Le site web Alexandre Dumas père The Alexandre Dumas père Web Site
The Alexandre Dumas père Web Site
Dumas|Oeuvres|Gens|Galerie|Liens Dumas|Works|People|Gallery|Links
The following paper was published in the Spring, 1996 edition of The Book Collector,
P.O. Box 12426, Londow, W11 3GW, 0171-792 3492
It is reissued here with permission.
Donald Kerr
FRANK W. REED AND HIS DUMAS COLLECTION1
PORTRAIT OF A BIBLIOPHILE XXXLII

Frank W. Reed 1874-1953
Frank W. Reed 1874-1953
In late 1886, a few months before leaving for New Zealand, Frank Wild Reed, a young lad of twelve, gave some money to a school friend and asked if he could buy him an historical novel he had not read. His friend returned with a 9d. Routledge Railway issue of The Queen's Necklace. The author, Alexandre Dumas père, was, as Reed stated, 'a new name to me'.2 The work - a sequel to the Mémoires d'un Médecin and the second title in the 'Marie-Antoinette Series' - had a great effect on him.
This book was an absolute revelation to me - an awakening which I fondly compare with Alexandre Dumas' own first acquaintance with Shakespeare upon the stage. Here at last was history in fiction, written as it should be presented, swift, full of action, with brilliant, clever, natural and sweeping dialogue, and also, though I could probably not then have divined it, an impassioned delineation of human nature.3
     Reed was so captivated by Dumas' ability to present 'history in fiction' that he asked his friend to purchase another. The next purchase was Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo.
     When Reed left for New Zealand in early 1887, he was allowed to pack twelve books into his bag. Amongst those books given as gifts and obtained as school prizes, the most treasured was his copy of The Queen's Necklace. It was this book that was to form the cornerstone of Reed's Dumas Collection, a collection that is now housed in the George Grey Rare Books Room of the Auckland City Library, New Zealand.
     Reed settled in Whangarei and for well over sixty years, he collected the works of Alexandre Dumas père. Through his contacts with a small number of overseas booksellers, purchases made from dealer catalogues, and the generosity of a few friends, he was able to amass one of the largest collections of books and manuscripts by and about Dumas outside of Paris. His life-long efforts in forming this musée of Dumas are made more outstanding by the fact that he never left Whangarei, a small provincial Northland town in New Zealand and a place far removed from the established book centres of London and Paris.
     Yet collecting the works of Dumas was not the only activity he indulged in. There was also his extensive translation and bibliographic work, activities that gave an added dimension to his book collecting. As will be mentioned, it was in the area of bibliography that Reed was able to make his most significant, if not his most tangible, contribution to Dumas studies.
     Before touching on Reed's translation and bibliographical activities, it is necessary to give some brief biographical details, information that places Reed in his own time and within the context of the long tradition of book collecting. Such details will go some way towards explaining how he amassed his collection as well as go some way towards an answer to the question 'Why Alexandre Dumas?'
     Frank Wild Reed was born 1 August 1874 in Hayes, England. He was the oldest son of William James Reed and Elizabeth Wild, and brother to Marian, Alexander, and Alfred Hamish (AHR).4 Reed's exposure to the printed word came at a very early age. In his unpublished autobiography entitled 'The Trail of an Alexandrian'5 he states 'The first book I ever asked for was a History of England, naturally a child's history, for I was only a few years old but I devoured it eagerly.'6 Later he revelled in a book on King Arthur, and the works of Sir Walter Scott, G. P. R. James, Bulwer-Lytton, and Harrison Ainsworth. It was the above-mentioned Arthurian work that triggered an anecdote from Reed on an early reading experience:
One day in the summer, on the lawn at our house, I read aloud some part of King Arthur to my grandmother Wild, who was visiting us. It was a very childish affair, but after a while she suggested that it was not a particularly good book - which is perhaps why it was so attractive; good books do not always appeal to children. Then she went on to say if I would give it up, she would give me a better one instead. I did not wish to do this, very greatly in fact did I wish to retain my own. Still, at the age of eight grandmothers exert a strong influence. Instead of it I was given A Life of David Livingstone, which I never read. The effect however was much more than that; it completely put me off all interest in missionary reading and banished any interest I might have felt for Africa.7
There were also some frustrations:
On one occasion I was deeply absorbed in a Scotch tale of some baronial period, and had just reached the place where the hero had climbed up the ivy on a castle wall to rescue his lady love, the baron's daughter. As he was preparing to escape with her, into the room burst her brother. Swords were drawn, and a fine combat ensued, the lady shrinking into a corner. The brother was getting the worst of it, and was driven back to the wall; but there he pressed some hidden spring, and a large section of the flooring gave way, carrying with it the hero into the oubliettes below. Then followed the ominous words: 'To be continued in our next.' ... Swiftly I turned over the small heap of magazines; nowhere could I find the next. Downstairs I went, three at a time and burst into the kitchen. 'Grandmama, where is the next number to this?' - 'Let me see it. Ah! yes, your uncle thought the stories less interesting than before, and he stopped taking the magazine.8
     Such a scenario, serialized, and with all the elements of action, adventure and romance, could tantalize a young reader. It did so with Reed, because sixty years on, he still had in his mind 'the question of what happened next and how the escape - which would certainly be accomplished - was managed.'9
     The Reed's were readers, and young Frank was extremely fortunate in that his father owned a small library of 300 or so works by Victorian writers such as Scott, Dickens, Lytton, Ainsworth, Fenimore Cooper, Marryat, and James Grant. The library also contained illustrated books such as Gustave Dore's illustrated edition of Cervantes' Don Quixote, Cassell's Illustrated History of England, and copies of The Graphic.
