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Rossetti, Christina Georgina (1830-1894) and Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Princeton University Library Collection of Christina Georgina Rossetti Materials
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
circa 1850-1894
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists primarily of signed autograph manuscripts--over 50 letters and 19 poems--of Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894), a poet and sister of Dante Gabriel and William Michael Rossetti.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of signed, autograph manuscripts--42 letters and 19 poems--of Rossetti. Among the sonnets, lyrics, and spiritual verses are "Autumn," "A Discovery," "A Hopeless Case (Nydia)," "My Old Friends," "Ruin," "River Thames," and "Winter, A Christmas Carol." Addressees of the letters include William Bryant, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and her brother Dante Gabriel. All of the poems and most of the letters are undated. Other Rossetti material are a receipt (signed, autograph document, 1871) given to Roberts Brothers on the sale of Poems and a memo (1860) addressed to the editor of The Cornhill Magazine. There are four letters from her sister, Maria Francesca, addressed to Edith Bevir, and one letter to Christina from Jean Ingelow. In addition, there is an essay by MacKenzie Bell entitled "Christina Rossetti: A Criticism," with letters to Bell.

A significant addition is a manuscript copy (56 pp., circa 1850), in Christina"s hand, of "The Life of Giovanni Boccaccio by Gaetano Polidori," an unpublished biography written by her grandfather, Gaetano Polidori. The cover bears a signed inscription by Polidori, dated 7 December 1852, presenting the manuscript to Francesca Rossetti, his daughter and mother of Christina. Included is a note (1898) by William Michael Rossetti explaining the family history behind the manuscript.

Collection Creator Biography:

Rossetti, Christina Georgina

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) achieved fame in her lifetime as a poet, based primarily upon the publication in 1862 of the volume Goblin Market and Other Poems. She published The Prince's Progress in 1866 and A Pageant in 1881, as well as devotional manuals and works of religious edification, which reflect her profoundly religious temperament. Although her father's anti-establishment influence prevented her from being a Roman Catholic, she was High Church Anglican.

Her older sister Maria Francesca Rossetti (1827-1876) followed her equally strong religious inclinations by entering an Anglican sisterhood at All Saints' Home in 1874, after her brother William's marriage freed her from domestic responsibilities. Up until that time she had also occupied herself in teaching Italian and in religious educational work. Her commentary on Dante, A Shadow of Dante, was published in 1871.

Their older brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) achieved fame as both a painter and a poet. He studied drawing at King's College, London, and painting at the Royal Academy. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite School of Painting and enjoyed the patronage of John Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites' champion in the press. His poetic gift is reflected both in his translations of Italian poetry, published in 1861, and in his original poems, published in volumes which appeared in 1870 and in 1881.

The fourth Rossetti sibling, William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), served in the Excise Office, later the Inland Revenue Board, from 1845 until his retirement in 1894. As well as being an active reviewer and art critic, he edited the poetic works of his brother Dante Gabriel and his sister Christina.

The Rossetti and Heimann families met because the Rossetti's father Gabriele was professor of Italian at King's College, London, an appointment he held starting in 1831, and Adolf Heimann was professor of German at University College. Their acquaintance began when the families agreed to exchange Italian lessons for German lessons. It grew into a friendship which lasted through the century.

Collection History


The collection was formed as a result of a departmental practice of combining into one collection manuscript material of various accessions relating to a particular author. A Seven Gables purchase constitutes a major portion of the collection. Other materials were purchased from a variety of sources between 1977 and 2020.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2005. Finding aid written in 2005.

Biography written by Alyxandra Cullen, '09.

New acquisitions were added to the finding aid by Kelly Bolding in October 2019 and February 2020.

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:

Princeton University Library Collection of Christina Georgina Rossetti Materials; 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

Find More


The following sources were consulted during preparation of biographical note: Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

Subject Terms:
English poetry -- 19th century.
Poets, English -- 19th century.
Women poets, English -- 19th century.
Genre Terms:
Boccaccio, Giovanni, 1313-1375.
Polidori, Gaetano, 1764-1853