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Welcome to the project blog for Mill Marginalia Online, which aspires to digitize all handwritten marks and annotations in the books of the John Stuart Mill Collection, held at Oxford University’s Somerville College.  As we work incrementally towards this long-term goal, the project team will use this less formal space to document our progress, share our process, and provide those working on the project an opportunity to highlight their varied and valuable contributions.

Although this blog is hosted by the University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences, the final site will be hosted by the University of Alabama Libraries through the auspices of the Alabama Digital Humanities Center.  The project has already received financial and material support from the University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, and University Libraries, as well as Somerville College, Oxford and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

About the John Stuart Mill Library

Acting at the suggestion of Liberal politician and writer John Morley, and under power of attorney for her aunt, Mill’s step-daughter, Helen Taylor, Miss Mary Taylor donated the books from Mill’s house in Blackheath, London without condition to Somerville in 1905.  The roughly 2000 volumes increased the college library’s collection by about a third and included many books inherited by Mill from his father, James Mill, and some acquired after Mill’s death by Helen Taylor.  Following their acquisition, duplicate copies and books deemed unsuitable for female students were sold; the rest were assigned Dewey classification numbers and dispersed throughout the library on open shelves, from which some (including Mill’s personal copy of Utilitarianism) went missing over the years.  The remaining books number just over 1000 titles in 1674 volumes and 45 unbound pamphlets (article offprints, most lightly stitched up with thread). In 1969, these books were reassembled into a Special Collection which presently resides in a locked second-floor room of Somerville College Library.