     Reed had the run of his father's library and by the time he was twelve, he had, in his own words, 'galloped through most of those he possessed which gave me the romance narratives for which I craved.10 At this time Reed's reading preferences were forming: 'historical fiction took precedence over all others with me. Indian stories, sea stories, even naval stories were quite secondary, even though I read a number of Marryats and Jules Verne.11 And, as related above, it was here that Dumas entered Reed's life.
     In December 1887 Reed's father purchased twenty-nine acres of undeveloped land at Parahaki Block, three miles east of Whangarei. After leaving school at the end of standard six, Reed worked on the gum-fields with his father. Life was tough and there was little pocket money. If there was any spare time, Reed spent it digging for 'nuts', those pieces of gum discarded by former diggers. These he exchanged for money which enabled him to buy two or three new books per year. It was, for him, a case of 'not what I would, but what I could.'12
     For Reed, a voracious reader according to his brother, and one who, at the age of seven, had been restricted to twenty-five pages per day by his father, there was a real shortage of reading materials at Parahaki. Nearby Whangarei, with its library, offered some solution. The library, a 'dimly lit building and the shabby bindings of the majority of its volumes,'13 offered Reed access to the works of Manville Fenn, Theodore Hook, Charles Reade, Macaulay, Sir Walter Scott, Dickens, Ainsworth, and others. A yearly library subscription was taken out and shared between his brothers and sister. This system did, however, have its limitations. 'We all read the books, but the choice would remain with the present subscriber, and tastes, as might be expected, did not always coincide.'14 It was, however, in this way that Reed read Dumas' Ascanio, Isabel of Bavaria and The Black Tulip.
     In the late 1880s, information on Dumas and his works written in the English language was scarce. Not only did Reed find it difficult to establish what order the stories should be read - as in the case of the Valois Trilogy - but also what exactly was Dumas' entire output. In regards the latter, Reed was left to glean as much as he could from the publishers' advertisement pages in the Dumas books he already owned.
     Despite the lack of information and the shortage of extra money, Reed persisted, and managed to purchase a number of the more common Dumas titles through the local bookseller. He also, on his own initiative, sent a desiderata list to a few of the Auckland-based booksellers. The forwarding of lists, eventually extending to overseas book dealers, and the purchase of items from dealer catalogues, were to become the prime methods by which Reed acquired his books. Living in isolated Whangarei, these methods were certainly the most convenient.
     On 17 December 1888, at the age of fourteen, Reed began his apprenticeship with a local pharmacist named Bentley. The hours were long and a routine was quickly established: an 8 o'clock start and a 8.00 p.m. finish, Monday to Friday. On Saturday, closing time was extended to 10.00 p.m. Holidays, numbering six days, were scattered throughout the year. As Reed lived at Parahaki, there was also the three and a half mile walk to and from work each day.
     As can be imaged, his time was quickly taken up. His pharmacy duties and his study for the pharmacy examinations took up much of his time and it was only on the weekends, after 10 o'clock closing, that he could look forward to 'delightful Sunday afternoons for light reading.'15
     During his apprenticeship years, Reed juggled the demands of his chosen profession with that of his love for books. In between teaching himself the Latin and chemistry necessary for his profession (there were no Open Universities or correspondence courses available then) he continued to buy and read works by his favourite authors. It was at this time that he also developed a preference to have his own reference books at hand. This latter aspect not only highlighted his awareness of the remoteness of Whangarei and its distance from a library that held such specialized volumes, but also catered to his lack of gregariousness, something that he openly acknowledged: 'I am not the most sociable of individuals, especially with work to do at my books.'16
     By 1895, Reed was living permanently in Whangarei and was some twenty minutes walk from the pharmacy.17 At this time he had sixteen English translation editions of Dumas,18 and although a fervent admirer of Dumas', he also owned and admired the writings of Charles Reade, Sir Walter Scott, and Harrison Ainsworth. It is fair to say that at this point, Reed's 'library' was just a gathering of books, amassed by one who enjoyed reading. It lacked direction and focus. This would come later with his specialization on Dumas.
