Garland, Bruce, compiler.

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Alan Bell, "Wise, Thomas James (1859-1937)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 18 Nov 2011] Thomas James Wise (1859-1937): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36983 Timothy Murray. "Thomas J. Wise and H. Buxton Forman: the Two Forgers." Forging a Collection: The Frank W. Tober Collection on Literary Forgery: An Exhibition. Last modified 21 December 2010 [accessed 18 November 2011]. ( J. F. R. Collins, ‘Forman, Henry Buxton (1842-1917)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 18 Nov 2011] Henry Buxton Forman (1842-1917): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33204

Until his retirement in 2006, Bruce Garland served the state of New Jersey in a variety of capacities, including Deputy Attorney General, Executive Director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, and Sr. Vice President for Racing of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. Garland began book collecting in 1971, with a particular interest in literary forgeries. Garland became acquainted with Frank Tober's collection of literary forgeries, which was donated to the University of Delaware Library in 1995, and Garland wished to supplement Tober's collection with additional material relating to Thomas J. Wise and Wiseian scholarship.

Garland received his bachelor's degree and juris doctorate from Wake Forest University and a master's degree from Rutgers University.

English bibliographer, book collector and forger Thomas J. Wise (1859-1937) remains best known for his bibliographic forgeries and piracies of works by nineteenth-century authors. Wise had earned a reputation as a highly respected bibliographer and book collector, with appointments in the Shelley Society, the Browning Society, the Bibliographical Society, and the Roxburghe Club, and his expertise on matters of authenticity had often been sought prior to his exposure as a forger.

Wise joined the firm Herman Rubeck & Co. in 1875 and worked his way to partner by the time of his retirement in 1920. Wise's first forays into the literary world and publishing were with his own writing; he produced a volume of poetry titled Verses (1882-1883) in several issues featuring a vellum binding and several different types of paper. Wise joined the Browning Society in 1881 and the Shelley Society in 1885, through which he produced a variety of publications, including facsimiles and reprints of the authors' works.

Wise met his accomplice Henry (known as Harry) Buxton Forman (1842-1917) through the Shelley Society in 1886; Forman also was by that time a well-respected bibliographer and editor, having produced bibliographies of Shelley and Keats and the controversial Letters of John Keats to Fanny Brawne (1876), but also had already falsified imprint dates. In 1887, the pair produced Percy Bysshe Shelley's Poems and Sonnets, with texts pirated from Edward Dowden's Life of Shelley (1886) under a false imprint and a fictitious editor. Wise and Forman then embarked on a fraudulent enterprise that produced creative and bibliographical forgeries of authors such as Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, George Meredith, William Blake, and John Ruskin-works that were included in the authors' bibliographies and publishing histories. The forgeries most often involved Wise and Forman taking a work by a well-known author that had appeared in a periodical or other collection and issuing it in a pamphlet with an imprint date that preceded any known separate printing. Perhaps the pair's most well known forgery is the "1847 Reading" edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese, which claimed the poems were privately printed as a pamphlet in Reading three years prior to their first appearance in the second edition of Poems (1850).

Forman and Wise ceased producing new forgeries around the turn of the century. Wise became more involved in selling and acquiring rare and scarce publications. He began to acquire imperfect volumes, particularly of pre-Restoration drama, and replaced damaged or missing portions with leaves stolen from copies held in the British Museum; his vandalism was not discovered until the 1950s. Wise "improved" volumes both for his own library as well as for those he sold to unsuspecting collectors, such as American John Henry Wrenn, whose collection resides at the University of Texas, Austin. Wise created an eleven-volume bibliography (1922-1936) of his own collection, called the Ashley Library. Each volume features an introduction by a well-known literary figure, including Edmund Gosse, A. Edward Newton, and Augustine Birrell. The British Museum (the British Library) purchased the Ashley Library shortly after Wise's death in 1937.

After Wise and Forman ceased producing new forgeries, the remaining copies were not destroyed and instead sold throughout the 1920s by Wise's protégé-turned-bookseller Herbert Gorfin. 1934 brought the watershed publication of John Carter and Graham Pollard's An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets which pointed to Wise (but did not name him) as the source of the fraudulent works. Carter and Pollard employed both bibliographic methods as well as forensic techniques to conclude that the pamphlets could not have been printed at the early dates they purported; Carter and Pollard analyzed the chemical compositions of the papers used, as well as the histories of the types employed in the pamphlets. Wise never offered a comprehensive rebuttal of the charges, and he died three years later in 1937.

From the guide to the Bruce Garland Thomas Wise collection, 1897-2007, undated, 1934-1975, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Bruce Garland Thomas Wise collection, 1897-2007, undated, 1934-1975 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Carter, John, 1905-1975 person
associatedWith Forman, H. Buxton (Harry Buxton), 1842-1917 person
associatedWith Todd, William B. person
associatedWith Wise, Thomas James, 1859-1937 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Literary forgeries and mystifications--20th century
Literary forgeries and mystifications--19th century


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Ark ID: w6h581w9

SNAC ID: 36214523