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Collection Number: 11052-z

Collection Title: Thomas Balston Papers, 1946-1948

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 24 items
Abstract Thomas Balston (1883-1967) was director of the publishers Duckworth and Co., as well as a distinguished scholar of English book production, notably illustrations. The collection consists of material concerning efforts in the 1940s to publish a set of engravings by John Martin illustrating John Milton's "Paradise Lost." Included are two typescript versions of an essay, "John Martin's 'Paradise Lost'" by Thomas Balston (1883-1967), which was to introduce the engravings, and letters from representatives of King Penguin Books, which had initially planned to publish the work, to Balston. The work was never published.
Creator Balston, Thomas.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Thomas Balston Papers #11052-z, Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Transferred from the Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in August 1987.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Thomas Balston (1883-1967) was director of the publishers Duckworth and Co., as well as a distinguished scholar of English book production, notably illustrations. In 1947, he published a full-length biography of John Martin (1789-1854). Martin had been commissioned (circa 1822) by the London publisher Septimus Prowett to design and engrave twenty-four plates for a large paper edition of Paradise Lost and a similar set of smaller plates to appear in a smaller edition of the work. It is this smaller set of plates which, in the 1940s, Balston wanted King Penguin Books to publish. King Penguin Books initially accepted the idea, but later decided the plates could not be reproduced adequately. Thus, the work was never published.

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The collection includes two carbon copy typescripts of "John Martin's Paradise Lost" by Thomas Balston, which includes a lengthy biographical sketch of John Martin and twenty-four quotations from Paradise Lost to accompany the plates. There are also letters from King Penguin Books expressing interest in publishing Martin's engravings with Balston's introduction. The letters discuss the scope of the text and proposals for illustrations within the introduction. The project was abandoned when the printer announced that the plates could not be adequately reproduced.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, May 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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