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Collection Overview

Leland, Charles Godfrey, 1824-1903.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Charles Godfrey Leland Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
2 boxes, 10 items, and 2.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-2


The Charles Godfrey Leland Collection consists of writings, correspondence, and miscellanea of the American editor, humorist, essayist, and folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of poetry and prose manuscripts, letters by and to Leland, and other correspondence. Among the manuscripts in the collection is a notebook, titled "Essays and Extracts from Old Books and Writers" (1841-1843), in which Leland copied extracts from Hobbes, Spinoza, and others, as well as his own essays. Poetry manuscripts include "Educatio Diaboli" (1842 or 1843), "Serenade" (1842), and "Witch Songs" (undated). Several of the letters by Leland were written while he was a student at the College of New Jersey (one gives a very entertaining account of his suspension in 1842); and others refer to the formation of the American Students' Union, a group which fostered social correspondence between the classes of different universities.

The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identify materials in this collection: ALS = autograph letter signed, AN = autograph note, AMsS = autograph manuscript signed, ADS = autograph document signed.

Collection Creator Biography:

Leland, Charles Godfrey, 1824-1903.

Charles Godfrey Leland was born on 15 August 1824 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Charles and Charlotte Leland. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1845, and also studied in Heidelberg and Munich, Germany.

A humorist, poet, essayist, and editor, Leland, is not well known today, although his Hans Breitmann (fictional German persona) ballads enjoyed an immense popularity (1860s-1890s). He edited such well-known publications as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Knickerbocker Magazine, Continental Magazine, and the Philadelphia Press.

Leland was also very interested in the mysterious and occult, as well as gypsy lore and language. His extensive writings include several books on these topics: The Poetry and Mystery of Dreams (compiler, 1856), The English Gypsies and Their Language (1873), The Gypsies (1882), Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling (1891), and Old Rabbit the Voodoo and Other Sorcerers (1893).

Leland died on 20 March 1903 in Florence, Italy.

Collection History


Various AM. Letter to Messrs Dalziel purchased from Antiquarian Bookseller Center in 1977.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ran Tao, Princeton Class of 2006 in 2004. Finding aid written by Ran Tao, Princeton Class of 2006 in 2004.

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:

Charles Godfrey Leland 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:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-2

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm exists for the materials housed in folders 3A, 10A, and 13A [microfilm made in April 2003].

Subject Terms:
College students -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- 19th century.
College verse, American -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- 19th century.
Student suspension -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- 19th century.
Genre Terms:
American Students' Union
Princeton University