ARB’s Shakespeare Collection

Book Plate

The Archives and Rare Books Library at the University of Cincinnati holds over 250 Shakespearean volumes from the private collection of the late Mr. Enoch T. Carson. A little history on the man behind the collection: born on September 18, 1822 to William J. and Margaret Carson on the west side of Cincinnati, Enoch T. Carson was to become a prominent citizen of the city. As a boy and young man, he worked on his family’s farm as well as attending school in the country. His first employment outside of his family was as a toll collector at the age of twenty-three. He continued to hold this position for three years. To pass what would have been mundane hours, Carson wisely chose to use his time for reading and furthering his education on his own.

Carson joined the Masonic Order in 1845 and became a Master Mason that December. Between 1845 and his death in 1899, he held many different positions within the Masons, including Royal Arch Mason, Royal and Select Master, Knight Templar, Scottish Rite Degrees, Sovereign Grand Inspector General, member of the Supreme Council, Worshipful Master, Eminent Commander, Grand Commander , Sovereign Prince of Dalcho Council o Princes of Jerusalem, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ohio Consistory.

Enoch Carson

In 1848, Carson was elected as a representative as a deputy to the sheriff by the Whig party. After two years serving as deputy, Carson took a position with the Hamilton and Dayton Railroad Company which he continued for the next two years. By 1852, Carson was appointed chief deputy. He held his post through 1856. In 1861, Carson was honored with being appointed by President Lincoln as Collector of the Cincinnati port during the war. When 1866 rolled around, Carson decided to take a break and travel. Returning later that year, he re-devoted himself to his work until 1868 when he sold his business to help John Bell develop land at the Mill Creek Bottom.  He returned to the lamp and gas business in 1871. That same year, he was elected as a member of the Board of Park Commissioners, a position he held for the remainder of his life.

Although the stacks of the archives are closed to the public, we are more than happy to grab a volume or two for the public to look at while in the library. We will also be holding special exhibits throughout the year featuring this marvelous collection. Please come and check these amazing works out. They are meant to be enjoyed!