- Smith, Alexander Howland
- Physical description
- .5 linear feet (3 v.)
- Preferred Citation
- Stillie manuscripts, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library
- Manuscripts and Archives Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
Alexander Howland Smith, known as "Antique" Smith, was a forger from Edinburgh, Scotland. Before he was imprisoned in 1893, he had made hundreds of forged documents, in particular, letters and manuscripts of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Collection known as the Stillie Manuscripts consists of 202 numbered forgeries. Volume 1 (items 1-49) contains documents related to Scottish history, including those signed by James VI, Charles I, Mary Stuart, and John Knox. Volumes 2 and 3 (items 50-202) contain forgeries of letters and manuscripts of Robert Burns. Complete list of the manuscripts in the three volumes can be found in the Lenox Library's Twenty-first Annual Report for the Year 1890 which accompanies Volume 1.
Collection was purchased from James Stillie, an Edinburgh bookseller by John S. Kennedy, president of the Lenox Library, in 1890. Kennedy presented the collection to the Lenox Library and the manuscripts were exhibited in December of that year. After several forgeries of Burns manuscripts were exposed in Edinburgh in 1892, the collection was sent to the British Museum for examination and the documents were found to be forgeries by "Antique" Smith. Manuscripts were returned to the Lenox Library and added to the collections of The New York Public Library after the consolidation of the Astor, Lenox, and Tilden collections.
Source of acquisition202 items: Purchase, Stillie, James, 1890
Discussed in: McDonald, Gerald D. "Forgeries in the Library". Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 41:623-628 (August 1937)
Using the collection
LocationManuscripts and Archives Division
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, NY 10018-2788
Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room, Third Floor, Room 328