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Copyright 1996 by Donald Kerr.

    Of bibliographers much has been said. Henry Miller, the American writer, said this of the individuals who constructed a bibliography of his entire works:
One must be possessed of a certain kind of madness, I feel, to compile a bibliography. . .This is the work not only of a bibliophile but of a sleuth, a proof-reader, a hunter and God knows what else. To collect all the material amassed in this huge tome represents the labor of a prisoner tunnelling his way out of jail over a period of months or years. One can only imagine what cunning and ingenuity it required to gather all this information.1
    Faced with factors such as the problem of distance from the established book markets and the prolific output of some authors, some bibliographers need additional measures of determination, persistence and a continued focus.

    Frank Reed, the older brother of A. H. Reed, was one such person. Frank Reed amassed a large collection of books and manuscripts by and about the nineteenth century French writer, Alexandre Dumas père, a man whose output was on the giant scale, something which André Maurois wryly observed, "no one has read all Dumas; that would be as impossible as for him to have written it."2 Reed also translated many of the romancer's works, and of particular interest today, was the first to attempt a full length bibliography in English of Dumas' entire works. That Reed did this from his hometown of Whangarei makes his achievement outstanding. Briefly, this is his story.

    In 1907 Frank Reed began compiling a list of books by English writers on French history, biography, and literature. The list was compiled from publishers' catalogues, second-hand booksellers' lists, advertisements and reviews, and each title, whenever possible, was given an author, a publisher, pagination, the date of first issue, and additional critical and annotated matter. The work. Reed stated, "was intended to serve me as a quick reference work to volumes available on any particular era."3 Reed liked such work. As he stated later, "I haven't sufficient imagination for original work, but I can do this translating & bibliographical tabulating - or at least I think so. Some of these days an idea might come to me, but I doubt it."4 Reed continued adding to the work for a period of ten years, and of it, in later years, he stated, "Even today I believe that effort would not lack value and help for any one interested in France, its history and literature."5 This work provided a useful base for his future bibliographical work.     When Reed began collecting Dumas, there was no readily available bibliographic listing of Dumas' works, and he, quite naturally, responded to the absence the only way he (and perhaps any other collector) could. "I started months ago to draw up a brief indication of the class of each work which appeared in English with the editions which had appeared either o/p [out of print] or current."6 The compilation was not easy, with a strong reliance on printed lists on book-jackets and publishers' advertisements inside the covers. One reference tool, however, was indispensible. This was the English Catalogue, covering the years 1835 to 1910. This work, purchased in 1914, signalled the "commencement" of Reed's bibliographical studies on Dumas. The importance of this purchase was not lost on R. S. Garnett, brother of Edward Garnett, and at that time the world authority on Dumas. "What a good idea of yours that was to buy the English Catalogue : it will be invaluable. Really when I think of your remoteness from Paris & London I think you have achieved a great deal to be justly proud."7
    The listing, completed 1 June 1920, formed the backbone of Reed's future bibliographical work. His efforts continued during 1922 and 1923, and a "useful skeleton" resulted. This "useful skeleton", compiled solely for Reed's own use, ended up a chronological listing of largely well-known English editions, very little American, and the first French editions, and was, according to him, "crude, elementary and fragmentary."8 The title, 'An Attempted Bibliographical Summary of the Works of Alexandre Dumas père', reflected this judgement. In the preface, Reed acknowledged the problems he faced with Dumas' prolific output and the complexities of establishing true authorship. As these bibliographical snares are encountered in his future work, the preface is worth quoting at length.
