The Manuscript and Rare Book Collection has a unique collection of manuscripts and letters written by Charles Dickens, which was gathered and collected by Bergen shipowner Jacob Christensen (1892-1968) and later gifted to the Special Collections in 1972. The collections contain about 370 books and other items, including a pen used by Dickens from the Villa des Montineaux in Boulogne, France, where he wrote parts of Bleak House (1852-3), Hard Times (1854), and Little Dorrit (1855-7). The collection contains many of Dickens’ novels in their original serialized format in addition to bound first editions, as well as books from Dickens’ own personal library, many of which contain his personal bookplates or his signature. Many of the items are rebound in luxury bindings by London companies like Sangorski & Sutcliffe, sometimes called the “Rolls Royce of Bookbinding”.
Of particular interest to this class was handwritten material: UiB’s collection contains items of Dickens’s personal correspondence, his drafts and pre-publication material for his literary work, and his ideas and instructions for publicity material. These handwritten items are unique in the world and are valuable for scholars of Victorian literature, book history, and history of book collecting in Norway.