The Norman M. Fox Collection was originally collected by dear friends of Norman Fox, Hannah and Charles Adler, who were Saratoga Springs residents and avid book lovers. The Adlers' varied interests are reflected in the makeup of this collection, which spans the 15th to 20th centuries and includes an incunabulum (Saint Augustine's Opuscula), a first edition of Young's Night Thoughts, illustrated by William Blake, and a signed limited edition of Virginia Woolf's Beau Brummel. Works by seventeenth-century authors Sir Walter Raleigh, Ben Jonson, and John Dryden, and by eighteenth-century authors Henry Fielding, Thomas Gray, and Adam Smith highlight the collection. However, the most extensive holdings are from nineteenth-century Britain, featuring prominent authors, such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Robert Browning, Sir Walter Scott, and William Thackeray.
The collection contains books now held to be classic Victorian texts as well as titles that were fashionable at the time but which now are largely forgotten, such as Paul Pry and Douglas Jerrod's Cakes and Ale, providing a unique glimpse into popular culture of this time period in England. The collection is particularly noted for its Victorian illustrated books and features such famous illustrators as John Leech, Robert Seymour, Phiz, Richard Doyle, Marcus Stone, and John Tenniel, with George Cruikshank, Hannah Adler's favorite, having the strongest representation.
Image credit: Mr. Jorrock's hunt ; hand-colored illustration ; by John Leech ; 1854