Papers of Samuel Bailey (1791-1870)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-265
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 wooden case with brass fittings, containing 20 volumes and 2 envelopes.
  • Location

Scope and Content

The papers consist of Letters from an Egyptian Kafir on a visit to England in search of religion (1839) and Maro, or poetic sensibility (1845), and 20 volumes of notebooks and diaries. The notebooks and diaries from circa 1822 to 1866 are: literary diaries; index rerum, book of reviews; books of reference; and, those on various topics including 6 on Shakespeare. The collection is contained a wooden case with brass corners and handles and with a plate reading, 'MSS of the late Samuel Bailey Esq. of Norbury, Sheffield...'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Samuel Bailey was born in 1791 and was educated first by his maternal grandfather and then at the Moravian school of Fulneck. He then worked alongside his father who was a master cutler in Sheffield. He visited America to establish commercial connections, but his attentions and interests were caught not by business but by literary and political pursuits. From 1821 he began publishing essays and in 1828 he began a political career but with little success. Bailey was President of the Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society and he became chairman of the Sheffield Banking Company which he had helped found in 1831. Bailey's publications include Essays on the formation and publication of opinions and other subjects (1821), Critical dissertation on the nature, measure, and causes of value (1825), Essays on the pursuit of truth and on the progress of knowledge (1829), Rationale of political representation (1835), Theory of reasoning (1851), and in 1861 and 1862 two volumes on Shakespeare's writing. He also wrote Letters from an Egyptian Kafir on a visit to England in search of religion (1837) and the poem Maro, or poetic sensibility (1846). Samuel Bailey died on 18 January 1870.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie, and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.1. Abbadie-Beadon. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

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

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.