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Collection Overview

Rossetti, William Michael, 1829-1919
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
William Michael Rossetti Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


The William Michael Rossetti Collection consists of manuscripts, sketches, correspondence, and miscellanea of the English art critic and essayist William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of original letters and manuscripts of William Michael Rossetti, one of the Pre-Raphaelite "brothers." Rossetti's correspondents include Charles Aldrich, William M. Colles, E. H. Leggatt, Everard Meynell, David M. Main, Frederick Locker, Ford Madox Ford, Theodore Watts-Dunton, Walter Severn, Octavia Susman, and others. The manuscripts include an introduction to Miscellaneous Essays, Sketches, and Reviews, a volume of William Makepeace Thackeray's works; two undated essays attributed to Rossetti entitled "Flowers in Ancient Egypt" and "The Gardens of Ancient Egypt;" a prefatory note to Charles Dicken's Pictures from Italy; and a biographical sketch of Ford Madox Brown. Also present are several drawings and three photographs of Rossetti and family members, and a small selection of miscellanea, including an article on Italian history and the politics of the Papacy by Rossetti's father, Gabriele Rossetti.

The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identify materials in this collection: ALS = autograph letter signed, ACS = autograph card signed, ANS = autograph note signed, AMs = autograph manuscript, and TMs = typed manuscript.


Organized into four series: Writings and Artwork, Correspondence, Unidentified Correspondence, and Documents and Miscellaneous Material.

Collection Creator Biography:

Rossetti, William Michael, 1829-1919

William Rossetti, brother to Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Christina Rossetti, as well as art critic and literary editor, was born on September 25, 1829. When he was sixteen years old, Rossetti started working in the Excise Office. In 1850 he started working for The Spectator as an art critic, and between the two jobs helped support the entire Rossetti family. In 1894, Rossetti stopped working at the Excise Office, by then known as the Inland Revenue Office. He was the diarist for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and editor of the associated journal The Germ. He also edited volumes of poetry by his siblings, and put together D.G. Rossetti: A Memoir with Family Letters in 1895. In addition to these editorial accomplishments, Rossetti also a sharp critic, generating early support and praise for Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and William Blake. He passed away on February 5, 1919.

Collection History


Mostly purchased in 1977-2011, with some later additions. 1 Letter from Rosetti is a gift of Mark Samuels Lasner.

Custodial History

This collection was formed as a result of the departmental practice of combining into one collection manuscript material of various accessions relating to a particular author.


No material was separated during processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karla J. Vecchia in 2002. Finding aid written by Karla J. Vecchia in 2002.

Biography written by Alyxandra Cullen, '09.

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:

William Michael Rossetti 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