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Collection Overview

James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford), 1801?-1860
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
G. P. R. James Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.50 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1


George Payne Rainsford James was an extremely prolific English novelist and historian in the nineteenth century. His collection contains some of his correspondence with various editors and colleagues, along with some miscellaneous prose and poetry, unfinished letters, and James's autographs.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists primarily of correspondence of James. Included in the collection is a large file of letters, 1828-1852, to Charles Ollier, publisher of Keats and Shelley. Other correspondents include John Aitken, William Jerdan, editor of "The Literary Gazette," Sir J. H. Seymour, William H. Harrison, John Murray, Charles Lever, William Harrison Ainsworth, and Alaric A. Watts. Also present are some miscellaneous prose and poetry, incomplete letters, and autographs of James, as well "The History of Chivarly" (1832) a lengthy, anonymous review of James's book, written to coincide with the publication of its American edition.


The collection is organized into the following series:

Collection Creator Biography:

James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford), 1801?-1860

English novelist and historian G. P. R. James wrote nearly a hundred novels, such as Richelieu (1825), The Gypsy (1835), Attila (1837), and The Mysterious Chevalier (1843), as well as many popular historical works, including The Life and Times of Louis XIV (1838), and some poetry and plays. Later in life he was appointed British consul for Massachusetts (1850) and Norfolk, Virginia (1852-1855), then became consul-general at Venice (1856-1860).

Collection History


Gift of Alexander D. Wainwright, with additional gifts from Christine Wainwright. The letter from James to Harpers Brothers was purchased in 1999; the letter to Charles Sumner was purchased in 2006; the "The History of Chivalry" manuscript was purchased in 2012 with support of the Richard M. Ludwig Endowment established by Michael Spence, Class of 1966.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

The collection was processed initially by Barbara Volz.

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:

G. P. R. James 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 (mss): Box 1

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Related Materials

These volumes have been cataloged separately in C0199 (General Mss. Bound) but contain references to G. P. R. James:

Commonplace Books

"Anonymous" 1837-1859, in English & French, contains an extract from James's Attila (1837), pages 1-3, dated 1837 August 21.

"Garrick, Albinia Anne" 1833, contains the verses, "Song" 4 5-line stanzas, and "Trust! Trust! Sweet Lady, Trust!" in James's hand, signed

"Housman, Sarah" 1817, contains contributions by Robert Fletcher Housman (1807- ), son of Robert Housman (1759-1838), also 2 extracts from James's The Desultory Man (1836) on 2 pages

Subject Terms:
Authors, English -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
Editors -- England -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
English literature -- 19th century.
Novelists, English -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
Publishers and publishing -- England -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
Genre Terms:
Ollier, Charles, 1788-1859