Acquisition appeal

Good Boy's Soliloquy


Read how you helped us secure new rare books and printed materials



You helped us grow our collection for everyone, everywhere

Earlier this year, our supporters helped the Library raise an incredible £85,000 to acquire a number of exceptionally rare printed books and materials that shine a light on Britain’s rich cultural and literary heritage.  

We were so pleased to be the featured library for ABAA Connect at the 2024 New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, produced by Sanford L. Smith + Associates. Thank you so much to our partners, the American Trust for the British Library and the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, for making this exciting campaign possible.  

Thanks to your support, we:

  • became the only UK institution to hold a copy of Graham Greene's After Two Years, one of only six surviving copies of his poems celebrating the love affair that inspired one of his bestselling novels
  • acquired an extraordinary example of a bookbinding by Scottish artist Jessie M. King, whose craftsmanship we didn't hold an example of at the Library
  • expanded our collection of historic children’s books with The Good Boy’s Soliloquy, a wonderfully witty early 19th-century book that gives a fascinating insight into social history.

As the UK's national library, our mission is to share our inspiring collection of over 170 million items with people of all ages, from all communities. As a charity, your support is vital and by giving to this appeal you helped us secure these extraordinary items for students, researchers and book lovers across the world. 

Explore the items

This appeal is now closed - below are just some of the highlights you helped us secure. If you would like to support the Library, you can donate here

If you would like any more information on supporting the Library, please get in touch with Lucy Richardson at

'After Two Years' by Graham Greene, 1949

Handpicked by Greene from the effusion of poetry he wrote about his affair with Catherine Walston, this booklet of poems celebrates a relationship which is of great literary importance to the world. As few as six copies survive, with none housed in any UK institutions. It would strengthen our collection of Greene's works, including his travel diaries and an annotated draft of his final novel.

'The Story of Rosalynde' bound by Jessie M. King, 1902

This beautiful work is one of just 30 copies and is an example of the extraordinary bindings crafted by Scottish book artist Jessie M. King. Printed on Japanese vellum with intricate ink and watercolour designs, this stunning work depicts Cedric Chivers' 'Story of Rosalynde' - later adapted by Shakespeare into 'As You Like It' - and would be the first of her bindings to enter our collection. 

'The Good Boy's Soliloquy', 1811 

This little volume is incredibly rare, with only two other known copies in public institutions, and would add to our wonderful collection of historic children's books. It includes over a dozen engraved images of a 'good boy' misbehaving by feeding scraps to the family pet and drawing on the walls, accompanied by witty couplets that contrast with the more moralistic works common in the 19th century.