Much has been written about the life and long works of the eighteenth century epistolary novelist, Samuel Richardson, but the prospect of his position as the first celebrity novelist – responsible for courting his own fame as well as initiating his own fan club – has largely been ignored. This book aims to show how his manuscript letters were turned into asaleable commodity by the publisher and entrepreneurRichard Phillips, while under the guiding hand ofanother, slightly later, literary celebrity, AnnaLaetitia Barbauld. Barbauld’s capacious, but heavilyedited selection of letters is analyzed here,providing ample evidence that Richardson’scorrespondents were more than just eager letter writers. A close reading of Barbauld’s biography of Richardson uncovers how she manipulates the genre of life writing in her construction of him. This book offers an alternative reading of how the Richardson manuscripts are viewed, redefining them as not simplya collection of letters, but as a collective entity,deliberately selected and archived as evidence of anearly modern fan club, and its celebrity managingdirector.