Guide to the Thomas Wright Scrapbooks on William Blake

Collection Title: Thomas Wright Scrapbooks on William Blake
Dates: 1912-1936
Identification: MS 166
Creator: Wright, Thomas, 1859-1936
Extent: 2 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Thomas Wright was born May 16, 1859 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England.  He was educated at Buxton College, a boys' school in Buxton, Derbyshire, and married Angelina Edwards on January 1, 1884.  He was the principal of Cowper School in Olney, which he founded himself in 1882 at the age of 23. The Thomas Wright Scrapbooks on William Blake consists of eight scrapbooks containing clippings, correspondence, several bibliographies and catalogs, writings, and a photograph.  Items are primarily pasted into each scrapbook, but some materials are loose.  The scrapbook titles are all Wright's.
Acquisition Information: Purchase.
Separated Materials: None.
Conditions Governing Access: There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.
Repository: Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL,
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/spec
Email: special.collections@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3635

Biographical/Historical Information

Thomas Wright was born May 16, 1859 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England. He was educated at Buxton College, a boys' school in Buxton, Derbyshire, and married Angelina Edwards on January 1, 1884. He was the principal of Cowper School in Olney, which he founded himself in 1882 at the age of 23.

Having no formal education beyond boarding school, Wright counted his true Alma Mater as the British Museum library, where he spent much of his time studying the works of Emerson, Carlyle, and Washington Irving. Wright authored a number of works throughout his life, including biographies, fiction, and poetry, beginning in 1880 with an article contributed to the Olney Almanac. He was best known for his biographies on well known writers, which include The Life of William Cowper (1892), The Life of Daniel Defoe (1894), The Life of John Payne (1919), and The Life of William Blake (1929).

In addition to founding the Blake Society in 1912, Wright also founded the William Cowper Society in 1899 and the John Payne Society in 1905. He founded the Cowper Museum in Olney in 1900.

Wright spent the majority of his life in Olney. He died in 1936 at the age of 76, mere months after completing his autobiography, Thomas Wright of Olney.

Scope and Content

The Thomas Wright Scrapbooks on William Blake consists of eight scrapbooks containing clippings, correspondence, several bibliographies and catalogs, writings, and a photograph.  Items are primarily pasted into each scrapbook, but some materials are loose.  The scrapbook titles that follow are all Wright's.

The first scrapbook, "The Blake Society," includes programs for the first sixteen annual meetings of the Blake Society, extending from 1912 through 1927.  It also contains various printed communications to the members of the Society, and some related correspondence from members and publishers, including one from Frederick Hollyer who produced some Blake facsimiles.  Newsclippings in this scrapbook relating to the Blake Society range from 1913-1928.  Of note here is a printed communication reporting permission for the Blake memorial at Bunhill Fields.

"Blake," the second scrapbook, contains additional newspaper clippings on the formation of the Blake Society.  Also included here is a copy of a manuscript plan of the street where Blake lived in Lambeth, as well as a catalog of Hollyer's Colour Prints and an invitation card to a Hollyer exhibition of works by Blake, Turner, and Rossetti.

The third scrapbook, "William Blake," contains press clippings of the Tate Gallery Exhibition of William Blake in 1913.

"William Blake Scraps," the fourth scrapbook, contains newsclippings and correspondence on the Blake centenary celebrations in London and throughout England.  Also here is the written and corrected manuscript of Wright's speech given at the unveiling of the Bunhill Fields Memorial, as well as a photograph of Wright delivering the speech.

The fifth scrapbook, "Lambeth," contains a typed catalog of the Lambeth Library Blake Centenary Exhibition, held October 15-29, 1927.

"Letters re The Life of William Blake" is the sixth scrapbook, and contains only a few letters, one of them from A.J. Roberts.  Also here are auction catalogs of the Algernon Methuen library and the Linnell William Blake Collections, as well as lists referring to Blake works owned by Sydney Morse.

"Life of Blake Clippings," the seventh scrapbook, contains numerous reviews of Wright's work, particularly of his Life of William Blake (Olney, 1929).  Also present is a small number of letters from Phillip Morrell, Osbert Burdett, Laurence Housman, C.E. Lawrence, and D.W. Leaks concerning Wright's book.

The eighth scrapbook, "31 Golden Sayings of William Blake," contains passages from Blake's work written out by Wright.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Blake Society. Meeting

Personal Name

Blake, William, 1757-1827


Container List / Contents

  • "The Blake Society", 1912-1928Box 1, Folder 1
  • "Blake", 1912Box 1, Folder 2
  • "William Blake", 1913Box 1, Folder 3
  • "William Blake Scraps", 1926-1927Box 1, Folder 4
  • "Lambeth", 1927Box 1, Folder 5
  • "Letters re the Life of William Blake", 1927-1936Box 1, Folder 6
  • "Life of Blake Clippings", 1929Box 2, Folder 1
  • "31 Golden Sayings of William Blake", n.d.Box 2, Folder 2