This is a very incomplete attempt at a Bibliography of that decidedly involved subject, the complete works of Alexandre Dumas. Do any persons exist who can say that they know all that he wrote? Did he himself know the full extent of his literary efforts, what was in good sooth his own, what was partly his, and what, while passing under his name, was in no sense his? Still it is surely desirable that some effort should be made to sort out the titles which he justly claim [sic], and, if may be, to endeavour to apportion his share in many others. And much has been done already in this way, indeed somewhat overdone in the matter of deprivation, since unquestionably he has been robbed of much which was assuredly his. But justice and impartiality are very difficult in the matter. There are books known in English translation that are not to be found in the original French, or perhaps only in the journals in which they appeared serially; there are books published in England under several titles, the translators of which were apparently unaware that they were identical, and there are books similarly issued in France and Belgium; there are romances and plays which he claimed no part in which yet show his handiwork; there are others which he did appropriate and which defy his craftsmanship to prove itself; there are books which he plainly stated were not by him or only a translation, yet which are issued among his collected works without comment; and there is work, yes, even books which one practically never hears of. The subject is indeed an intricate one and full of interest and surprises.9
    In 1925, Reed produced 'A translation of the bibliographical works relative to Alex. Dumas père. This volume contained much new bibliographic details on Dumas' works, and was, in essence, a companion to the first bibliographical "attempt" of 1923. By November 1925, he was planning a "second edition" of the bibliography. "I am, from time to time, turning things over in my mind, & have a fancy to have a few introductory sections, for example: Dumas' handwriting, the MSS, the Journals - if I succeed in picking up 1 or 2 more, his verse, his collaborators, collected editions - English and French, his legacy to literature, his publishers - English and French, his critics - in particular those hostile, his sources . . . ".10
    It was three years before this "second edition" was started. The interim period was taken up with translation work, the accruing and collation of incoming information, and, more importantly, the end of Reed's pharmacy career.
    Reed's early retirement in 1926 was significant. As he explained to his brother, it gave him a new-found freedom:
You ask me how I like being out of business. First rate. I should not like to return to the shackles again, though of course if needs must, I could. It is my first taste of freedom for forty years or more. To be able to get a reasonable no. of hours for the work I have always wanted to do; to be able to spend two or three hours daily in the garden, or go for a good walk is a luxury never before enjoy[ed], even when I looked after the garden in the old house. The real pleasure was spoiled by the continual liability and frequent actuality of interruptions calling me down to the shop. I hardly knew what a pair of slippers was. I never attempted to take my boots off until bedtime - it only meant putting them on again in a few minutes.11
    Naturally inclined towards method. Reed quickly established a routine that encompassed both his domestic responsibilities and his Dumas-related activities. As he stated to Aksel Nielsen, the Scandinavian bibliographer of Dumas, it was a routine that he maintained throughout his life.
See my day's programme never varied unless from some outside cause. Up at 7. With an interval for breakfast and the morning paper, three hours work about the place, clipping hedges, chopping firewood, keeping half an acre tidy etc, etc. Then into town to do the shopping (we have to fetch almost everything save milk or heavy groceries) and Mrs Reed cannot do that now. That brings me to 11.30 or practically so, then lunch which we usually have at that time; I may read aloud for half an hour, my wife being almost unable to read to herself now. In the afternoon, four hours typing, writing or searching for information. After tea, reading aloud again for two hours. Bed about 8 p.m. when I look at the evening paper, & perhaps read to myself for half an hour. Sunday: no work."12
    Reed's liking for routine, combined with his dogged persistence and discipline towards the long task, cannot be underestimated. It was an important factor in all of his achievements. Indeed, it was the way Frank Reed operated the best.