     Nineteen hundred and two was the centenary of Alexandre Dumas' birth. To celebrate the event, the firm of Methuen announced a plan to publish a complete edition of Dumas' romances, each retailing at sixpence. They were not the only firm to capitalize on the centenary of this French writer whom George Bernard Shaw called 'a summit of art.'19 The publishing firms of Constable and Dent encouraged biographers to write on Dumas, and both Arthur Davidson's Alexandre Dumas, his Life and Works and Harry Spurr's The Life and Writings of Alexandre Dumas appeared in 1902.
     When Reed received the Methuen prospectus, it gave him 'one of the big shocks of... my literary life'.20 It listed many Dumas titles unknown to him. These were, needless to say, all promptly ordered. As each issue arrived, Reed dutifully recorded in notebooks the bibliographical and biographical details from each introduction. One publication was of particular importance. This was the 1903 Methuen issue of The Three Musketeers which contained an introduction by Andrew Lang, himself an admirer of Dumas. Until he obtained the Spurr and Davidson biographies in 1905, it was Lang's introduction that formed much of what Reed knew of Dumas.
     Reed's reading of Dumas also stimulated other collecting interests. These included the Memoir, especially of the French school, other nineteenth-century French writers such as Balzac, Gautier, Hugo, Nodier, Flaubert and Alfred de Musset, and the tracing back of story plots. Although he still searched for early English translations of Dumas' works, these items were scarce. The above areas of interest not only filled the gap created by this scarcity but also bought benefits: each new title provided Reed with additional information, French-related or otherwise, that complemented his Dumas collection, and more importantly, satisfied his own (and in Charles Lamb's own words on collectors) 'tickling sense of property.'21 Three of his first purchases in the field of memoirs were an abridged edition of Bayle Saint John's D'Artagnan, bought in 1907, volume one of Ralph Nevill's Memoirs de D'Artagnan, bought in 1908 for 3/6d., and the Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, bought in 1910 for 15s. Reed bought the last mentioned purchase from the London bookselling firm of H. K. Beazley, run by Howard Knott at Churton St., Belgravia. Reed had noticed the firm advertising 'translations of French Memoirs, Literature and History, also of medieval stories, legends and romance' in an issue of the Publishers' Circular and 'found that the class of books for which he was enquiring much to my own taste.'23
     Reed was doubly lucky in his contact with Knott. Not only was the bookseller, one who claimed 'to be one of the best searchers in London'.24 prepared to go out of his way to satisfy Reed's book requests but he was also a fan of Alexandre Dumas. 'I have written you before I love Dumas but only in the Dent edition. He is the only author I have read several times over at intervals and can still enjoy.'25 In addition to Howard Knott being 'dotty' over Dumas, there was his daughter Dorothy, who, according to her father was 'worse'.26 In her father's business Dorothy Knott acted as the 'buyer, packer, accountant, cleaner and what not'27 and it was to her that Reed's books orders were directed. In her capacity as a book dealer, she sold many Dumasian items to Reed. These included the first French edition of Vingt Ans Après the original edition of Dieu Dispose, four scarce sequels to The Count of Monte Cristo, and first editions including La Tulipe Noire (1845), Jehanne la Pucelle (1892), Souvenirs d'Antony (1835), Un Gil Blas en Californie (1852) and Le Page du Duc de Savoie (1855). There were also gifts: Dumas' The Rise of Democracy in France, the rare American issue of Gaule et France, the Almanach dédié aux Demoiselles for 1824, containing one of Dumas' earliest pieces of verse, and the more famous Baudry first French edition of Les Trois Mousquetaires. Although Reed offered to pay for these items, Dorothy Knott, acknowledging her debt to Reed with his enthusiasm for Dumas, was adamant: 'I will not be a take-all-give-nothing!'">28
     Reed was certainly satisfied with the service and results of his dealings with Knott's firm, a relationship that would extend over thirty-five years and go beyond the parameters of that of buyer and seller. It was something he acknowledged to Dorothy Knott in 1934. 'Dumas is not yet really being collected, but when he comes to that stage, as is bound to be some day, my work will have its value - and you have helped very considerably in the matter I have been able to gather up.'29
     'It is one of the drawbacks to living in this out-of-the-world island, that we miss all the fresh and vigorous literature of England whilst in the old country they are luxuriating in rich pastures of history, philosophy, travels, politics, and fiction, we are left to pick up a precarious living on scraps out of reviews or such strange productions (seldom the best) as chance may cast on our distant shores.'30 The individual who wrote this about living in New Zealand during the late nineteenth century, and it also has relevance to the situation in the early twentieth century, did not take into account the persistent and persevering book collector, who, faced with the lack of good bookshops and a ready opportunity to travel to them, obtained his literary 'scraps' through the bookseller's catalogue.
