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Inventory of the Greville Haslam Sporting Book Collection, 1638-2006

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Compiled by Dr. Greville Haslam, this comprehensive sporting book collection is comprised of angling and hunting books largely published during the 17th through 19th centuries. The collection includes over 400 editions of the same revered title, Isaak Walton's The Compleat Angler.
Title: Greville Haslam sporting book collection
Creator: Haslam, Greville A. G., 1891-1966
Date(s): 1638-2006    
Extent: Approximately 2,250 items
Repository: Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Items cataloged and classified individually
Language of Material: Materials in English

Biographical Note

Born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on June 14, 1891, Greville A. G. Haslam moved to the United States as a teenager and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1915. For the next three years he taught at the Baguio School for boys in the Philippines and traveled extensively in Mindanao, British Borneo and the South Sea Islands. He served in World War I in the Canadian Engineer Corps, and became Headmaster of Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pennsylvania in 1921 until retiring in 1957. Haslam died December 22, 1966 in Hamilton, New York.

A Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, Haslam travelled the globe, from the Far East to the Arctic, lingering in remote areas of Canada and the United States to hunt and fish. His collection reflects not only his fondness for sporting and angling, but also his appreciation for beauty and design in bookmaking.

Collection Overview

The Greville Haslam Sporting Books Collection consists of more than 2,250 volumes centered on hunting and angling, as well as exploration and enjoyment of the natural world. The books' texts tell the story of men and women in pursuit of not just prey, but contentment and joy. As objects, the volumes illustrate the glories of the bookmaker's art. Enriching the volumes are their associations. Some bear the bookplates of Dean Sage, Thomas Westwood, John G. Heckscher and other leading collectors. There are signed and limited editions, as well as copies considered unique, due to their added illustrations and elegant bindings from the hands of such artists as Zaehnsdorf and Riviere and Sons.

A stellar part of the collection, invaluable for reference, includes over 400 editions of a single title - the most celebrated angling book of all time - Isaac Walton's The Compleat Angler, first published in 1653. Another book in the collection written by Walton bears his signature; over 250 years later poet and playwright John Drinkwater signed his name to the same volume, adding it to his library.

The second strength of the collection centers on its 17th, 18th and 19th century titles. Included are those works most prized by hunters, anglers and bibliophiles, such as a 1655 edition of Hunger's Prevention: Or the Whole Art of Fowling by Water or Land and two copies of the extremely rare Guide to Norway (1848), sought for its stunning color plates of lures. Samples of yarn and bird feathers are bound into some volumes, demonstrating the materials used in constructing flies; others contain the actual finished artifacts. Greville Haslam's wide interests and acquaintanceships are reflected in letters and inscriptions from writers as diverse as Zane Gray; polar explorer Ernest Shackleton; Eugene Connett, publisher of the much sought-after Derrydale sporting books; and Lee Wulff, one of the 20th century's best known anglers, and godfather of catch and release.

Collection Arrangement

Books from this collection are cataloged and classified individually.

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.


    • Fishing
    • Fly fishing
    • Hunting
    • Outdoor life

    Types of Material

    • Books


    • Compleat angler


    Sporting books

    For a list of titles in this collection, consult the spreadsheet from the initial inventory here. Books are being cataloged individually. To find their records to date, perform a title search in the Library's catalog for "Greville Haslam sporting book collection" or click here.

    For further information and images from books in the collection, see the brochure compiled by the Friends of the Library.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    This collection is open for research, but is still in processing. Due to the uncataloged state of many items in the collection, please contact the repository before visiting to allow time to locate materials.

    Copyright Notice

    The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

    The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Greville Haslam sporting book collection, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Mary and Howard Phipps, Jr. in 2010.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Special Collections staff.

    Finding aid created and encoded by Martha McTear, November 2011.

    Table of Contents