    In May 1928 Reed had "made a distinct start" on the 'second edition', "the 'Definitive Bibliography."13 It was entitled 'Lists and Catalogues' and was what Reed called his "serious attempt at a Bibliography of Dumas."14 It "consisted of tables of the various publishers and their editions of Dumas' works: French, Belgian, English and American so far as known. Much more was added: Lost works. Works never Reprinted, Works not in the Calmann-Lévy lists. Works only known in Manuscript, Bibliographical Snares, both French and English (in other words, mysterious titles seldom found and which do not indicate their usual designation), the order of sequels, spurious sequels, a chronology of the periods of the works, [and] plays drawn from Dumas' romances by others than himself..."15
    After receiving Charles Glinel's manuscript collection of Dumas's poems in early January 1929, the rest of the year was devoted to assimilating all the aforementioned material into a bibliography. Although Garnett remained the major supplier of information. Reed also extended his bibliographic queries to his bookselling friends such as the Knott's and J. A. Neuhuys. In a world without xerox machines and any reliable inter-loan systems, Dorothy Knott, Howard Knott's daughter, devised her own strategies of supply. "Regarding the Jeunesse de Pierrot enclosed is a copy. The outside wrapper I have cut to the exact size of my original & the arrangement on the front is also done to size. The piece of blue is the colour of the covers."16 The sale of her Dumas first editions to Reed the previous year also assisted him greatly in verifying many bibliographical details. Neuhuys not only offered his usual run of Dumas items to Reed at reduced prices, but also his time: "If I can be of any help to you for looking things up in the British Museum, I am at your disposal, as I have a ticket for the Reading Room..."17
    The first full draft was completed on 14 November 1929 and was a two volume work of 858 pages. The first volume was based on the 1928 "attempt" while the second was "arranged year by year in such order that in any one year one found the classes of work produced in the following order: verse, romance, drama, history, travel, children's stories, miscellaneous, [and] journals."18 "It was," according to Reed, "not perfect, ..but it was a robust skeleton with muscles and even some flesh attached."19
    The two volume bibliography was, as Reed emphasized to Neuhuys, a "labour of love ...originally carried out for my own satisfaction, with no thought of publication."20 This was a typical response. All of Reed's bibliographical works, like that of his translations, were completed initially for his own personal use. As essential reference works to his growing Dumas collection, the bibliographic works ended up in his library, where ease of access was paramount. "I do like my own, room, my own books at instant beck, & the right to make notes therein or cross references without risk of interference & so that I can quickly refer to the same again if desirable...".21
    In appreciation for services rendered, Reed sent Neuhuys a carbon copy of Vol. II of the bibliography. On 7 November 1931, the bookseller wrote thanking Reed for "the most interesting bibliography of AD père", and added, "Your work, which must have cost you an enormous amount of patient research, is quite out of the ordinary line, very full, penetrating and the analysis & descriptive matter of various items is done with so much love that one reads your bibliography almost like an interesting novel ; it really deserves to be printed in order to be accessible to the literary world...".22
    From that day on, the matter of printing the bibliography - the full details of cost, specimen pages, a prospectus, advertisements, and proofreading - was in the hands of the enthusiastic Neuhuys. The financing of the project, a total of £225 for a limited run of 300, was met by Reed. The returns on a limited demand bibliography would be low and Reed knew this. His concern was elsewhere: "What I wish is to make the work available for libraries in particular, and for the few really interested...". Practicalities did, however, intrude when he added, "... and also to get at least my own money back again."23
    In early 1933 the Bibliography was published with twelve review copies going out to standard reviewing publications such as the Times Literary Supplement, The Publishers' Circular, The Spectator, and the New York Publishers' Weekly. Notification went to most of the Australian and New Zealand papers, but no review copies, because, as Reed stated, "There is not here in the south a sufficient Dumas following to warrant it."24 Also, after the five free copies to ensure copyright, there was, to him "a fair hole in 300."
