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Anna Maria Farswell commonplace book


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Little is known about Anna Maria Farswell, but she lived in Alphington Cottage in Devon, England and was active around 1816. Given her literacy, she was probably educated.

The Christian Observer, which is the source of numerous writings and hymns in this volume, was a London-based evangelical periodical that circulated from 1802 to 1877. It was founded by William Hey and Zachary Macaulay.

Olney Hymns, which is repeatedly quoted in this volume, was published in 1779 by John Newton and William Cowper and contains the hymn, "Amazing Grace."


The Christian Observer, 1802–77. Science in the nineteenth-century periodical. (n.d.).

O'Bannon, K. (n.d.). Olney hymns. Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Anna Maria Farswell created this commonplace book in Devon, England from around 1802 to 1817. The volume contains excerpts from religious readings, hymns, and literature.

The volume appears to have been rebound without several of the original pages, leaving the creator's pagination only sporadically present. As such, the cataloger has supplied pagination, which is referenced below.

Farswell is identified as the compiler of this volume (p. i), but another individual, Anna Camilla Rol (Roe?), 1849 is identified on the last page of the volume (p. 186). All of the entries appear to be contemporary to Farswell in the early 19th century and there is no indication that Rol contributed to this volume with the exception of her signature.

The volume contains numerous hymns, including several from the Christian Observer (p. 8-11) and Olney Hymns (p. 23-25). There are also unattributed, untitled hymns, in addition to titled hymns such as, "O thou who dry'st the mourner's tear" by Thomas Moore (p. 66).

The volume also contains excerpts from secular writings, including Sir Joshua Reynolds' "On Painting" (p. 85-106) and from the poem "The fire worshippers" from Thomas Moore's Lallah Rookh (p. 143-147).

There are excerpts from authors and poets including, John Bowdler, esq. (p. 37), Montaigne (p. 42-43), Lord Byron (p. 52, 151), and Revered John Marriott (p. 111).

There are also excerpts from Henry Hunter's Sacred Biography, or, The history of patriarchs. (p. 126-134).

Sold by Modern First Editions, 2021.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
Finding Aid Date
2024 February 27
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Anna Maria Farswell commonplace book, circa 1802-1817, 1849.
Volume 1

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