     Reed was one such persistent collector, and as mentioned earlier, was one who relied heavily on dealers responding to his want lists, and to receiving their catalogues. Reed's chief supplier of catalogues was J. A. Neuhuys, a Dutch bookseller based at 37 Dean Rd, Willesden Green, London. Neuhuys specialized in French literature and while not as pro-Dumas as H. K. Beazley, he was able to obtain a number of significant Dumas items for Reed. These included Dumas' Magasins Theatrical, L'Horoscope, La Jeunesse de Louis XIV, Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, numerous items from Charles Glinel's library including 'La Jeunesse de Louis XV' and 'Le Roi Robert et la Belle Edith', two unpublished manuscripts in Dumas' hand, 'Thaïs', 'L'Écossais' and 'Roméo et Juliette', three manuscripts of plays by Dumas in Glinel's hand which are known to be the only extant copies, and books such as L'Estoile's Mémoires-Journaux, Prosper Mérimee's Le Théâtre de Clara Gazul and A. Nettement's M. Alexandre Dumas dans la Roman-Feuilleton.
     This is not to say that every order met with success. The mail service from Britain took about six to seven weeks, with only a 'wire' or telegramme increasing one's chances of purchasing the desired item. The result was obvious: 'I beg to acknowledge with thanks receipt of your kind order & enclosure of 5/6 which amount I have placed to your credit as unfortunately No. 50 from my catalogue 19 (Jules Janin's Alexandre Dumas) was already sold on arrival of your letter'31 and 'I very much regret No. 110 from Catalogue No. 33 (Selden) has been sold before your letter reached me.'32
     This problem was solved by both men. Reed gave Neuhuys permission to 'buy up to £5 good copies of the Dumas items'33 while Neuhuys, an experienced bookman, pre-empted any possible disappointment experienced over unsuccessful orders by offering other items as compensation: 'I very much regret to say that item 92 from catalogue 39 had been sold before your communication reached me ... Does the following interest you? Le Mois par Alexandre Dumas ... 10/6 post free. I have this in stock and will reserve same for you, until your reply has come to hand.'34 In addition, Neuhuys sent Reed many items on approval, hoping that his own judgement matched Reed's taste and purse.
     For one who supplied Reed with many valuable books and manuscripts over a thirty-three year period and who committed himself to the publishing of Reed's A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas Père (London: Neuhuys, 1933), Neuhuys had every right to state 'I did well.'35 And it was many times throughout their correspondence, and to others, that Reed acknowledged his debt to his Dean Road friend.
     In any form of collecting, a little luck goes a long way. A stroke of luck came Reed's way with the announcement by the publisher Stanley Paul of the publication of Dumas' The Prussian Terror and The Last King. On receiving both books, Reed noticed that each introduction was signed by R. S. Garnett. A further breakthrough was R. S. Garnett's letter in the Times Literary Supplement of 8 January 1916 which listed his Highgate address. Reed, the 'apprentice' at forty-two, wrote to the fifty-year-old Garnett. He responded: 'Your letter of 29th March has much interested me, and I thank you for it. Undoubtedly it would have delighted Dumas to learn that two ardent admirers of his works at opposite ends of the globe had got in touch about him.' And Garnett continued: 'I shall endeavour to send some Dumas items for your acceptance by an early mail. I feel that any seed will fall on good soil and that in view of the difficulties you must encounter in adding to your collection in North Auckland, I ought, as I do, to offer to assist you in any way I can.'36 This was the first of many letters between these two 'Alexandrians'.37
     And who was R. S. Garnett? Robert Singleton Garnett was born 27 March 1866, the second child of Richard Garnett and his wife Olivia Narney Singleton, at Primrose Hill, London. Garnett came of a distinguished literary family. His grandfather, the Rev. Richard Garnett, was Assistant Keeper of Printed Books in the British Museum. His father, Dr Richard Garnett, was superintendent of the Reading Room of the British Museum (1875-84) and is best remembered as a writer for his collection of tales, The Twilight of the Gods (1888). Robert Singleton, the elder son, was the brother of Edward Garnett, the author and discoverer of authors such as D. H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, and Dorothy Richardson; David Garnett, the writer of Lady into Fox (1922) and A Man in the Zoo (1924), was his nephew; his sister-in-law, Mrs Constance Garnett, was the translator of many Russian works, including those of Dostoievsky and Turgenev. In 1896, Garnett married Miss Martha Roscoe, herself an author of such books as The Infamous John Friend, Amor Vincit, and Unrecorded.
     Although a successful lawyer, Garnett's first love was literature. He translated numerous Dumas titles, including On Board the Emma, a journal that Dumas wrote on the way to join Garibaldi in Sicily, and its companion volume, Memoirs of Garibaldi. He was also an avid book collector and many of his experiences are recounted in his Book-Hunting Adventures (1931) and Odd Memories (1932). He died on 24 July 1932, the 130th anniversary of Alexandre Dumas' birthday. He was, at the time Reed wrote, the recognized authority on Alexandre Dumas.
