The material comprises the press copy of John Stuart Mill's Autobiography and a separate copy, in the hand of Helen Taylor, of most of the first chapter of the Autobiography:
I, folios 1-265, the press-copy of the Autobiography of the philosopher John Stuart Mill (d 1873), in three hands, namely
- (a) folios 1-23, Autobiography, 1813 edition, p. 1 to p. 36, line 16 (when it was applied, or); written in an unidentified continental hand;
- (b) folios 24 (ought to, ibid. p. 36, line 16) to 38 (Godstone &, ibid. p. 55, line 6); folios 124 (biographies, above all by Condorcet's life, ibid. p. 113, line 21) to 142 (speculation and for action, ibid. p. 143, line 13); folios 185 (I have already mentioned, ibid. p. 174, line 16) to 265 (end); in the hand of Mill's stepdaughter, Helen Taylor, who is also responsible for corrections and emendations in other portions of the manuscript;
- (c) folios 39 (there I each summer, ibid. p. 55, line 6) to 123 (& by some modern, ibid, p. 113, line 21); folios 143 (I had now learnt, ibid. p. 143, line 14) to 184 (personally acquainted, ibid. p. 174, line 5); in the hand of Mill's sister, Mary Elizabeth Colman.
II, folios 1-25, a separate copy in the hand of Helen Taylor, of the bulk of Chapter I of the Autobiography (ending with the words applied, or, i.e. 1873 edition, p. 36, 1.16).
Helen Taylor began the copying of the manuscript and wrote the first 30 folios on blue paper; of these, folios 26 (ought to, 1873 edition, p.36, line 6) to 30 (older than myself, ibid. p. 44, line 11) were retained in the press-copy [I above] but folios 1-25 [II above] were not. The section they contain was recopied by the continental hand [I (a) above], the writer of which compressed Helen Taylor's 25 folios into 23; to allow for this, her next folio (26) was re-numbered 24, 25, 26 [sic]. As a result and because, by a slip, Mary Colman numbered two folios 150, the press-copy, although foliated 1-265, contains in fact only 264 folios. Apart from other press markings, these are divided by pencil strokes into various sections with, at the side of each, the names of the particular compositors to whom the various parts of the work were assigned.