The Briggs Collection of Literary Papers and Correspondence from the Sutton family, Nottingham, 1818-1915

Scope and Content

The Collection consists of three sections. The first contains letters to William and Eliza Oldham from William and Mary Howitt and their daughter Margaret, written between 1869 and 1889 from Rome and the Austrian Tyrol. They cover chiefly current affairs and domestic issues.

The second section consists almost entirely of correspondence of a personal nature, to Henry Septimus Sutton and his second wife, Mary, written between 1845 and 1908, from literary and artistic friends including George MacDonald, Francis Power Cobbe and Christina G. Rossetti.

The third section consists chiefly of newspaper cuttings, photographs and printed and autograph poems by a number of authors.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Briggs Collection takes its name from the donor of the material who was related to the Sutton family. It contains papers relating primarily to the literary interests of three nineteenth-century figures.

Henry Septimus Sutton (1825-1901) was a Nottingham born author and poet. He was editor of the 'Alliance News' of Manchester between 1854 and 1898.

William Howitt (1792-1879) was a Nottingham chemist, poet and author. He published books on Germany and Australia having spent time in both countries. He and his family established themselves in Rome, Italy after 1870.

Mary Howitt (1799-1888), wife of William Howitt, was an author in her own right but collaborated with her husband in several publications.


The Collection is split into three sections: letters from the Howitts; letters to Sutton; and miscellaneous material. Each section is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers

REPROGRAPHIC: Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

NOTE: Copyright on all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

  • In the Reading Room, University of Nottingham Library: Typescript Catalogue, 41 pp
  • At the National Register of Archives, London: Typescript Catalogue, 41 pp

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email ). The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

LANGUAGE: English.

Custodial History

The Collection was presented to the University of Nottingham Library in 1960 by a relation of the Sutton family.