Percy Society Minute Books

Scope and Content

Two minute books of the Percy Society for the Publication of Ancient Ballads, Poetry and Popular Literature. The volumes contain records of the monthly meetings of the Society's Council and annual general meetings. The business of the meetings was largely devoted to the Society's publishing programme. The chairmen signing the minutes include Lord Braybrooke [Richard Griffin (1783-1858), 3rd Baron Braybrooke], Thomas Amyot, John Payne Collier, William Henry Black, Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, J. Henry Dixon, William Jerdan and Thomas Crofton Croker.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Percy Society was a literary publishing society, founded in 1840 with the object of the publication of ancient ballads, songs, plays, minor pieces of poetry, and popular literature, or works illustrative of the above mentioned subjects. It was named after Thomas Percy (1729-1811), Bishop of Dromore and author of the Reliques of English Poetry (1765). The first monthly meeting of the Council was held on 3 June 1840, and was attended by John Payne Collier, Thomas Wright, James Orchard Halliwell (later Halliwell-Phillipps), Edward Francis Rimbault and Mr Mackay: probably Charles Mackay (1812-1889), poet and writer, who edited one of the Society's first publications, A collection of songs and ballads relative to the London prentices and trades (1841). The Society issued thirty volumes between 1840 and 1852 when it was dissolved. Members paid an annual subscription of one pound, which entitled them to one copy of each publication.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the Mayer Library, Bebington, in November 1947.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937-1951 (English MS 1117).