NY Preview: Oscar Wilde Criminal Trial Scrapbook

The New York Antiquarian Book Fair opens on Thursday, and today we’re highlighting one fantastic item that will be offered there, courtesy of British bookseller Simon Beattie. This unique collection of press cuttings and other printed ephemera dated 1885-1914 relates to Oscar Wilde, primarily to his 1895 criminal trial for gross indecency.  

Wilde.jpegCompiled by photographer Frederick H. Evans, who shared common literary acquaintances with Wilde, the brown cloth scrapbook contains 24 neatly mounted items with a frontispiece fashioned from Toulouse-Lautrec’s 1895 portrait of Wilde. Another 33 loose items detail the sensationalism of Wilde’s trials--from allegations about his private life to his prosecution and subsequent imprisonment. “The assiduousness with which these cuttings have been preserved certainly suggests a deep personal interest in the case,” writes Beattie.

The price is $5,000.

All this week we’ll be showcasing Rare Book Week book fairs and auctions. Click here to check out more highlights from the New York book fairs, or here for our Rare Book Week guide to related auctions, exhibits & events.                                                                                                                                                                             Image: Courtesy of Simon Beattie.

Auction Guide