Papers of Bernard Quaritch

Scope and Content

These Papers consists of letters sent by orientalists and literary figures to Bernard Quaritch, mainly concerning the obtaining or selling of oriental literature.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bernard Quaritch was born in a village outside Göttingen, Germany. After first working for booksellers in Nordhausen and Berlin, he travelled to London in 1842, carrying a letter of introduction to Henry Bohn, the leading London bookseller. Quaritch was employed by Bohn until, in 1847, he set up his own business. Quaritch built up his business with an impressive clientele including those in this archive. He became lifelong friends with Edward Fitzgerald and published his translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám in 1859. He continued in business until his death in 1899, when the business passed to his son, Bernard Alfred Quaritch.

For a more indepth biography see: Bernard Quaritch Ltd: Our History.


The letters were arranged chronologically and by author such:

  • BQ/1 - Correspondence from Horace Hayman Wilson
  • BQ/2 - Correspondence from Max Müller
  • BQ/3 - Correspondence from Edward Fitzgerald
  • BQ/4 - Correspondence from Sir Monier Monier-Williams
  • BQ/5 - Correspondence from Herbert Allen Giles
  • BQ/6 - Correspondence from James Legge
  • BQ/7 - Correspondence from Edwin Arnold
  • BQ/8 - Correspondence from Ernest Satow
  • BQ/9 - Original envelope in which the letters were found

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

These letters were donated by Horace Geoffrey Quaritch Wales in 1973 as reported in the Anniversary General Meeting Report (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1974, p.197). On the envelope in which the material was housed is also a note to state that the H.H. Wilson letter was given by Quaritch Wales in June 1974.

Archivist's Note

These letters were catalogued in January 2018 by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist.

Separated Material

On the original envelope, it is noted that a letter from Richard Burton was removed from the envelope and added to the Burton material. This is not present in the Richard Burton Papers. Other correspondence between Richard Burton and Bernard Quaritch was returned to H G Quaritch Wales in 1979 and it is therefore assumed that this letter was returned at the same time.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These Papers were in the possession of Horace Geoffrey Quaritch Wales, Bernard Quaritch's grandson and Board member of Bernard Quaritch Ltd.

Related Material

Within the RAS Institutional Archives there is some correspondence from Bernard Quaritch regarding book publications and selling.

Objects that came with the Horace Geoffrey Quaritch Wales bequest were housed in a small tin trunk with the initials "B.Q." and therefore, presumable, originally belonged to Bernard Quaritch.