1873 the Republican Herald. This London period was followed by a half year spent editing the Sheffield Socialist . Two pamphlets were issued in London, An Appeal to Reason to Reform Itself (1872) and Yankee Letters to British Workmen (1871 [?]) in eleven parts. These are the comments of a Boston machinist traveling in England, written in the homespun tradition of Jack Downing continued by Will Rogers.


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2016-08-13 10:08:14 pm

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