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Kenneth Povey Collection of William Cowper

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Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Cowper, William, 1731-1800

William Cowper was an English poet. Born in 1731 in Great Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Cowper was schooled in Markyate and Winchester and trained for a career in law. However, he found himself ill-suited for the profession and instead was appointed a commissioner in bankruptcy. He suffered from severe mental instability and was institutionalized on several occasions. A true romantic, Cowper wrote much of his poetry in honor of the women in his life. Among his most famous compositions are The Task and The Journey of John Gilpin. Cowper died in 1800.

Joseph Hill was a close friend of Cowper who served as his mentor in matters of business.

Consists of letters, manuscripts, documents, and memorabilia relating to Cowper, collected by Kenneth Povey. Correspondents include John Johnson, William Hayley, and John Newton. The collection includes one signed, autograph letter of Cowper; a document signed by Cowper in 1758 as Commissioner of Bankrupts; a copy by John Johnson of a fragment of a diary by Cowper, published in the London Mercury, 1927, as "Cowper's Spiritual Diary"; and a volume containing 20 watercolor "Illustrations from Cowper's TASK" (1837) by "NN".

The following sources were consulted during preparation of biographical note: Biography from British Authors Before 1800 (1952).

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

This collection was processed in 1998. Finding aid written in 1998.

Biography written by Jessica Marati, '08.

Publisher
Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
1998
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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Collection Inventory

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to Samuel Greatheed, 1793 September 1. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

A.l.s. to John Newton (photostat), circa 1785 April 15. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

A.l.s. to Samuel Rose, Waston(photostat), 1792 January 1. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

A.l.s. to William Unwin(facsimile), 1779 October 31. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

"An exact copy of some very affecting lines written by our dear afflicted friend." Copy by John Johnson, 1797 (?), published as "Cowper's Spiritual Diary," London Mercury, 1927 March. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

"Memoirs of William Cowper, Esq. `till the age of 40. Written by himself." Anonymous copy of the Autobiography, circa 1815. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

(with a copy of a letter from Mr. Newton to Dr. Stuart about Cowper)

Physical Description

1 folder

Document signed by Cowper as Commissioner of Bankrupts, circa 1758. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

"Twenty Illustrations from Cowper's Task", 1837. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

(album of watercolor drawings by an amateur, signed with a monogram, apparently NN.)

Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

"Genealogical abstract of will of Dame Ann Austen...", 1796 November 30. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Last will and testament (facsimile), dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

"Dean Spencer Cowper's Poetical Miscellany", circa 1750-1774. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

(spine of volume lettered "Cowper Poems Ms.")

Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to William Hayley, 1800 September 9. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

A.l.s. to William Hayley, 1800 September 18. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

A.l.s. to William Hayley, 1800 October 4. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

"Memoranda respecting Cowper the poet.", circa 1803. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

(negative from John Rylands Library)

Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A.n.s. to William Cowper, 1793 March 4. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to Samuel Rose, with postscript on cover, 1804 April 4. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to Mrs. Ricketts, undated. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to William Hayley, 1800 January 29. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

signed "Johnny of Norfolk" (with page of verse in Cowper's hand, translation of Iliad XVIII, 590-605, with notes)

Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to Reverend Caleb Warhurst, 1763 September 3. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to Samuel Richardson, 1756 October 9. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

A.l.s. to Samuel Richardson, 1756 December 2. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Last will (positive photostat), 1774 June 15. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A.l.s. to William Hayley, 1809 March 26. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

A.l.s. to William Hayley, 1809 April 2. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Parody of Cowper: "Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness" (photostat), dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

11 A.l.s.s. to C. R. Broughton, 1803-1822 and a manuscript abstract in English which includes a missing letter, October 23, 1802, referring to Lady Austen, 1803-1822. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Last will and testament (photostatic copy), 1767 July 17. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

A. l. s. to John Newton, 1767 October 19. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

"A Brief Notice of my visit to the Reverend John Johnson L.L.D. the poet Cowper's Johnny of Norfolk", 1845 January 1. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

H.H. Tansley, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

William Cowper Esq., dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

William Cowper Esq., dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, from the painting by Abbot in the National Portrait Gallery, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper (silhouette in Cowper Museum), dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

William Cowper Esq., dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

William Cowper Esq., dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

William Cowper Esq., dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Reverend William Bull, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Earl Cowper, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Nathaniel Cotton, M.D., dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

H. Hesketh, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Lady Austen, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

John Johnson, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Mrs. Charlotte Smith, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Cowper's Monument in Earl Dereham's Church in Norfolk, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Olney Church, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Corton Church, Suffolk, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Eartham, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

The Reverend Dr. Johnson Tanham Parsonage, Norfolk, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Description

1 box

Fragment of lace made by Susan Wheeler, William Cowper's servant, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Fragment of William Cowper's bed-curtains, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cutting of Lady Austen's dress, now in Cowper Museum, dates not examined. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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