Malone Manuscripts

Archive Collection
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 Malone 2a, 235, 238, 531, 571; MSS. Malone 1-24, 32
  • Dates of Creation
      17th-19th century
  • Language of Material
      English, Latin, and Ancient Greek (to 1453).
  • Physical Description
      30 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Manuscripts and a few printed books collected by Malone, relating to poetry and drama.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edmund Malone (1741-1812), critic and author, was born in at Dublin, and graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1762. In 1763 he entered the society of the Inner Temple in London, and soon became a friend of Johnson, Reynolds, Boswell, Burke, and other literary celebrities. His interest in Shakespeare dates from 1777, and resulted in an edition of his works in 1790 (11 volumes) and many corrections and additions for a new issue which only came out after his death, in 1821 (21 volumes). In connection with Shakespeare, Malone systematically purchased early English plays and formed a very large and valuable collection. In 1782 he exposed Chatterton's Rowley poems, and in 1796 Ireland's Shakespeare forgeries. He issued an edition of Dryden in 1800. On 5 July 1793 he received the honorary degree of DCL at Oxford, having in that year been engaged in research at the Ashmolean Museum and Bodleian. Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

In 1815 Lord Sunderlin presented part of the collection to the Library, but the gift was not actually received until 1821, when James Boswell the younger had brought out the posthumous edition of Malone's Shakespeare.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. IV, nos. 20549-78.

Custodial History

Malone died on 25 April 1812 and left his library to his brother, Lord Sunderlin.

Related Material

See also Malone Papers (Malone 1046-58; MSS. Malone 29, 38-9, 43) and Papers of Edmund Malone (MSS Malone 31, 36-7, 40-1).