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MS001: Robert D. Fellman collection on Charles Dickens

Identifier: MS001

Scope and Contents

The largest part of this collection is approximately five hundred of books including Dickens's letters and novels, biographies, reference books and critical studies of Dickens, the novel and Victorian England. There are first editions and original books in parts for most of Dickens' works. Also included are complete runs of The Dickensian and Dickens Quarterly. Records for books and periodicals can be found in Gordon Library's online catalog.

Among most rare items are the Guild of Literature and Art Council Attendance Book, letters from and to Dickens, and original art work.

The collection is organized in series.

Series 1 is comprised of Mr. Fellman's own correspondence, research and notes, biographical material about Mr. Fellman, photographs, and the slides and notes he used for talks about Charles Dickens and his works. There are 250 slides, which have been re-numbered and generally identified. With these are several sets of Mr. Fellman's notes, as well as a recent listing of the 250 slides.

Series 2 is composed of manuscript material, including the Guild of Literature and Art Attendance Book, with Charles Dickens's and many of his contemporaries' signatures, and letters to and from Charles Dickens.

Series 3 includes books and periodicals. These can be found through WPI's Gordon Library online catalog.

Series 4 lists the artwork including paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs. Many of these are illustrations for Dickens's writings.

Series 5 describes the objects and furniture that are part of the collection.

Series 6 is made up of Audio-Visual materials. Of particular note are original tapes and a DVD of Bert Hornback's performances titled "Dickens' World."


  • Majority of material found within 1812 - 1996

Conditions Governing Access

Permission of archivist

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials require special handling

Biographical / Historical

Robert D. Fellman was born in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota in 1923. He grew up in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in chemistry. He received a Master's degree from the University of Southern California and did graduate work at the University of London and Stanford University. He moved to the Bay Area in 1957 and lived in Palo Alto. He taught chemistry at Foothill College of Los Altos Hills, California, serving for part of his time there as Chair of the Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics.

Mr. Fellman read Dickens's The Pickwick Papers" when he was fourteen. He began collecting Dickens books, illustrations and memorabilia in 1963. He founded the Palo Alto Dickens Fellowship in 1975, and was instrumental in establishing other Dickens Fellowship groups in the Bay Area.

Mr. Fellman decided in 1995 to leave his extensive Dickens collection to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He had met Joel Brattin, Dickens scholar and WPI professor, years earlier and wanted his collection to remain intact and to be used and appreciated by scholars, students and members of the Dickens Fellowship. Mr. Fellman died in 1996.


10 Linear Feet (6 archival boxes, 9 flat boxes, 1 record carton)

Language of Materials



This collection includes books (including serial installments of novels), manuscript letters, artwork, illustrations and realia by and related to Charles Dickens, as well as materials by and about Robert D. Fellman.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the WPI Manuscript Collections Repository

100 Institute Rd
George C. Gordon Library
Worcester MA 01609 USA