Colin Franklin (bibliographer)

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Colin Ellis Franklin, MA, FSA (born 8 October 1923) is an English writer, bibliographer, book-collector and antiquarian bookseller. Franklin was born in Notting Hill, London into an affluent and influential British Jewish family. His father was Ellis Arthur Franklin (1894–1964), a London merchant banker and his mother was Muriel Frances Waley (1894–1976). His father's uncle was Herbert Samuel (later Viscount Samuel) who was Home Secretary in 1916 and the first practising Jew to serve in the British Cabinet. He was also the first High Commissioner (effectively governor) for the British Mandate of Palestine. His aunt Helen Caroline Franklin was married to Norman de Mattos Bentwich, who was Attorney General in the British Mandate of Palestine. She was active in trade union organisation and women's suffrage, and was later a member of the London County Council. His sister was the influential biophysicist Rosalind Franklin.

As a pupil at Oundle School, Colin developed an interest in William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites.[1] After Oundle, he studied at St John's College, Oxford, and worked for some years in publishing (at Routledge in London) before moving into antiquarian bookselling. He has specialised in the study of private presses and the book-arts, but has also written on Shakespeare, Japanese books and prints, Lord Chesterfield, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and on printing techniques and media.

He has been Honorary President of the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles, Patron to the Oundle School Society of Bibliophiles, President of the Private Libraries Association and the Double Crown Club.

Select bibliography[edit]

  • Franklin, Colin. Letters to a granddaughter on books and book collecting. Moreton-in-Marsh: Strawberry Press for the author, 2012 [i.e. 2013]. Illustrated by Phillida Gili.
  • Franklin, Colin. Obsessions and confessions of a book life. New Castle: Oak Knoll; Victoria: Book of Kells; London: Bernard Quaritch, 2012.
  • Franklin, Colin. Exploring Japanese books and scrolls. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1999. Reprinted London: British Library, 2005.
  • Franklin, Colin. Book collecting as one of the fine arts. Aldershot: Scolar, 1995.
  • Franklin, Colin. Lord Chesterfield: his character and Characters. Aldershot: Scolar, 1993.
  • Franklin, Colin. The Gehenna Press: the work of fifty years, 1942–1992: the catalogue of an exhibition curated by Lisa Unger Baskin. With a bibliography by Hosea Baskin and notes by Leonard Baskin. [Dallas]: Bridwell Library and Gehenna Press, 1992.
  • Franklin, Colin. Gogmagog: Maurice Cox and the Gogmagog Press. With David Chambers and Alan Tucker. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 1991.
  • Franklin, Colin. The private presses. Second edition, Aldershot: Scolar, 1991. (Originally published London: Studio Vista, 1969).
  • Franklin, Colin. Shakespeare domesticated: the eighteenth-century editions. Aldershot: Scolar, 1991.
  • Franklin, Colin. Elizabeth Barrett Browning at the mercy of her publishers. [Waco]: Armstrong Browning Library, 1989.
  • Franklin, Colin. Poets of the Daniel Press. Cambridge: Rampant Lions Press, 1988.
  • Franklin, Colin. The Ashendene Press. Dallas: Bridwell Library, 1986.
  • Franklin, Colin. Printing and the mind of Morris. Cambridge: Rampant Lions Press, 1986.
  • Franklin, Colin (editor). Gordon Craig's Paris diary, 1872–1966. North Hills: Bird and Bull Press, 1982.
  • Franklin, Colin. Fond of printing: Gordon Craig as typographer and illustrator. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1980.
  • Franklin, Colin. Themes in aquatint. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1978.
  • Franklin, Colin. Emery Walker: some light on his theories of printing and on his relations with William Morris and Cobden-Sanderson. Cambridge: University Printing House, 1973.


  1. ^ Franklin, Colin. "How it began" in A modest collection. Pinner: Private Libraries Association, 2007, pp. 205–207.