Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens!


Born in London in 1812, Charles Dickens grew up in poverty, worked for a time in a blacking factory, and became a newspaper reporter and a writer. He married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, had ten children, and wrote fifteen novels, including David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and Bleak House, some of the greatest work in English literature. Dickens died in 1870 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

To celebrate this literary milestone, the library staff is exhibiting some of its treasures from Special Collections and having a birthday party on February 7. In the exhibit, located on 2nd floor near the front door, are a number of first editions of Dickens’s works. Many of these works were originally published in “parts,” as a serial publication, with each part containing several illustrations, and would have been bound later; several of our copies reflect this.  In addition to his famous novels such as Bleak House and Oliver Twist, Dickens also produced five Christmas books, beginning with A Christmas Carol in 1843.  Our copies of these books are in the original cloth bindings.

There’s a bit of fun, too, in the display, including food and drink quotations (read the quotations and guess which novels they are from), postcards, a Dickens finger puppet, and a Dickens action figure.

Join the celebration on Tuesday, February 7, at 4:00, in the display area, for a birthday cake Dickens would be proud of.  Hope to see you there.

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