Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Cowper, William, 1731-1800
Joseph Hill Collection of William Cowper
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1716-1825 (mostly 1760-1810)
1 box and 0.25 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1


The Joseph Hill Collection of William Cowper consists of correspondence between Cowper, a famed British poet, and Hill, his close friend and mentor.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists primarily of correspondence of Joseph Hill with Cowper and with members of the Cowper circle of family and friends. Four letters by Cowper are included. The collection also contains miscellaneous financial documents, engravings, and a copy of a poem about Cowper.


Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Collection Creator Biography:

Cowper, William, 1731-1800

William Cowper was an English poet. Born in 1731 in Great Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Cowper was schooled in Markyate and Winchester and trained for a career in law. However, he found himself ill-suited for the profession and instead was appointed a commissioner in bankruptcy. He suffered from severe mental instability and was institutionalized on several occasions. A true romantic, Cowper wrote much of his poetry in honor of the women in his life. Among his most famous compositions are The Task and The Journey of John Gilpin. Cowper died in 1800.

Joseph Hill was a close friend of Cowper who served as his mentor in matters of business.

Collection History

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2002. Finding aid written in 2002.

Biography written by Jessica Marati, '08.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Credit this material:

Joseph Hill Collection of William Cowper; 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 (mss): Box 1

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The following sources were consulted during preparation of biographical note: Biography from British Authors Before 1800 (1952).

Subject Terms:
Poets, English -- 18th century.
Genre Terms:
Hill, Joseph