Alexander Balloch Grosart

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Alexander Balloch Grosart (born June 18, 1827 in Stirling , Scotland , † March 16, 1899 in Dublin , Ireland ) was a Scottish clergyman, author and editor . He made a name for himself above all with the new edition and the reprint of numerous literary works, especially from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods.


Alexander B. Grosart was born on June 18, 1827 as the son of a building contractor in Stirling. In 1848 he began his studies at the University of Edinburgh and in 1851 entered the theological faculty ( Theological Hall ) of the Presbyterians . After his ordination as a preacher, he worked from 1856 to 1865 as a Reformed minister of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland , a predecessor of the United Free Church of Scotland , in Kinross . He then worked in the newly established parish of Princes Park in Liverpool until 1867 and was then from 1867 to 1892 clergyman at St. George's Church in Blackburn .

In 1877 Grosart earned a doctorate in literature from the University of Edinburgh; he also had a second doctorate in theology from Saint Andrews University .

For health reasons, Grosart resigned from his ministry in 1892 and retired. He moved to Dublin, where he lived until his death on March 16, 1899.

Already during his time as a clergyman, he stood out with new editions and private reprints of over 140 rare or inaccessible literary works by English authors, especially from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He also wrote numerous biographies of Puritan clergy as well as theological treatises or writings on various topics.


Among the first authors whose works Grosart edited were Puritan writers and theologians such as Richard Sibbes, Thomas Brooks, and Herbert Palmer. In 1865 an edition of the poems of the Scottish poet Michael Bruce followed and in 1867 a reprint of the theological treatise Demonologia Sacra Richard Gilpins. In 1868 Grosart compiled a bibliographical index of the writings of the Puritan clergyman and poet Richard Baxter , before he dealt with the edition of his 39 volumes of the Fuller Worthies Library until 1876 . This collection, issued as a private subscription , included works by Thomas Fuller , Sir John Davies, Fulke Greville , Edward de Vere , Henry Vaughan , Andrew Marvell , George Herbert , Richard Crashaw , John Donne , Robert Southwell, and Sir Philip Sidney . The last four volumes of the Fuller Worthies Library Grosarts included a new edition of the works of little-known or otherwise inaccessible authors, especially of the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages.

In addition to further new editions and reprints of extremely rare books or writings as part of the 38-volume series Occasional Issues of Unique and Very Rare Books (1875–1881) Grosart also published a complete edition of the poems by Richard Barnfield in 1873 and the poems by Robert Herrick and in 1876 the prose works of William Wordsworth . Grosart then worked at the Chertsey Worthies Library with editions of the works of Nicholas Breton , Francis Quarles , Joseph Beaumont, Abraham Cowley , Henry More and John Davies of Hereford. After completing the editing work on this collection, Grosart devoted himself from 1881 to the publication of the Huth Library , named after the bibliophile banker and collector Henry Huth, who held numerous originals of Gosart's reprints in his hands. This collection included works by Robert Greene , Thomas Nashe , Gabriel Harvey as well as prose writings by Thomas Dekker . In addition, the complete editions of Edmund Spenser's works (in 10 volumes between 1880 and 1888) and Samuel Daniels (in 5 volumes, 1885 and 1886) were published as private prints under the editorship of Grosart .

In addition, Grosart wrote a biography of the Scottish national poet Robert Fergusson in 1898 as part of the Famous Scots Series . Even before that, he was considered an excellent connoisseur of Fergusson, whose poems he first published in a collected form in 1852.

Grosart also wrote numerous articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica and various literary and theological journals.

Theological works (selection)

Web links

Wikisource: Author: Alexander Balloch Grosart  - Sources and full texts (English)

Individual evidence

  1. See the information on the biographical notes on Grosart in Christian Tapp: Kardinalität und Kardinale. Scientific historical processing of the correspondence between Georg Kantor and cardinals of his time. Steiner Verlag Munich 2005, ISBN 3-515-08620-X , pp. 339f. See also the entry on Grosart in Volume 12 of the Encyclopædia Britannica from 1911 and Thomas Boston Johnstone: Grosart, Alexander Balloch. In: Dictionary of National Biography , Supplement 1901 and the Times obituary dated March 20, 1899, all online on Wikisource (web links).
  2. . See Gros arts activity as publisher and writer, the detailed information of Thomas Boston Johnstone: Grosart, Alexander Balloch. In: Dictionary of National Biography , Supplement 1901, online on Wikisource (web links). See also the entry in The Encyclopedia Americana (1920), online on Wikisource (Weblinks).