May 3, 2021
Mark Samuels Lasner is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Delaware Library, and one of the world's great book collectors.
The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection focuses on British literature and art from 1850 to 1900, with an emphasis on the Pre-Raphaelites and writers and illustrators of the 1890s. It comprises more than 9,500 books, letters, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, and artworks, including many items signed by such figures as Oscar Wilde, George Eliot, Max Beerbohm, William Morris, Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Aubrey Beardsley.
In 2016 Mark donated his collection, worth more than $10 million, to the University of Delaware. It's the largest and most valuable gift in the Library’s history.
We connected via Zoom to talk about Mark's childhood and his incipient interest in England and the late Victorian period, his early book collecting - the how and why of it - the extraordinarily talented and well dressed essayist, caricaturist, and critic Max Beerbohm; fun, friendships, favourite booksellers, fashion and much more.