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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:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): 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

Scope and Contents

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 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:

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:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): 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