The cabinet de lecture - a commercial rental or subscription library - was a popular source of reading materials in nineteenth century France.
The Kelly Library owns the partial collections of two such libraries:
- the Desbois cabinet from Bordeaux (Gironde)
- a cabinet of unknown ownership from Domfront (Orne)
There is also a parish library from Bourgueil (Indre-et-Loire) and a small number of books from the Bouquerot cabinet and from the Colinette-Fleury cabinet in Baugé (Maine-et-Loire).
In addition to novels, these cabinets often included periodicals, memoirs, and travel literature, and sometimes religion, history, and philosophy.
Le Cabinet de lecture, Johann Peter Hasenclever (1843), Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.