Autograph Letter Collection: Letters and Papers Related to Hannah More

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection contains letters and some papers of Hannah More, 'Rhapsody on Friendship' by More, 1774; letter to Cadell (publisher), 1793; letter to Messers Cadell & Davies, 1799; Rev Jarrett, 1801; Mrs Bright, 1801; John S Harford, 1807; to Mr Bird (representative of Cadell & Davies), 1807; to unnamed man, 1807; Miss Topping, 1807; Mrs Hoare, 1808; John S Harford Jr, 1811; Miss Scott, 1812 (fragment); Mr Z MacAuley, 1818; to Rev Thomas Biddulph, 1818; poem addressed to Master John MacGregor, 1825; to Dr Carrick, 1825; Mrs Balgin, 1827; series of letters between 1827 & 1833 to: unnamed man, Miss Roberts, John Harford Jr, Dr Lovell, and two unnamed men; letter from Rev Henry Thompson to Mr Hall regarding a visit to More's home at Barley Wood.

Administrative / Biographical History

Hannah More (1745-1833) was born in Stapleton in 1745. When in her teens she wrote her first significant work, a play for schoolgirls entitled 'The Search after Happiness', published in Bristol in 1762. After a brief engagement she devoted herself to writing. She became particularly close to David Garrick and his wife who drew her into writing for the theatre. She wrote such plays as 'The Inflexible Captive' in 1774 and 'Percy' in 1778 until Garrick's death the following year. When this occurred, she retired to Hampton with his widow and continued her writing career in the form of didactic plays and poems. Her politics became increasingly reactionary with the outbreak of the French Revolution but she continued her use of popular forms such as ballads and in 1795-8 she published 'The Cheap Repository Tracts' for the poor. In 1799, she published 'Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education', which called women to be worthy of holding superior moral value in the world while accepting women's inferior social status. Throughout the 1790s she and her sister Martha became involved in a project to teach the children of the poor in the Mendip Hills area. The children were taught to read, though famously not to write, with the purpose of Bible study. They were also taught the skills for trades such as weaving and sewing. She spent the rest of her life engaged in theological and moral reformatory work which found an outlet in texts such as 'Christian Morals' (1813) and 'Moral Sketches' (1819). In 1802, she built Barley Wood where her retired sisters joined her and where she lived until her move to Clifton. She died there 1833.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit. Available on microfiche only.

Other Finding Aids

Abstracts of individual letters in the autograph letters collection were written and held alongside the letters. This work was done from the 1960s by volunteers including Nan Taylor. In 2004 Jean Holder completed a 3 year project to list the letters, copy-type the abstracts, and repackage the letters to meet preservation needs. In 2005 Vicky Wylde and Teresa Doherty proof read and imported the entries to the Special Collections Catalogue.

The original card index of all correspondents, including date of letter & volume reference, is available on the microfiche.

Alternative Form Available

A copy of this archive is available on microfilm held at The Women's Library.

Related Material

There are further papers and letters of Hannah More in the following repositories: British Library, Manuscript Collections (Reference : Add MS 42511), Yale University Libraries: Beinecke Library, Longleat House (Reference : Portland Papers Vol XIV), Newport Central Library (Reference : Delaney Letters), Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (Reference : MS Montagu d 19), Cambridge University: St John's College Library, Oxford University: Christ Church Archives (Reference : Evelyn Collection 4 Vol 3), Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (Reference : MS Eng lett d 2), Victoria & Albert Museum, National Art Library (Reference : F 48 F 5/Vol I), Bristol Reference Library (Reference : B7976), St Deiniol's Library (Reference : Glynne-Gladstone MSS 396), British Library, Manuscript Collections (Reference : RP140), Centre for Kentish Studies (Reference : U1590/S5/O3/6), Huntington Library, Cambridgeshire County Record Office, Huntingdon (Reference : DDM) Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (Reference : MS Eng lett d 124), British Library, Manuscript Collections (Reference : RP186), British Library, Manuscript Collections (Reference : Eg MS 1965), Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (Reference : Add 7674/1/E1-9, F1-13), Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (Reference : Add 7951), Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (Reference : MSS Wilberforce c 3, 48, d 14-17; Don e 164-65), Bristol Record Office, Boston Public Library, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Duke University: William R Perkins Library, Knox College and Gloucestershire Record Office (Reference : D3931/2/12/6).