    The reviewers responded well to the Bibliography and marvelled at Reed's effort, especially in light of his distance from the recognized centres of information. This is not to say that there was no criticism. The reviewer of the Times Literary Supplement called Reed's work "at once more or less than a bibliography."25 Reed's attention to "non-bibliographical facts", those facts of a critical, biographical, or of a purely literary nature, gave it "more than at least the average bibliography" while the "minimum of details about the structure of the printed books" and it being "not concerned with any of the finer 'points'" placed it in the "less than" category. Thomas Warburton, perhaps Reed's severest critic, claimed that the Bibliography was "from a literary and historical point of view... important... but bibliographically... a failure."26 Acknowledging the lack of the "scientific" in his work. Reed justified his own approach. "I thank you for your kind remarks with respect to my "Bibliography of Dumas père," while at the same time fully admitting the justice of your strictures regarding the, may I say, more scientific bibliographical detail. This I know is practically not there. Some little I could have supplied, but it would have been very patchy, and I preferred accordingly not to attempt what I knew could not be done creditably."27
    Reed was conscious "of the many imperfections and of the incompleteness"28 in his Bibliography. In fact, he listed one hundred and forty-four errors and amendments in a letter to Neuhuys that unfortunately arrived too late for the changes to be made. There was little wonder that he felt "disgusted" with himself, even though he "had gone most carefully over it."29
    And of course, in addition to the printing corrections, there was also new material that Reed was uncovering. He had once stated to Garnett, "Always there is fresh data turning up",30 and true to form, "...no sooner was the ... volume... in the printer's hands than I was making notes - and frequent notes - of new discoveries."31
    Fortunately, Reed was never one to tackle things half-heartedly. After the publication of the Bibliography, Reed completed, aside from minor bibliographic articles, a further eight typescript volumes, each dealing with a particular bibliographic aspect on Dumas and his works. These were 'A Supplement to A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père' (vol. IV, 1929), 'Articles and Indexes', including a bibliographical outline of Alexandre Dumas père (vol. V, 1934), 'Notes on English and American Translations' (vol. VI, 1939), 'Bibliographical Lists and Articles', including early translations of Alexandre Dumas père' (vol. VII, 1939), 'A Bibliography of the Romances of Alexandre Dumas père' (vol.VIII, 1943), 'Books and Periodicals' (vol. IX, 1945), 'A Bibliography of the Plays of Alexandre Dumas père', including 'The Poems' (vol. X, 1946), and 'A Bibliography of Dumas' Miscellaneous Works', including works published by Dumas in Italian (vol. XI, 1949). Additional to these volumes. Reed also completed a large unnumbered volume entitled 'Storied Romances' (1944) and a full 'Index' (vol.XII, 1950) to his entire Dumas Collection. All of these ten works remain unpublished.
    Each of the above volumes are substantial in size, and represent a large number of man hours spent by Reed in both compilation and typing. In their entirety, as either up-dated versions of each other or slight variations, they represent the very real growth of Dumas information that Reed faced since the publication of his Bibliography.
    As time prohibits the examination of all of the above bibliographical works, I will make brief mention of Reed's most important bibliographical discovery. As he stated to his brother A. H. Reed, "I suppose it is quite justifiable to call The Three Musketeers one of the world's most popular novels today, as it was close on a century ago. Well, in all that interval no one seems to have discovered that - in the French - there are three distinct texts. To be quite definite 1) the serial issue in the newspaper, 2) a modified text made for the original French issue in volumes; 3) a text constructed from both the others for the first illustrated edition...".32
    On 19 November 1937, due to an enquiry by Ivan Slater, a fellow New Zealand 'Alexandrian', Reed began typing out the Belgian issue of Les Trois Mousquetaires, the text that was taken directly from the journal Le Siècle. He completed this on 24 December 1937. He then followed it the next year with the Lévy French edition. "The outcome," he stated "was a surprise. Throughout almost the first half of the book Dumas had done little more than rectify trifling slips. Then the improviser began to assert himself, and from then on the changes are frequent, amounting in all to well over two hundred."33 It was only in July 1938 when Reed received a copy of the Baudry first edition of Les Trois Mousquetaires could he fully verify the changes. He included the information of the three variants in his "Notes", and wrote it up in an article for the American journal The Colophon.