     As early as January 1917 Reed was forwarding lists of desired books to Garnett, while Garnett, having easier access to the London bookshops, started buying items for Reed. 'I believe you may like to hear of a Dumas first edition which I picked up in Charing X Road the other day. It is a very handsome-produced book in 4 vols, large 8vo, entitled La Maison de Savoie...'38 and 'when in Foyle's large but dark and untidy shop the other day I found and bought (for 8/6d) Dumas' Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine.'39 Garnett openly admitted that it was 'a great pleasure to wander about looking for treasures'40 and even gambled on his purchases: 'I think I have bought for you a very interesting copy of Monte Cristo on the chance of you caring to own it. If you don't, send it back.'41 Reed responded enthusiastically: 'Many thanks for your kind thought re: the Monte Cristo. I shall most certainly retain it [and] if at any time you see 'worthwhile' Dumas items which you don't want for yourself I shall be only too pleased to have them.'42 This arrangement was, in fact, solidified by Reed when he sent Garnett a few pounds to purchase the said 'worthwhile' books. The arrangement, similar to the one he had with Neuhuys, greatly benefitted Reed in that 'it was a means of bringing me many a treasure I should otherwise probably have missed, even if occasionally also material of less appeal.'43
     On 3 April 1923 Garnett purchased for Reed 'La Sueur de Sang', a manuscript portion from Dumas' Isaac Laquedem. This was Reed's first manuscript purchase and it cost him twelve guineas. Over the next nine years Garnett was able to supply Reed with other 'treasures'. These included Dumas' Louis XIV et son Siecle (1844), La Comtesse de Charny (1852-59), Mémoires de Talma (1850), La Tulipe Noire (1850), Pascal Bruno (1857), Sylvandire (1844), Histoire d'un Casse-Noisette (1845), and further manuscript purchases including Dumas' 'Notice sur Béranger' and 'La Mort de Mirabeau', and Marie Alexandre Dumas' 'Prologue de ma Vie'. As their correspondence became more frequent and 'far past the mere answering of each other's letters',44 their relationship became more personal, extending past those things bookish. Christmas gifts were exchanged as too were holiday snaps, personal reading programmes, family histories and anecdotes relating to their respective professions.
Manuscript of Dumas' Les Garibaldiens: Révolution de Sicile et de Naples.  Vol. 2, p. 1.
Manuscript of Dumas' Les Garibaldiens:
Révolution de Sicile et de Naples
. Vol. 2, p. 1.
     Reed never met R. S. Garnett, and for a period of sixteen years, during equally busy professional lives, they kept up a correspondence over their mutual interest of Dumas. Garnett's feeling for his friendship with Reed was strong. Indeed, on Garnett's death, it was found that he had willed his entire Dumas collection to Reed. This collection, numbering some 740 titles, included a two-volume manuscript in Dumas' hand of 'Les Garibaldiens - Révolution de Sicile et de Naples', Garnett's own unpublished notebooks on Dumas, the only complete photostat copy of Le Comte de Moret, numerous pirated Belgian editions, many first French editions such as Souvenirs Dramatiques (1868), La Jeunesse de Pierrot (1854) Bouts-Rimés (1865), Gaule et France (1833), Henri III et sa Cour (1829) and many early English translations. To say that Reed was pleased when he received the news of this gesture - and the books! - would be an understatement. According to Laurel Bycroft, Reed's youngest daughter, he was 'over the moon!'45
     R. S. Garnett was also instrumental in Reed's introduction to the world of translation. One July morning in 1917 Garnett wrote to Reed: 'I picked up the other day what, from my recollection of it when I saw it in his house, is Andrew Lang's copy of Glinel's Alexandre Dumas et Son Oeuvre (Rheims 1884). Only 325 copies were printed and Mr. Spurr could not find one. Now I have two! Would you accept my copy?'46 Reed accepted Garnett's kind offer, and 'the best bibliographic work on Dumas in existence'47 finally reached him in February 1919. Its chief importance lay not only with its bibliographical and biographical content on Dumas but also in the fact that it forced Reed into learning French. At the age of forty-five he decided to translate it. As he stated: 'I could not allow myself to be defeated thus. I put my reading wholly aside for twelve months and devoted my spare hours to rendering this book into English.'48 After just over a year and an average of sixteen hours a week the job was done.
     The significance of this translation cannot be underestimated. It gave Reed access to Dumas' mother tongue, and by further translation work, a greater familiarity with things French. This movement across the language barrier also extended Reed's collecting sphere to French language materials and with their eventual translation greater access to previously inaccessible information on Dumas. The act of translation certainly strengthened his purpose and direction. As he stated: 'Hitherto I had no emphatic determination as to work to be undertaken; from now on I had, if I may be permitted to say so, my life's work stretching clearly ahead... [and with] the finishing of Glinel I had largely mapped out my future intentions.'49 This 'life's work' was to involve further translation work and his pioneering bibliographic studies on Dumas.
     After completing the Glinel translation, Reed was caught. The itch for translating got so under his skin that he spent the following thirty-four years translating many of Dumas' works, and others about or related to the French Romancer. His translation activities were extensive and it is impossible to cover in any detail the full extent of his work. Only a brief overview is possible.
