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Heber, Richard

HEBER, RICHARD (1773-1833), English book-collector, the half-brother of Reginald Heber, was born in London on the 5th of January 1773. As an undergraduate at Brasenose College, Oxford, he began to collect a purely classical library, but his taste broadening, he became interested in early English drama and literature, and began his wonderful collection of rare books in these departments. He attended continental booksales, purchasing sometimes single volumes, sometimes whole libraries. Sir Walter Scott, whose intimate friend he was, and who dedicated to him the sixth canto of Marmion, classed Heber's library as " superior to all others in the world "; Campbell described him as " the fiercest and strongest of all the bibliomaniacs." He did not confine himself to the purchase of a single copy of a work which took his fancy. " No gentleman," he remarked, " can be without three copies of a book, one for show, one for use, and one for borrowers." To such a size did his library grow that it over-ran eight houses, some in England, some on the Continent. It is estimated to have cost over 100,000, and after his death the sale of that part of his collection stored in England realized more than 56,000. He is known to have owned 1 50,000 volumes, and probably many more. He possessed extensive landed property in Shropshire and Yorkshire, and was sheriff of the former county in 1821, was member of Parliament for Oxford University from 1821-1826, and in 1822 was made a D.C.L. of that University. He was one of the founders of the Athenaeum Club, London. He died in London on the 4th of October 1833.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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