For Collectors

by David Alan Richards

David Richards, who is based in New York, is the North American representative of the Kipling Society. His definitive bibliography of Rudyard Kipling was published in February 2010. It builds on the work of Martindell, Livingston, and Stewart, while correcting, updating and expanding their entries with the results of his research in American (and ultimately, British) institutional collections.

He gave an account of his work, and of the fascination of 'Collecting Kipling' in an address to the Society in May 1999.

Rudyard Kipling has been "bibliographed", if not to death, then certainly as or more frequently than any other writer in English. It has also been observed that his may be the most complicated bibliography of any such author, given the number of pirated, privately printed, and limited editions of his work. The first attempt was a checklist compiled by English publisher John Lane in Richard LaGallienne's Rudyard Kipling, A Criticism (London, 1900), and this was followed by true bibliographies by Captain E.W. Martindell in 1922 (2nd ed 1923), by Harvard University librarian Flora V.Livingston in 1927 (with a second volume supplement in 1938), and by Canadian collector James McGregor Stewart in 1959. In the 40 years since, Kipling scholarship has surged, as shown by the pages of our Journal, and Kipling's letters and new editions of his early poetry (by Andrew Rutherford) and prose (by Thomas Pinney) are available, together with (at Sussex) Kipling's own annotated copy of Livingston's first volume, wherein he denied authorship of certain items.

Consequently, a new bibliography of the first English-language winner of the Nobel Prize is justified, and will contain new and/or corrected information about the books listed by Martindell, Livingston and Stewart, and will indeed list several first or separate editions not previously known.

David Richards writes: ‘I am also attempting to do a census of all presentation copies of the earlier works (Schoolboy Lyrics, Echoes, Quartette) where that information is bibliographically important (again, adding to what Stewart did in his 1959 bibliography). I would be very pleased to hear from any collector who has such Kipling- or Kipling family-inscribed books, or indeed any Kipling items which are different from the descriptions in the standard bibliographies, or (even better) that don't appear in those bibliographies because they were unknown to their writers. 'For example, does there anywhere exist a copy of the postal card which RK sent out for people to buy the first envelope-like edition of Departmental Ditties ? Similarly, Livingston never saw the card Kipling supposedly sent out for the Tribune Fresh Air Fund (Livingston 114).

'So far I have only US library listings. Our greatest Kipling collections are at Harvard, where Livingston worked, the University of Texas, and the Library of Congress, with smaller pockets of treasures at UC Berkeley, Yale and Princeton.'

'Since the Kipling Society itself has never especially featured the queries of collectors, I would very much like to learn the names and e-mail or fax numbers of Kipling collectors in the UK - or indeed, elsewhere in the world. 'I would also be happy to try to answer any bibliographical questions of individual members of the Kipling Mailbase list.'

The Cushing Collection

'I have recently been in touch with Steven Smith at the Cushing memorial Library at Texas A&M University, who hold the A W Yeats Kipling Collection. Dr Yeats edited the Stewart bibliography after Stewart’s death, and did a good deal of work on the Kipling collections of Harvard and Texas. The Cushing Library’s web-site includes a great many rare and interesting images from their collection and is well worth a visit.'

David Richards' email address is He will be glad to hear from you, and happy to help if you have items that vary from the descriptions in the current bibliographies, or that you cannot otherwise identify.

David is writing regularly for this section of the Kipling Society website; his latest contribution is on "Kipling's Auld Lang Syne", a special song written by RK to be sung by Florence Fraser, the "Free State Nightingale", in April 1900 during the Boer War, at a benefit concert in Bloemfontein.

Previous subjects have included "War's Brighter Side", 'Why Snow Falls at Vernet', The Magazine editions of 'The Light that Failed', Kipling's first novel, a little known pamphlet on Kipling’s advice to the Canadian frontier town of Medicine Hat, and the poem "Old Johnny Grundy".