James Montgomery Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Papers of James Montgomery (1771-1854), Sheffield journalist and poet

Administrative / Biographical History

The collection includes reminiscences of James Montgomery (1771-1854), poems and manuscripts by him, printed works and illustrations. Also included is a scrapbook entitled Negro's album of the Sheffield Anti-Slavery Society, 1828, and material on Montgomery assembled by Mary Anne Rawson (ne Read).

James Montgomery was born at Irvine in Ayrshire on November 4th, 1771. He was sent to a Moravian school at Fulneck, near Leeds at an early age, and left aged 16 to become apprenticed to a shopkeeper. An attempt to make his way in London failed, and he returned to South Yorkshire, where he was appointed assistant editor to the Sheffield Register, to which he contributed extensively. The proprietor and editor of the Register, an ardent reformer, got into political trouble and absconded to America, enabling Montgomery to take over as editor. In an effort to disarm the political hostility of the Government he changed the name of the Register to the Iris, and adopted a more moderate political line. Montgomery underwent two prosecutions for libel, instituted as a means of intimidating the Sheffield political clubs, each time being committed to York Prison. As well as making his journalistic contributions Montgomery was also a poet, The Wanderer of Switzerland of 1806 attracting public attention, and in 1809 he produced a poem on the slave trade, The West Indies, which gained great popularity. He also produced numerous hymns. Montgomery lived in Sheffield for 62 of his 83 years, and in later years was accounted a local hero.


In sections, as acquired

Access Information

Available to all researchers, by appointment

Acquisition Information

By donation and purchase from various sources


Description prepared by Lawrence Aspden

Other Finding Aids


Conditions Governing Use

By permission of the Librarian, University of Sheffield Library