Christie-Miller, Wakefield

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Wakefield Christy was the second son of Thomas Christy Esq., of Broomfield in Essex, and Jane Sandwith, daughter of Thomas Christy Wakefield Esq. of Moyallen, Co Down. He married, in 1872, his cousin, Mary Elizabeth Richardson, succeeded his uncle, Samuel Miller Christy Esq. of Britwell Court in Buckinghamshire, and Craigentinny in Midlothian in 1889, and changed his name to Christie Miller in 1890. He inherited the famous Britwell Library, founded by William Henry Miller, and continued by Samuel. He, too, added some important items, including books from Lamport Hall in 1893. After his death, his son Sydney Richardson Christie Miller dispersed the library in a series of sales beginning with a few duplicates placed at Sotheby's as “The property of a gentleman” 2 June 1908 lots 273 287, as “The property of S. R. Christie Miller Esq.” 15 December 1908 lots 428 506, and as “Books from the Britwell Court Library” 24 February 1910 (450 lots). Finally in the summer of 1916, Sotheby's catalogued the Americana for sale but the whole contents of the catalogue were purchased by George D. Smith of New York, acting for Henry E. Huntington who chose what he wanted and sold the remainder by auction in New York 24 January 1917. The remainder of the library was sold in twenty one sales at Sotheby's from 15 August 1916 to 25 July 1927, the owner retaining a small collection of first editions of nineteenth century English authors for his own use. He also projected a complete catalogue of the earlier books in the library, which was eventually published as The Britwell handlist (London, 1933).

Seat / Residence(s): 
Britwell Court, Buckinghamshire
Biographical Sources: 
The Britwell handlist: or Short title catalogue of the principal volumes from the time of Caxton to the year 1800 formerly in the library of Britwell Court Buckinghamshire. 2 vols. London, 1933.