Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > History > 108. John Stuart Mill

108.  John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).  Autobiography of J. S. Mill, written by himself. Autograph manuscript, 210 leaves, 1861, 1869-70. RBML

One of the most versatile British thinkers of the nineteenth century, Mill was an incisive critic of liberalism as well as its greatest exponent. His Autobiography, published the year of his death, has eclipsed his political and economic studies, such as the Essay on Liberty and Utilitarianism. According to a note written by Mill's step-daughter Helen Taylor on this manuscript, the work was "to be published without alterations or omissions, within one year of my death." In fact, it was published from a hastily made copy, and it was not until 1924 that an edition, based on this manuscript, considered more reliable since it is in Mill's own hand, was first published by the Columbia University Press. The 1861 portion of the manuscript represents a heavily revised version of an early draft done in 1851; the last forty-eight leaves are the only draft of all but one small portion of the rest of the Autobiography.

Gift of nine members of the Department of Philosophy: Lawrence Buermayer, William F. Cooley, John J. Coss, Horace L. Friess, James Gutmann, Thomas Munro, Houston Peterson, John H. Randall, Jr., and Herbert W. Schneider, 1942

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