    Reed was the first to attempt anything like a definitive bibliography on the works of Alexandre Dumas. Throughout the thirty-five or so years that he was involved in his bibliographic quest, he encountered many problems related to the sheer bulk of Dumas' output and the complexities surrounding both serial issues and the reissues of works by French, Belgian, English and American publishers. The difficulties that each posed were compounded firstly by Reed's distance from major holding libraries. This factor made it difficult for him to verify editions that he did not have in his own collection as well as verify any possible bibliographic "points". The French language, a barrier to Reed up until 1919, and the shortage of good, accurate, and complete bibliographic works on Dumas also compounded his problems.
    Wilmarth Lewis, the American collector of everything related to Horace Walpole, painted an ideal situation for the collector. "Logically, I suppose, when you begin to collect an author you should arm yourself with a bibliography of his work, including all the books and articles about him, and run them down, one by one."34 For Reed, this was not possible. He started from scratch, dependent on the information found in his own English editions, and his own translated versions of the incomplete and often inaccurate French studies.35
    That he succeeded in producing his bibliographies, including the printed Bibliography, from New Zealand makes his achievement outstanding. One New Zealand reviewer praised Reed's efforts, in particular, overcoming this disadvantage. It is worth quoting with this aspect in mind.
The compilation of an authoritative bibliography of so towering a figure in the world of international letters would have entailed a lifetime of close application with the great libraries of the Old World and America at hand. Mr Reed has accomplished the extra miracle of achieving his memorable results in his watchtower at Whangarei, thousands of miles away from the centres where most of his information lay. Exact and exhaustive scholarship is difficult enough, in an isolated and remote country like New Zealand, in any branch of human culture. The obstacles in the path of research on such a theme are on the face of things insuperable. ..Now the fruit of so much toil, carried through with so much courage and delight, is given to the world."36
    Significantly, others too recognized his efforts. In 1927, Reed had been honoured by the French Government with the title of 'Officier d'Academie' for his services to French literature. In 1934, just after the publication of the Bibliography, the French Government once again decorated him with title of 'Palmes d'Officier de l'Instruction Publique' "in token of appreciation and thanks for [his] notable services rendered for the diffusion of the French language and culture...37
    Reed's work also had a direct bearing on later Dumasian bibliographers. The printed Bibliography and the typescript versions formed the basis of Slater's unpublished bibliography of 1949 and 1955, Aksel Nielsen's Scandinavian Bibliography (1964), and, more importantly, the two-volume Bibliography by Douglas Munro.
    In the foreword to his Bibliography, Reed claimed that "the best I can hope is that at least there is here some further slight advance."38 This was Reed at his modest best. The Bibliography was more than a 'slight advance'. It was a pioneer work that represented a quantum leap forward in bibliographical studies on Dumas.
    Major advances were also made in his other 'labours of love', those other 'bibliographies', although as mentioned, full recognition of his labours on these was somewhat hampered by the fact that they remained unpublished and thus largely unknown. Reed's entire bibliographic work was initiated by his own personal responses to the works and life of Alexandre Dumas. Sir Geoffrey Keynes, the bibliographer, once stated: "For me bibliography must be a fundamentally humane pursuit, shedding light not only on an author's printed texts, but also on his literary history, his life in general, his personality, and should have as its main objective the establishment of the basic and final text of all his writings."39
    This sentiment aptly describes Reed's stance towards his work on Dumas. And what was his reward? The British writer, Eric Linklater, met Reed in 1951, and asked the same question.
It is an impertinence, I suppose, to say of any man that he is happy; but when, at seventy-odd years of age, a lively and ardent mind is discovered behind the placid mien of a lifelong scholar - when an old man talks with the exuberance of youth about a subject to which he has been faithful for half a century - why, there is some reason for suspecting happiness. That the miscellaneous writings of Alexandre Dumas are of much importance in the atomic age (the 90s!) may be doubted, and perhaps his romantic plays now only serve to satisfy an academic curiosity. But why should a man's work be utilitarian? If utility were the only standard there would be no true excellence in work, but only catchpenny toil. To work for love is to set a proper example, and if happiness is the profit, then the example is worth our scrutiny.40
Happy no doubt he was. A "touch mad"? I leave that to the reader's judgement.

