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Collection Overview

Wordsworth, William, 1770-1850.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
William Wordsworth Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of selected autograph manuscript poems and correspondence of William Wordsworth, one of England's most respected poets of the nineteenth century.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected autograph manuscript poems and correspondence of England's 1843 Poet Laureate William Wordsworth. Poems included are "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways" (an 1828 copy), "A Character" (1800), and three poems from Epitaphs(1810): "Weep not, beloved friends! Nor let the air . . ." (I), "True is it that Ambrosio Salinero . . ." (V), "O flower of all that springs from gentle blood . . ." (VII). Also included are "To the Moon" (written at Rydal, 1835), "To the Moon, Composed by the Sea-side on the Coast of Cumberland" (1835), "Upon Seeing a Coloured Drawing of the Bird of Paradise in an Album" (1835); "If thou indeed derive thy light from heaven . . ." (1832), "Six months to six years added he remained . . ." (1836), and "On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott from Abbotsford, for Naples" (1831) from Yarrow Revisited, And Other Poems. A poem beginning "By smiles of playful glee--too oft," which is signed and inscribed to Lady Farquhar and dated Elleray, August 7, 1841, contains several differences from the published text (1842). There is also an untitled, undated poem beginning "O wiser thou, pause not nor turn thee back." Some of the manuscripts are in the hand of Wordsworth's wife, Mary, with holograph revisions by the poet.

The correspondence includes a letter to G. Huntly Gordon (1830) and one to Lord Holland (1806) with a portrait of Wordsworth, as well as three letters to unidentified individuals. There is also an undated letter from Henry Hallan.


Folders are arranged in accession number order.

Collection Creator Biography:

Wordsworth, William, 1770-1850.

William Wordsworth was one of the major English poets of the Romantic era. Born in April 7, 1770, in Cumberland, England, he later attended Cambridge University. His first sonnet was published in the same year. He went on to write such celebrated poems as "Tintern Abbey" and the ode "Intimations of Immortality". Wordworth helped launch the Romantic Age with the publication of Lyrical Ballads (1798) with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was to remain a lifelong friend and colleague. He was named Poet Laureate in 1843 and received honorary degrees from Durham and Oxford Universities. The Prelude, published posthumously after his death in 1850, is considered to be his greatest work.

Collection History


Signed autograph letter from Henry Hallan was a purchase, September 17, 1986

Unidentified letter dated March 24, 1844, was a gift of Charles August David Burk, Princeton Class of 1909, on April 26, 1937 .

Unidentified letter dated Sept. 24, 1840, was laid in a book that was a 1st edition of a Wordsworth book The Prelude which was a purchase, in May 1942 .

The manuscript poem "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways" was a gift of Jordan A. Block, Princeton Class of 1936, on November 7, 1957 .

The manuscript poem "On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott . . ." was a gift of John S. Williams, Princeton Class of 1924, in October 1964 .

The manuscript poem "O wiser thou . . ." and letter to G. H. Gordon were purchases made on August 13, 1968 .

Signed autograph letter to Lord Holland was a purchase on October 2, 1968 .

The manuscript poem "By smiles of playful glee . . ." was a gift of Mrs. William H. Morris (Mr. Morris was a member of the Princeton Class of 1932) on May 6, 1975 . Various AM.

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on December 5, 2008. Finding aid written by Natalie Kim on December 9, 2008. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

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 Wordsworth 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