     Dumas wrote seventy-two dramas; many of which signalled the beginning of the Romantic period in France. Charles VII chez ses Grands Vassaux (1831) was the first dramatic work that Reed attempted. It was chosen for three reasons: the play was set in a historical period that Reed was unfamiliar with, it had been horribly abridged by earlier English translations (abridgement was something that Reed hated!) and lastly, he 'had no intention of letting the newly-acquired facility [of translation] rust.'50
     The completion of Charles VII set up a routine that Reed would continue for the most of his life. Each year he would take two weeks off from work and translate two, if not three of Dumas' plays. It was in this way that Reed translated all of Dumas' known plays: sixty-six of them contained in the standard Calmann Lévy edition, one published but not included in that edition, and five remaining unpublished. The typing of each was done outside business hours and as each had two colours - red for characters and stage directions; black for speaking parts - it involved passing the paper through the platen twice. After each typing, every good copy was bound up in red buckram, given a decorative hand-drawn title-page by his brother AHR, and either reserved for the Auckland City Library Collection or posted off to one of Reed's fellow 'Alexandrians'. The number of volumes total twenty-three, and exceed some 8100 typescript leaves.
     By 1922 Reed had extended his translating to articles and smaller works by and about Dumas, forming Reed's 'Dumas Miscellanea', twenty-four large typescript volumes of both English and French essays, reviews and articles, and Dumas' lesser known romances including Isaac Laquedem and Le Comte de Moret. The translation of the latter romance was not the first English translation, but it is the most complete. To this day it remains unpublished.
     Now it is not commonly known that Dumas wrote about New Zealand. Les Baleiniers, or The Whalers, was the journal of Dr Félix Maynard, a surgeon who served for a number of years on whaling ships in and around New Zealand waters during 1837-38 and 1845-46. Dumas edited Maynard's journal, and the former's own narrative skill can be seen in the work. Les Baleiniers first appeared serially in La France under the title Terres Antipodiques during 1855, and was first published in book form in 1859. Reed's English translation of The Whalers was completed in August 1926 and through the promptings of Johannes Andersen, the then Alexander Turnbull Librarian (Wellington, New Zealand), it was finally published by Hutchinson in 1937. It remains the only English translation available.
     Reed had actually completed one major translation concerning New Zealand before The Whalers. On 28 September 1925 he finished translating the first four volumes of The Journal of Madame Giovanni, a narrative of the travels of a Frenchwoman to New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, California and Mexico, between 1843 and 1853. It too was edited by Dumas, and first appeared serially in Le Siècle in 1855, and was first Published in book form by Lebègue in Brussels, 1855.
     Reed translated Madame Giovanni because of its New Zealand interest, but did not press for publication because 'it did not appeal to [him] as likely to attract a publisher, and the more so that the early New Zealand chapters revealed too many inaccuracies.'51 The first English translation publication, to which Reed supplied a foreword, was published by Liveright in 1943.
     The final New Zealand item was Dumas' Le Capitaine Marion, an account of the murder of Captain Marion du Fresne at the Bay of Islands in 1772. After much prodding by Denis Glover of Caxton Press, this small but interesting item was published in a limited edition of 150 copies in 1949.
     And of Reed's translations? The following passage conveys some idea of his approach to translating.
I rather follow my own fancy in translating - not having had expert teaching. I endeavour to keep as near to my original as will give - I hope - good English reading. I never change a word from the French into a more distant English one unless there is cause. Nor do I change the form of my sentence arrangement from that of the original more than requisite. Personally I like a translation, not a paraphrase. I think it much more fair to your original, and kinder to your reader. Many who work in this way merely paraphrase, and often what I consider somewhat lazily. They seem to read a sentence or two, and then give the sense of what has been read. The danger is that it is so easy thus to lose the individuality of the writer and substitute your own. I don't like that. Many better versed that I would doubtless condemn my method, but it is at least honest if more humdrum.52
     Reed's translations exceed 20,000 typescript pages and include plays, poems, miscellaneous pieces, travel works, and romances by and about Alexandre Dumas. All of these items are housed in the Reed-Dumas Collection in the George Grey Rare Books Room Collection at the Auckland City Library. In total they represent hours of dedicated and disciplined work by Reed. A demanding professional life, the responsibilities of supporting a household, including a wife who was a diabetic, two children, and his remoteness from the mainstream of Dumas studies, heighten his accomplishments. And it was this accomplishment in the field of translation that became an integral part in his bibliographical studies.
     Wilmarth Lewis, the American collector of the works of 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 books and articles about him, and run them down, one by one.'53 For many years, a bibliographic list relating to Dumas was just not available. About 1917, the answer, for Reed, became obvious. He wrote: '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 out of print or current.'54 It was not easy, but with method, perseverance, and love for detail, Reed succeeded. After three earlier bibliographic attempts, with constant up-dating and numerous revisions, his Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas Père was published with the support of his bookseller friend J. A. Neuhuys. The work appeared in 1933 and received world-wide acclaim. As a pioneer study and the first that approached anything like a definitive bibliography, it was and still is an incredible achievement.
