William Wordsworth 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
William Wordsworth was one of the major English poets of the Romantic era. Born in April 7, 1770, in Cumberland, England, he later attended Cambridge University. His first sonnet was published in the same year. He went on to write such celebrated poems as "Tintern Abbey" and the ode "Intimations of Immortality". Wordworth helped launch the Romantic Age with the publication of Lyrical Ballads (1798) with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was to remain a lifelong friend and colleague. He was named Poet Laureate in 1843 and received honorary degrees from Durham and Oxford Universities. The Prelude, published posthumously after his death in 1850, is considered to be his greatest work.
The collection consists of selected autograph manuscript poems and correspondence of England's 1843 Poet Laureate William Wordsworth. Poems included are "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways" (an 1828 copy), "A Character" (1800), and three poems from Epitaphs(1810): "Weep not, beloved friends! Nor let the air . . ." (I), "True is it that Ambrosio Salinero . . ." (V), "O flower of all that springs from gentle blood . . ." (VII). Also included are "To the Moon" (written at Rydal, 1835), "To the Moon, Composed by the Sea-side on the Coast of Cumberland" (1835), "Upon Seeing a Coloured Drawing of the Bird of Paradise in an Album" (1835); "If thou indeed derive thy light from heaven . . ." (1832), "Six months to six years added he remained . . ." (1836), and "On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott from Abbotsford, for Naples" (1831) from Yarrow Revisited, And Other Poems. A poem beginning "By smiles of playful glee--too oft," which is signed and inscribed to Lady Farquhar and dated Elleray, August 7, 1841, contains several differences from the published text (1842). There is also an untitled, undated poem beginning "O wiser thou, pause not nor turn thee back." Some of the manuscripts are in the hand of Wordsworth's wife, Mary, with holograph revisions by the poet.
The correspondence includes a letter to G. Huntly Gordon (1830) and one to Lord Holland (1806) with a portrait of Wordsworth, as well as three letters to unidentified individuals. There is also an undated letter from Henry Hallan.
Folders are arranged in accession number order.
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.
Signed autograph letter from Henry Hallan was a purchase, September 17, 1986
Unidentified letter dated March 24, 1844, was a gift of Charles August David Burk, Princeton Class of 1909, on April 26, 1937.
Unidentified letter dated Sept. 24, 1840, was laid in a book that was a 1st edition of a Wordsworth book The Prelude which was a purchase, in May 1942.
The manuscript poem "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways" was a gift of Jordan A. Block, Princeton Class of 1936, on November 7, 1957.
The manuscript poem "On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott . . ." was a gift of John S. Williams, Princeton Class of 1924, in October 1964.
The manuscript poem "O wiser thou . . ." and letter to G. H. Gordon were purchases made on August 13, 1968.
Signed autograph letter to Lord Holland was a purchase on October 2, 1968.
The manuscript poem "By smiles of playful glee . . ." was a gift of Mrs. William H. Morris (Mr. Morris was a member of the Princeton Class of 1932) on May 6, 1975. Various AM.
This collection was processed by Dina Britain on December 5, 2008. Finding aid written by Natalie Kim on December 9, 2008. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (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.