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William Blake Collection

Identifier: William Blake Collection

Scope and Contents

This collection contains two letters of correspondence from William Blake, three documents relating to his trial in 1804, correspondence of Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), the famous lyric poet, to Seymour Stocker Kirkup (1788-1880) commenting on Blake, spiritualism, and his engravings, mostly from the 1860s. Later correspondence, newspaper clippings, and invoices mostly from the 1940s regarding Blake’s engravings, especially those in printed books such as those of Poetical Works of John Scott of Amwell (1782), and Edward Kimpton’s Complete Universal History of the Holy Bible (1785). Also includes some auction catalogues with Blake works in them.


  • Creation: 1800 - 1976


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

William Blake; a well-known British poet and engraver from the early 19th century, was put on trial for assault and sedition in 1804 for forcibly removing a drunken British soldier, John Schofield, trespassing in his garden. The assault occurred in October 1803, but Blake was not acquitted of charges until January 1804. He then moved back to London where he began to illustrate the ambitious Jerusalem (1804-1820), and his engravings and illustrations appeared more at exhibitions.

This collection of manuscripts by Blake, and correspondence between his associates Thomas Carlyle, Seymour Kirkup, and Algernon Charles Swinburne, was acquired by Allan R. Brown; a collector of Blake-related records. Brown (b.1883) studied law at New York University becoming a lawyer in 1907, and developed a keen interest in William Blake, the poet, among many other intellectual pursuits. Brown also wrote poetry, publishing it and some critical articles in La renaissance esthetique. He died in 1966.


1 Cubic Feet (3 flat boxes)

Language of Materials



There are three series in this collection arranged by creator:

Series I: William Blake Correspondence and Documents, 1800-1863 Series II: Swinburne-Kirkup and Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1860-1976 Series III: Allan R. Brown Correspondence and Documents, 1937-1946

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection is a gift of Allan R. Brown presented in memory of his son Allan Gordon Brown.

Guide to the William Blake Collection
In Progress
Michelle C. Sigiel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library - Archival Collections Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106