     A bibliography is never complete and always there are additions and amendments to make. This was certainly the case with Reed as he faced the bibliographic complexities surrounding Dumas' publications. In the Reed-Dumas Collection, there is present an oversized volume of Reed's Bibliography. This volume has blank pages bound in between the printed text and contains bibliographic amendments and changes that Reed made until his death in 1953 . The changes - of dates, additional translations, serial issues, typographical errors - are many and offer ample evidence to the vast amount of bibliographic work that Reed had to deal with. This work remains unpublished.
     Fortunately, Reed was never one to tackle things half-heartedly. After the publication of his 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 range from 'A Supplement to his Bibliography' (1929) and 'Notes on English and American Translations' (1933) to 'A Bibliography of the Romances of Alexandre Dumas' (1943) and 'Dumas' Miscellaneous Works' (1949). These works are substantial in their own right and represent a large number of man hours spent by Reed in both compilation and typing. They too remain unpublished.
     Time and space prevents full discussion of Reed's bibliographic discoveries yet one, perhaps the most important, should be mentioned. In his close reading of Dumas' Les Trois Mousquetaires, Reed discovered that there were three distinct texts: one, the serial issue in the newspaper; two, a modified text made for the original French issue in volumes; and lastly, a text constructed from both the others for the first illustrated edition. His discovery of these variants was first published in 1938 in The Colophon under the title (Dumas revises The Three Musketeers'.
     That Reed succeeded in producing his bibliographies, including the printed Bibliography, from New Zealand, is quite amazing and one can only admire his determination and stickability. One New Zealand reviewer praised his efforts, overcoming, in particular, the disadvantages of living in New Zealand. 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.55
     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 literature. In 1934,just after the publication of his Bibliography, the French Government decorated him with the higher title of 'Palmes d'Officier de l'Instruction Publique', in token of appreciation and thanks for his services rendered for the diffusion of the French language and culture.
     In his foreword to his Bibliography, Reed claimed that 'the best I can hope is that at least there is here some further slight advance.'56 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, and it had an important influence on I. H. Slater, Reed's fellow New Zealand-based 'Alexandrian', Aksel Nielsen, the Scandinavian bibliographer of Dumas, Craig Bell, biographer on Dumas, and importantly, Douglas Munro, a fellow New Zealander, who, once Reed's understudy, is now, with his published bibliographies on Dumas, the recognized world-authority on Alexandre Dumas père.57
     In August 1953, three months after Reed's death, the Reed-Dumas Collection was unpacked in the old Public Library. In all, the collection amounted to 3350 volumes, including some 2000 sheets of original holographs by Dumas, 329 first Belgian, 166 first French and 370 first English editions of Dumas' works, 51 typescript volumes of Reed's translations, letters, portraits, other Dumas-related material, and the Robert Singleton Garnett Collection.
     Reed's perseverance in collecting Dumas against the problem of distance, the availability of items, and matters financial, has to be admired. Indeed, for many, the collection had its own effect. In May 1947, a French diplomat named M. Mégret visited Whangarei and the Reed-Dumas collection. He stated, 'It is moving for a Frenchman to stand here with the ghost of Dumas and speak with a man who knows so much more about the great novelist than any other living Frenchman.'58 In fact, some years earlier, George Saintsbury had commented on Reed's growing collection. 'You certainly deserve to rank as a benefactor to N.Z. for those bequests. I do not consider that Alexandre has ever yet received his due rank in literature, & it would be pleasant if somebody from Auckland should place him there one of these days.'59
     Reed was particularly proud of his collection and his achievements in the 'long pursuit of the Golden printed page.'60 The collection's development, as one New Zealand bookman stated, 'grew from a few cheap editions into the finest Dumas library to be found outside Paris.'61 The result, the Reed-Dumas Collection, stands as a superb example of one man's collecting activities over a period of sixty-four years, and a unique monument to the French Romancer Dumas. Of Reed's efforts, the citizens of Auckland and New Zealand can justly be proud.

Ex Libris, F. W. Reed

1 Much of this paper comes from a M.A. thesis entitled 'Frank W. Reed, the Antipodean Alexandrian', Department of Librarianship, Victoria University, Wellington, 1992.
2 In Reed's unpublished autobiography 'The Trail of an Alexandrian', Vol. 1, p. 32. Hereafter 'Trail'.
3 Frank W. Reed, 'Prescription for a collection,' The Colophon, New Series, Vol. 2, no. 1 (Autumn 1936), p. 9.
4 Alfred Hamish was the head of the publishing firm A. H. Reed. A. H. Reed was a recognized bibliophile and his collection of Bibles, medieval manuscripts, 'association' books, autograph letters, and works by Johnson and Dickens form what is known as the Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection at the Dunedin Public Library, Dunedin, New Zealand.
5 The term 'Alexandrian' was first coined by Andrew Lang to describe those fans and devotees of Alexandre Dumas and his writings.
6 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 1, p. 16.
