Abinger Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 Dep. b. 210-15, b. 226-9, c. 477-8, c. 507-38, c. 601-12, c. 663, c. 674, c. 766-9, c. 810-14, d. 311, d. 374, d. 390-3, d. 398-414, d. 473-5, d. 562-7, e. 196-243, e. 246, e. 273-4, f. 32-41, f. 65-9
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English, Italian, and Latin.
  • Physical Description
      165 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

The collection, arranged in sections equivalent to the nine separate deposits, consists of correspondence and papers, including diaries and journals, relating predominantly to William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their circles, including especially the Gisbornes.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Godwin (1756-1836) was a philosopher and novelist. He was the author of Political Justice. His wife, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), was a miscellaneous writer, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Their daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851), was the author of Frankenstein, and the second wife of the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). John Gisborne (d 1836) and his wife Maria (1770-1836) were friends of the Shelleys in Italy. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/specialcollections).

Readers who wish to consult the papers must write to the Library in advance. Readers who are given permission to see the papers will be required to sign a form undertaking to seek written permission for publication.

Acquisition Information

The papers were deposited on long-term loan by Lord Abinger in nine batches, 1974-1993


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

Other Finding Aids

A description is available in the Library.

Alternative Form Available

For conservation reasons, microfilms of much of the material, on open access in Duke Humfrey's Library, are usually to be consulted in place of the original papers.

Related Material

See also Shelley Papers (MSS. Shelley c. 1, d. 1-3, e. 1-6) and Additional Shelley Family Manuscripts (MSS. Shelley adds. b. 1-2, c. 2-6, c. 7-12, d. 4-10, d. 12-16, e. 6-22, f. 1-5).