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Collection Overview

Guillemard, John Lewis, 1764-1844
John Lewis Guillemard Letters
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


Consists of letters, dating from 1787 to 1844, of John Lewis Guillemard (1764-1844), a well-traveled English aristocrat and Royal Society fellow, to his family and friends that document, among other things, American politics and foreign relations, the British Empire, the French Revolution, and the early 19th-century scientific and intellectual communities. Guillemard's letters are addressed primarily to his sister, Jeanne Marie Griffin, his nieces Frances, Jane and Mary Griffin, his uncles, James and Isaac Guillemard, merchants in London, Sir John and Lady Jane Griffin Franklin, and Sir George Thomas Staunton.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of letters, dating from 1787 to 1844, from John Lewis Guillemard, an English aristocrat, traveler, and science enthusiast, to his family and friends, specifically, his sister, Jeanne Marie Griffin, his nieces Frances, Jane and Mary Griffin, his uncles, James and Isaac Guillemard, Sir John and Lady Jane Griffin Franklin, and Sir George Thomas Staunton.

In his letters from America, Guillemard documents among other things, the country's political situation, foreign relations with France and Great Britain following the Revolutionary War, as well as his service as a commissioner to the Jay Treaty. Frequent trips to the Continent, particularly France, Italy, and Switzerland, result in Guillemard's witnessing of significant political and social upheavals, including the French Revolution, specifically the aftermath of the capture of the Bastille, and to a lesser extent, the Neapolitan War of 1815. Guillemard's letters also document the early 19th-century scientific and intellectual communities and their advancements, the British Empire, as well as family and financial affairs.

Much of the collection's description is based on dealer information and research.

Collection Creator Biography:

Guillemard, John Lewis, 1764-1844

John Lewis Guillemard (1764-1844) was born into a wealthy Huguenot silk-weaving family originally from Bolbec, Normandy. The family fled to England from France during Louis XIV's reign. Born in London to Jean (John) Guillemard and Françoise Pilon, John was educated at St. John's College, Oxford, where he received his B.A. in 1786, and his M.A. in 1789. In 1804, Guillemard married Mary Philippa Davies Giddy (1769-1850), the sister of Davies Giddy (1767-1839), the scientific administrator and mathematician who later took the name of Gilbert.

Although he did not exercise any profession, Guillemard was well-traveled and moved in elite circles. A fellow and for a time president of the Royal Society, 1827-1830, Guillemard was also a member of the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Institution, and the Linnean Society. While staying in the United States from 1794 to 1800, Guillemard was appointed to the Jay Treaty commission charged with dealing with British property claims in America following the Revolutionary War. Apart from this brief stint of public service, he devoted himself to his family, particularly his nieces, Frances, Jane, and Mary Griffin, as he had no children of his own, and his scientific interests.

John Guillemard's sister, Jeanne Marie Jane Guillemard (1765-1795) married John Griffin (1757–1852), and they had four daughters: Frances Griffin (d. 1868), Mary Griffin, Jane Griffin (1791–1875), and Mary Griffin (1793–1854). Jane Griffin became Lady Franklin when she married Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin (1786-1847) in 1828. From 1837 to 1843, Franklin served as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania).

Collection History


Purchased, 2014 , AM 2015-36.


No materials were separated during 2014 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2014. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2014.

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2014. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2014.

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:

John Lewis Guillemard Letters; 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