7 Ibid., p 1.7.
8 Ibid., p 2.7.
9 Ibid.
10 Reed, 'The Fascination of Alexandre Dumas: The Beginnings of Collecting', p. 4. An unpublished typescript in the Reed-Dumas Collection.
11 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 1, p. 30.
12 Reed, 'The Fascination of Alexandre Dumas', p. 7.
13 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 2, p. 240.
14 Ibid.
15 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 1, p. 65.
16 Ibid., p. 125.
17 Reed purchased the business outright in 1911. It was a busy practice and Reed maintained that he never owned a pair of slippers! Always prepared for a call-out, his boots would not be removed until well into the night, and only after a 'stint of Dumas' in his library.
18 The sixteen titles were: The Queen's Necklace, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, The Memoirs of a Physician, The Forty-Five Guardsmen, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, The Two Dianas, The Page of the Duke of Savoy, Olympe de Cleves, The Chevalier de Maison-Rouge, Ascanio, Sylvandire, The Black Tulip, The War of Women and The Speronare.
19 Cited in A. Craig Bell's Alexandre Dumas: A Biography and Study (London: Cassell, 1950), p. viii.
20 Reed, 'The Fascination of Alexandre Dumas', p. 278.
21 Cited in Gordon N. Ray's 'A 19th-century Collection: English First Editions', THE BOOK COLLECTOR, Vol. 13, no. 1 (Spring 1964). p. 33.
22 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 2, p. 111.
23 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 1. p. 99.
24 Cited by Reed in his 'Trail', Vol. 2, p. 112.
25 Howard Knott to Frank Reed, 2 November 1920.
26 Howard Knott to Frank Reed, 21 October 1920.
27 Cited in Reed's 'Trail', Vol. 2, p. 119.
28 Dorothy Knott to Frank Reed, 13 November 1924.
29 Frank Read to Dorothy Knott, 13 June 1934.
30 Cited in the Nelson Examiner, 28 December 1859.
31 J. A. Neuhuys to Frank Reed, 30 June 1929.
32 J. A. Neuhuys to Frank Reed, 9 January 1926.
33 J. A. Neuhuys to Frank Reed, 11 July 1921.
34 J. A. Neuhuys to Frank Reed, 26 January 1928.
35 J. A. Neuhuys to Frank Reed, 13 December 1922.
36 R. S. Garnett to Frank Reed, Vol. 1, 13 May 1916.
37 The Garnett-Reed collection of letters consists of some 330 letters bound in five volumes.
38 R. S. Garnett to Frank Reed, Vol. 1, 31 March 1917.
39 R. S. Garnett to Frank Reed, Vol. 1, 7 May 1918.
40 R. S. Gamett to Frank Reed, Vol. 2, 17 July 1922.
41 R. S. Garnett to Frank Reed, Vol. 1, 13 March 1921.
42 Frank Reed to R. S. Garnett, Vol. 1, 8 May 1921.
43 Frank Reed, 'Annotations of the Dumas Correspondence of R. S. Garnett and F. W. Reed', letter No. 91, June 1945, p. 56.
44 Reed, 'Annotations', letter No. 63, 21 December 1920, p. 44.
45 From a taped interview with Laurel Bycroft, Taumarunui, New Zealand, 30 September 1989.
46 R. S. Garnett to Frank Reed, Vol. 1, 20 October 1917.
47 Ibid.
48 Reed, 'Prescription for a Collection,' The Colophon, New Series, Vol. 2, no. 1 (Autumn 1936), p. 15.
49 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 1, p. 171.
50 Reed, 'Collecting Dumas as a Fascinating Hobby' in his 'Dumas Miscellanea' Vol. 13. p. 380.
51 Reed, 'Trail', Vol. 2, p. 22.
52 Frank Reed to John Barr, Auckland City Librarian, 18 July 1937.
53 Wilmarth Lewis, Collector's Progress (London: Constable, 1952), p. 39.
54 Frank Reed to R. S. Garnett, Vol. 1, January 1918.
55 'Kotare' [Rev.J Shaw], 'Great Achievement:The Reed Collection', a review in the supplement of the New Zealand Herald, 23 September 1933 p. 1.
56 Reed, A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas Pere (Middlesex: J. A. Neuhuys, 1933), p. xi.
57 Douglas Munro, Alexandre Dumas Pere: A Bibliography of Works Translated into English to 1910 (New York: Garland, 1978) and its companion Alexandre Dumas Pere: A Bibliography of Works Published in French, 1825-1900 (New York: Garland, 1981).
58 Cited by Reed in his 'Trail', Vol. 2, p. 108.
59 George Saintsbury to Frank Reed, 12 January 1927.
60 Frank Reed to A. H. Reed, 14 August 1926. NZ MSS 529, New Zealand and Pacific Department, Auckland City Library.
61 P. A. Lawlor, Books and Bookmen: New Zealand and Overseas (Wellington: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1954), p. 101.

Contactez-nous/Contact Us
[Traduire en français] [Translate into English]