Anne Lister's bookshelf

Lívia Labate, Marlene Oliveira, Steph GallawayPublished on 24 October, 2019 · Last updated on 29 June, 2023
 Cover photo: Marlene Oliveira

Anne Lister was a voracious reader.

Across her journals and letters, she refers to numerous books and other materials she studied and used throughout her life. They provide context about her many interests and explain her fluency on a variety of topics, providing our modern eyes with a better understanding of what she had access to and how it shaped her understanding of the world. 

This project collects information about these reference materials, which include items from her library at Shibden Hall, volumes borrowed from and lent to friends, and other works she had access to while abroad.

Books and magazines from Anne Lister's journal

There is no complete compendium of what Anne Lister read in her lifetime so this project is an effort to surface this information from what she captured of her day-to-day reading habits as noted in her journal and letters.  

The spreadsheet below is being used by #AnneListerCodeBreakers to surface the titles, publication dates and any relevant details around the books and magazines mentioned by Anne Lister. Code Breakers add to the sheet over the course of transcribing and decoding her journal entries from the West Yorkshire Archive Services.

Anne Lister's bookshelf


This project is made possible through ongoing contributions from the following people:

How to contribute to the project

Please include an email address that is associated with a Google account (this is the only requirement to participating in this project). If you don't have one, here's how to do it.

Tip: Don't worry about redundancy; enter any information you have and we'll reconcile duplicates later.

All information in this spreadsheet is in English, but please preserve the names of published titles as written by Anne Lister if they appear in other languages.

You do not need to be part of the official WYAS #AnneListerCodeBreakers project, but it is assumed you are doing your own transcriptions of Anne Lister's journal in order to come across relevant information and add them to the list.  

Anyone can help research and add additional information for each references in this spreadsheet.

If you want to help research information about these references or help find any of these artworks, please follow the steps above and note you would like to research the entries.

Inventories and indexes

Additional information about Anne Lister's books and periodicals.

Note: Transcription of SH:3/L/92 completed, SH:7/ML/MISC/7 in progress

Between 3-5 June, 1846 the contents of the Shibden Hall library were sold in an auction at the Northgate Hotel. The document transcribed below contains the full inventory of items for sale, which includes books and maps that belonged to Anne Lister. The original booklet is available from for consultation at WYAS Calderdale under catalogue finding number SH:3/L/92.

WYAS SH-3-L-92-transcription-LL

In addition to the above, Ash Overholt Lounsbury has created a list of every book mentioned in Helena Whitbread's book The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister: Volume I (also known as I Know My Own Heart), linking to currently available online versions for each item.