Horace Walpole Family Collection
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
Horace Walpole was the third son of Sir Robert Walpole. From 1741 to 1747 he was a member of Parliament. In 1747 he acquired a small villa at Twickenham, near London, and transformed it into a Gothic showplace known as Strawberry Hill. Over the years he added cloisters, turrets, and battlements, filled the interior with pictures and curios, and amassed a valuable library. Walpole established a private press on the grounds, where he printed his own works and those of his friends. Strawberry Hill was the stimulus for the Gothic revival in English domestic architecture. Walpole's literary output was extremely varied. The Castle of Otranto (1765), which was first published anonymously, succeeded in restoring the element of romance to contemporary fiction, and his private correspondence of some 4,000 letters constitutes a survey of the history, manners, and taste of his age.
The collection consists of selected letters of Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, and documents of his father, Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford. In a letter to Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, dated January 12, 1775, Walpole relates that he is closing the "Strawberry Hill" printing press due to health reasons. There are two letters from Walpole to the Duc de Nivernais, dated January 6, 1785, and February 1, 1785, thanking the Duke for his translation into French of Walpole's Essay on Modern Gardening and for allowing him to print it at Strawberry Hill. There is also a letter from Princess Amelia to Walpole, dated June 17, 1786, and endorsed by Walpole; and there is another letter to "My Lord," dated March 17 (n.y.)
Included are four documents signed by Robert Walpole: a warrant to pay Samuel Grice £400 on November 19, 1724, signed by Walpole and others; a warrant to pay £50 to Francis Earl of Godolphin, dated September, 1732; a warrant to pay Henry Beeston, dated May, 1734; and a warrant to pay John Pitt, dated August 14, 1739.
In addition, there are several illustations: a steel engraving of Horace Walpole at the age of ten, engraved by Samuel Smith, dated 1857; a wood engraved portrait of his father Robert by Thomas Chambars; and a stipple engraved portrait also of Robert Walpole, by Edward Harding.
Organized by accession number.
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.
Letters to the Duc de Nivernais were tipped in a copy of Essay on Modern Gardening, Princeton University Catalogue number (Ex) 3862.7.64, removed on February 28, 1951.
Letter to "My Lord," was tipped in the same above book, and removed on February 28, 1951.
Letter of Princess Amelia was tipped in the same above book, and removed on February 28, 1951.
Documents and engravings of Robert Walpole were a gift of James D. Pitney, Princeton Class of 1943, on June 8, 1965.
Letter to Philip Yorke was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Cahn, Jr., Princeton Class of 1933, on November 21, 1980.
Warrant to pay Samuel Grice was purchased on November 8, 1983.
Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.
No appraisal information is available.
- Nivernais, Louis Jules Barbon Mancini-Mazarini, duc de, 1716-1798, Correspondence
- Walpole, Robert, Earl of Orford, 1676-1745
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research use.
- 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.