Journal Article

The Road to Camelot: Lotteries, the Circle of Learning, and the ‘Circulary’ Library of Samuel Fancourt

K. A. Manley

in The Library

Volume 8, issue 4, pages 398-422
Published in print December 2007 | ISSN: 0024-2160
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1744-8581 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/library/8.4.398
The Road to Camelot: Lotteries, the Circle of Learning, and the ‘Circulary’ Library of Samuel Fancourt

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Samuel Fancourt has often been referred to as the founder of the first circulating library in England, or at least in London, and as the person who first used the phrase ‘circulating library’. This article shows that he although he was pipped to the post for the former claim, he was almost certainly responsible for the latter. However, his main claim to fame should be that he popularized the idea of the private subscription library. Fancourt was a dissenting minister who did not commence his library career until his late fifties. His personal financial circumstances were difficult, and his work as a librarian never brought him profit. However, he did achieve publicity for the benefits of libraries, especially when he developed a curious scheme for disposing of his books by linking them to the State Lottery.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (18th Century)

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