Manuscript poems by Josiah Conder

Scope and Content

This is a substantial manuscript book of poems all written by Josiah Conder - quarto, 4-page index followed by 192-pages of poetry, and containing 79 poems. Most of the poems are dated and a few towards the end of the volume are signed.

The poems were all written by Conder when he was aged between fifteen and nineteen, and 25 of them may have been published in various places including Conder's first book, The associate minstrels (1810). Perhaps five of the 25 appeared in a children's annual, the Minor's pocket book for 1807 edited by Ann Taylor, daughter of Isaac Taylor.

Several of the poems in the volume are signed from Colchester where the Taylors lived from 1796 until 1810 when they moved to Ongar. One of the poems is addressed to Isaac Taylor 'occasioned by his presenting me with a painting of Love, Joy and Mirth', dated 4 March 1806, and another 'To Mrs Taylor, Colchester. On her birthday, June 20, 1809'.

The last two pages of the volume comprise a list of 'Verses written since the close of the year 1809', naming 29 poems written in 1810, 1811 and 1812.

Administrative / Biographical History

The prolific writer, editor and compiler Josiah Conder was born in Aldersgate, London, on 17 September 1789, the son of a map engraver and bookseller, Thomas Conder. At the age of ten his first essay was published in The Monthly Preceptor, and on reaching thirteen, he began work as an assistant in the family's City bookshop. In 1811, at the age of twenty-one, he took it over. Shortly afterwards, Josiah married Joan Elizabeth Thomas (Eliza Thomas). He had initially formed a literary association with her in 1810 to jointly contribute to the book The associate minstrels.

Josiah Conder was a close friend of the engraver and educationalist Isaac Taylor (1759-1829) and his wife, and Conder addressed poems to them both, having been a regular visitor to their home.

Another of Conder's earlier works was The withered oak (1806), otherwise The reverie (1811), The star in the east (1824), A dictionary of geography (1834), The epistle to the Hebrews, a new translation, with notes (1834), The congregational hymnbook (1834), The literary history of the New testament (1845) and The harmony of history with prophecy, an explanation of the Apocalypse (1849) are among the publications of which he was author, editor or compiler. Josiah Conder's political work included a tract on the superior value of free labour over slave labour, Wages or the Whip (1833).

Josiah Conder died on 27 December 1855, at St John's Wood, Hampstead, following an attack of jaundice, and was buried at Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington. His literary wife Joan, died aged 91 in 1877 and was buried with him.

Access Information

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit.

Acquisition Information

Accession no: E2011.26.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.