William Combe: Literary commonplace book

Scope and Content

'The literary waste-book', containing copies of letters, poems, sonnets, thoughts, anecdotes, epitaphs and other items.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Combe (1742-1823), writer, was educated at Eton. He lived in different parts of England and France before settling in London, where he remained for the rest of his life. He was employed by booksellers, compiling translated travels and histories, and wrote for The Times, 1803-1809. He published novels, metrical satires and political pamphlets, and wrote letterpress for illustrated works. He also authored a series of popular poems featuring his comic creation Dr Syntax. Combe died at Lambeth on 19 June 1823.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from The Bookroom, Cambridge, 31 March 1981.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on William Combe in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds, Dictionary of national biography, vol. IV (London, 1908), pp. 886-891.

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