Donald Kerr

1 Henry Miller, in the preface of Henry Miller : A Bibliography of Primary Sources by Lawrence J. Shifreen and Roger Jackson (Shifreen & Jackson, 1993).
2 André Maurois, Three Musketeers (London: Cape, 1957), p. 182.
3 Reed, unpublished autobiography "The Trail of an Alexandrian", Vol. 1, p. 98., hereafter "Trail".
4 F. W. Reed to A. H. Reed, 16 December 1926. NZ MSS 529, APL.
5 Reed, "Trail", Vol. 1, p. 98.
6 F. W. Reed to R. S. Garnett, Vol.I, January 1918. RDC.
7 R. S. Garnett to F. W. Reed, Vol. 1, 22 August 1916, RDC:.
8 Reed, "Trail", Vol. 2, p. 14.
9 Reed, "'An Attempted Bibliographical Summary of the Works of Alexandre Dumas père'", Preface, 28 April 1923.
10 F. W. Reed to R. S. Garnett, Vol. III, 2 November 1925, RDC.
11 F. W. Reed to A. H. Reed, 10 August 1927, NZ MSS 529, APL.
12 F. W. Reed to A. Nielsen, l6 April 1953. RDC,
13 F. W. Reed to R. S. Garnett, Vol. IV, 18 May 1928. RDC.
14 Reed, "Trail", Vol. I, p. 241.
15 Reed, "Trail", Vol. 2, pp. 14-15.
16 Dorothy Knott to F. W. Reed, 13 may 1929, RDC.
17 J. A. Neuhuys to F. W. Reed, 10 november 1928. RDC.
18 Reed, "Year In, Year Out", p. 15.
19 Reed, "Trail", Vol. 2, p. 15.
20 F. W. Reed to J. A. Neuhuys, 25 October 1932. RDC.
21 Reed, "Trail", Vol. 2, p. 98.
22 J. A. Neuhuys to F. W. Reed, 7 November 1931. RDC.
23 F. W. Reed to J. A. Neuhuys, 27 May 1932. Reed stated as such to John Barr, Auckland City Librarian: "I am less interested in .s.d than in the opportunity of getting in touch with like-minded cranks." 7 March 1934.
24 F. W. Reed to John Barr, Auckland City Librarian, 24 May 1933.
25 Times Literary Supplement, 17 August 1933, p. 552.
26 Thomas Warburton to J. A. Neuhuys, 14 July 1933. A typed copy of this letter is in the Reed-Dumas Collection.
27 F. W. Reed to Warburton, 4 November 1933.
28 Reed, A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas Pere (Middlesex: J. A. Neuhuys, 1933), Foreword, p. xi.
29 F. W. Reed to J. A. Neuhuys, 10 November 1932.
30 F. W. Reed to R. S. Garnett, Vol. V, 28 June 1930.
31 Reed, "Year In, Year Out", p. 15.
32 F. W. Reed to A. H. Reed, 12 December 1937, NZ MSS 529, APL.
33 Reed, "Trail", Vol. 2, p. 36
34 Wilmarth Lewis, Collector's Progress, p. 39.
35. "Book collectors - a large and growing band - have for long been handicapped by the lack of precise information concerning the editions, issues and variants, of their favoured authors." Rupert Hart-Davis, cited in David McKitterick's "Author Bibliographies" in The Books Collector, Vol.32, no.4 (Winter 1983), p. 391.
36 'Kotare' [Rev. J Shaw], 'Great Achievement:The Reed Collection', a review in the supplement of the New Zealand Herald, 23 September 1933, p. 1.
37 Cited in Reed's "Trail", Vol. 2, p. 104.
38 Reed, Bibliography, p. x1.
39 Cited in McKitterick's "Author Bibliographies", The book Collector, Vol. 32, no. 4 (Winter 1983), p. 391.
40 Eric Linklater, A Year of Space, p. 192.
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