Aguilar Papers

Scope and Content

Papers, 1831-1853, of Grace Aguilar. The first part of the collection consists of her manuscript notebooks. The second part is manuscript material in other hands, consisting of a book of tributes to Aguilar, a description of her last illness, and an account for the administration of her estate. The collection also contains copies of several of her printed works.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Hackney to Jewish parents of Spanish descent, Grace Aguilar was a novelist and writer on Jewish history and religion. She had delicate health from infancy and was chiefly educated at home, developing a great interest in the history of the Jewish race, and an aptitude for music. She began writing at an early age; in her twelfth year she wrote a drama entitled 'Gustavus Vasa' and at fifteen began a series of poems that was published in the collection 'Magic Wreath' in 1835. In the same year she was attacked by a severe illness from which she never completely recovered. Her health also declined when, as a result of her father's death, she was forced to depend on her writings for a portion of her livelihood until her death twelve years later. Her chief work on the Jewish religion was 'Spirit of Judaism', first published in America in 1842. Other works include: 'The Jewish Faith', 'The Women of Israel' and 'Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings'. Grace Aguilar is, however, better known for her novels which, with the exception of 'Home Influence, a tale for mothers and daughters', were published after her death. Her novels, 'A Mother's Recompense',' Vale of Cedars', 'Woman's Friendship', 'Days of Bruce, a story from Scottish history', and 'Home Scenes and Heart Studies', are highly sentimental, intensely religious, and mainly deal with the ordinary incidents of domestic life.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Indefinite loan to University College London Library since December 1990 from The Jewish Museum of London.

Other Finding Aids

Fully catalogued and list available online