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Collection Overview

Wild, John, d. 1855
John Wild Autograph Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1548-1904 (mostly 1800-1850)
2 boxes, 2 items, and 36 Volumes
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2


Consists of over 2,000 autograph items of prominent English and European figures from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries compiled by the English collector John Wild.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of over 2,000 autograph items of prominent English and European figures--the great and near great, the noteworthy and notorious--from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries. Groups of individuals represented in the collection include writers, lawyers, actors and actresses, opera stars, naval and military heroes, explorers, artists, clergyman, politicians, doctors and medical researchers, and royalty. While the emphasis is on autographs of Englishmen/women, there is a good number of French manuscripts, particularly two volumes of items dating from the French Revolution and the First Empire. By far, the largest group of manuscripts (8 volumes) consists of correspondence from mainly English 19th-century artists and engravers.

Included are a letter (1550) by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to Pope Julius III against new Church policies; a document (1576) by Elizabeth I ordering from the Master of the Wardrobe various cloths, "two Greate hammers," and a large iron shovel; documents and letters by Louis XIV (1674-1715), Louis XV (1724), and Louis Philippe (1816); a document (1720) signed by Issac Newton; a letter (1779) of fatherly advice by George III to his son William IV; and three letters (1786-1792) by Lavoisier. There is one volume devoted to the letters of cardinals, ranging from 1550 to 1738.

Other notable names, by groups, include: artistic--Fielding, Reynolds, Turner; literary--Congreve, Goethe, Moore, Rousseau, Voltaire; military/naval--Bligh, Cook, Lafayette, Napoleon, Nelson, Wellington; theatrical--Booth, Kean, Siddons; and royal--Charles I, Charles II, Eugene of Savoy, Ferdinand I, George III, James I, James II, Sigismund II Augustus, and William III. In addition, the collection contains, bound with the manuscripts in a grangerized manner, numerous engravings, mezzotints, and other types of prints.

Volumes 16, 18, 31, 32, 33, and 42 do not exist. Volume 40 was disbound and can be found in Box 1. Box 2 contains related lists and photographs.


Each volume has a title, such as "Theatrical" or "Literary," that generally describes the area of its contents.

Collection Creator Biography:

Wild, John, d. 1855

John Wild, the English compiler of this collection, began collecting autographs shortly after the Napoleonic Wars and continued until his death in 1855.

Collection History


John Wild, the English compiler of this collection, began collecting autographs shortly after the Napoleonic Wars and continued until his death in 1855. The collection remained in the possession of the family, passing in 1929 to R. N. Carew Hunt, Wild's great grandson, who published a book of letters selected from the volumes in 1930. Later acquired from an English dealer by Robert Taylor, Princeton Class of 1930, the collection was donated to Princeton in 1953, Mr. Taylor retaining for his own interest approximately 20 items.


Collection Revised LITMSS record 11/06/90

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

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.

Credit this material:

John Wild Autograph Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2

Find More


Unpublished Letters from the Collection of John Wild (New York, N.Y.: Dial Press, 1930), edited and selected by H. N. Carew Hunt.

Subject Terms:
Actors -- England -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Actresses -- England -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Art, English -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Artists -- England -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Authors, English -- 18th century -- Autographs.
Authors, English -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Authors, French -- 18th century -- Autographs.
Authors, French -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Clergy -- England -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Diplomats -- France -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Engravers -- England -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Nobility -- France -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Nobility -- Great Britain -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Opera -- England -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Opera -- Italy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Opera producers and directors -- England -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Opera producers and directors -- Italy -- 19th century -- Autographs.
Politicians -- Great Britain -- 18th century -- Autographs.
Theater -- England -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Church of England
France. Armée
Great Britain. Army
Great Britain. Royal Navy
Great Britain -- Kings and rulers -- Autographs.
France -- History -- Consulate and First Empire, 1799-1815 -- Sources.
France -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799 -- Sources.
France -- History, Military -- 1789-1815 -- Sources.
France -- Kings and rulers -- Autographs.
Great Britain -- History, Military -- 19th century -- Sources.
Great Britain -- History, Naval -- 18th century -- Sources.
Great Britain -- History, Naval -- 19th century -- Sources.
Great Britain -- Kings and rulers -- Autographs.
Great Britain -- History, Military -- 18th century -- Sources.