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Mary Randolph Letters to Penelope Pennington


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

Randolph, Mary, d. 1842.

Mary Randolph was the daughter of William Hillhouse of Bristol, England, and the wife of Rev. Dr. Francis Randolph, D.D., Cannon of Bristol Rectory of Covent Garden, London. Mary Randolph traveled with her husband when he accompanied the Duke of Kent to live in Amorbach, Germany, in 1818, after he married Victoria Mary Louisa, Princess of Saxe-Coburg. Penelope Sophia Weston Pennington was married to William Pennington, an American colonist who returned to England. When the Randolphs went abroad, they offered the Penningtons their house on Lower Green, with the staff of servants which they left behind. Penelope Pennington was part of the literary world of Hester Lynch Piozzi, Anna Seward, and their circle.

The collection consists of seventeen letters of Mary Randolph to her friend Penelope Pennington. Most of the letters were written at Amorbach, where Mary resided with her husband, the Rev. Dr. Francis Randolph; others were sent from Bologna, Frankfurt, Geneva, and Stuttgart. The subjects of the letters are varied and mundane. They describe life in Germany and Randolph's new house there. She writes about the British or European royalty that she has met, fashion in Germany, European customs, the high cost of everything, the evenings they spent with the Duke and Duchess and how she instructed the Duchess on Scottish music. She talks about the food and the wine, their new maid and cook, new acquaintances, mutual friends, including Gabriel Piozzi, the weather, their travels in Europe, and dinner parties they gave and ones they were invited to. In one of her letters, Randolph writes about the price of the black fabric and hat she had to buy in anticipation of the funeral for Queen Charlotte, mother of the Duke of Kent. She also mentions her servants back in their home in England, which she has offered to the Penningtons to live in while they are in Germany. Included are handwritten and typed transcripts of the letters, together with explanations of events, short biographies of the author, her husband, and some of the people mentioned in the letters. In addition, there are three letters (1913) from Charles Taylor to "Dear Sir" regarding the Hillhouse and Randolph families& genealogies, with ink drawings of coats of arms of the families. There is one letter (1913) from Frank Bright to Charles Taylor (?) regarding Rev. Randolph's letters, in response to questions about the Randolph family history.

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

Transcripts: Gift of Robert P. Metzdorf on December 12, 1961.

Original letters: Purchased on December 12, 1964.

Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

16 Letters to Penelope Sophia Weston Pennington (Transcripts), 1818-1819. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

16 Letters to Penelope Sophia Weston Pennington (Transcripts), 1818-1819. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

16 Autograph Letters to Penelope Sophia Weston Pennington, 1813-1819. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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