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Princeton University Library Collection of William Cowper Materials

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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 primarily of the correspondence of Cowper with some other documents, including a manuscript, notes, and memorabilia. Also included is the correspondence of family, friends, and associates, much of which relates to Cowper. Some of the correspondents include John Flaxman, Samuel Rose, Samuel Teedon, William Hayley, John Johnson, Joseph Johnson, John Newton, and Thomas Park.

The following sources were consulted during preparation of biographical note: The Cowper and Newton Museum.

The collection was formed as a result of a departmental practice of combining into one collection manuscript material of various accessions relating to a particular author.

The collection has resulted from the miscellaneous gifts of numerous donors and purchases over the years.

Gifts of Charles Ryskamp, A.N.L. Munby, and others.

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 Alyxandra Cullen, '09.

Finding aid updated by Faith Charlton in August 2015.

No appraisal information is available.

Publisher
Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Faith Charlton
Finding Aid Date
1998
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

Primarily includes correspondence with some writings and other documents.

Arrangement

Organized by document type.

Physical Description

1 box

Scope and Contents

Consists of the correspondence of William Cowper with individuals such as Samuel Teedon, Samuel Rose, John Newton, and Joseph Johnson. Most are letters from Cowper.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by sender.

Physical Description

1 box

Letter to Samuel Rose, 1788 June 6. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Contains a vociferous attack on Edward Gibbon and his religious beliefs; also mentions visits by John Newton and Lady Hesketh.

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Joseph Johnson, 1789 February 17. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

2 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Lady Hesketh, 1790 June 6. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

4 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Samuel Rose, 1791 January 23. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

4 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Henry Cowper, 1791 November 18. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

4 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Samuel Rose, 1793 February 17. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

4 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to William Hayley, 1793 July 7. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Photocopy made in 1972. (Original at the Society of Antiquarians, Newcastle on Tyre.)

4 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Samuel Teedon, 1793 August 10. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

3 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Jeremiah Waring, 1793 September 14. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

3 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to William Hayley, 1793 December 8. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

2 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Letter to Samuel Teedon, undated. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

1 page

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Newton, John, 1725-1807, Letter to William Cowper, 1770 March 2. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

4 pages

Includes an engraving of Newton (1807).

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Scope and Contents

Consists of documents, writings, and images of William Cowper.

Physical Description

1 box

Translation of Iliad Passage, undated. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Translation by Cowper of 7 lines from a passage in the 20th Book of the Iliad

Physical Description

1 folder

Miscellaneous Notes, Receipts, and Documents, circa 1759-1793. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Miscellaneous Pictures, undated. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes reproduced images of William and Thomas Cowper.

Physical Description

1 folder

Scope and Contents

Primarily consists of the correspondence of other individuals related to William Cowper. Cowper is often the subject.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by creator.

Physical Description

1 box

Cowper, Frances Maria, 1726-1797, Letter from Richard Hughes, 1758 September 4. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, Francis Thomas de Grey, Earl of, 1834-1905, Letters, 1877 January 12-February 27. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

2 letters.

Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, Henry, Papers, 1820-1840. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes a letter to Rev. Joseph S. Pratt and an obituary for Cowper.

Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, Thomas, Indenture between Cowper and Robert Pockham, 1689 January 20. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, William, Letter to His Son, John Cowper, 1634 February 25. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, William Cowper, Earl, approximately 1665-1723, Letter to His Mother, 1672 October 27. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cowper, William Cowper, Earl, approximately 1665-1723, Letter to His Wife, Mary Clavering, 1718 June 24. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Cranstoun, George, Lord Corehouse, d. 1850, Letter Concerning William Cowper, 1846 December 20. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Flaxman, John, 1755-1826, Letter to William Hayley, 1784 November 4. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

A.L.s.

Includes note and two engravings of John Flaxman.

Physical Description

1 folder

Flaxman, Nancy [Mrs. John Flaxman], Letter to William Hayley, 1812 February 5-6. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Gauntlett, Henry, Letters to Robert Bolton, 1821 March 6-April 24. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Greatheed, Samuel, Letter to Robert Bolton, 1821 March 23. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Hesketh, Harriet, Lady, 1733-1807, Letters, 1787 July 5. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Letters are likely to Rev. William Bull or Rev. John Newton.

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Johnson, John, 1769-1833, Letter to Earl Spencer, 1814 April. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

2 pages

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Johnson, John, 1769-1833, Letter to William Upcott, 1823 February 24. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

2 pages

Includes an engraving of John Johnson (1836).

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

Dr. Kerr (Cowper's physician), Letter to Captain Bell, 1819 May 13. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Newton, John, 1725-1807, Letter to Hannah More, 1793 December 10. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Park, Thomas, 1759-1834, Papers, circa 1799-1823. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes 2 letters to John Johnson. One dated 1799 includes a poem titled, "On reading the Reverend Mr. Johnson's letter from S. Dereham"; his 1823 letter includes a poem titled, "On receiving, as a posthumous memorial, a pair of green-glass spectacles, which had belonged to the author of 'The Task.'" Also included is an engraving of Park by Wedgewood.

Physical Description

1 folderA.L.s.

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