The Early Draft of John Stuart Mill's Autobiography

The Early Draft of John Stuart Mill's Autobiography

The Early Draft of John Stuart Mill's Autobiography

The Early Draft of John Stuart Mill's Autobiography

Excerpt

Three manuscripts of Mill Autobiography were among the collection of letters and papers owned after Mill's death by his stepdaughter Helen Taylor ( 1831-1907), bequeathed by her to her niece Mary Taylor (d. 1918), and then put up at auction in 1922 by the latter's executors as 'the Property of Miss Mary Taylor (deceased), grand-daughter of the wife of John Stuart Mill." They are entered together, "a large parcel," as lot 720 (third day) in Sotheby's sale catalog of 27-29 March 1922: " MILL (John Stuart) Auto. MS. of his AUTOBIOGRAPHY upwards of 220 pp. 4to; with an earlier draft of the same in his hand, and a copy, mostly in the hand of Helen Taylor, with the suppressed passages." The lot was knocked down--six years before the first draft and press copy of Carlyle Past and Present were sold in the same rooms to an American buyer for £2,2001--to Maggs Bros. for £5 58.

During the next year and a half Maggs resold the manuscripts separately. The "Auto. MS.," the final holograph version of the Autobiography, was purchased by Professor John Jacob Coss ( 1884- 1940) for members of the Department of Philosophy at Columbia, who presented it to the Columbia University Library in April 1923. It was used as the basis of an edition published by the Columbia University Press in the following year.2 The "copy, . . .

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