|The John Murray Archive|
|Housed at||The National Library of Scotland|
|Curators||Curator of John Murray Archive|
|Size (no. of items)||1 million +|
The John Murray Archive is a collection of 234 years' worth of manuscripts, private letters, and business papers from various notable, mostly British, authors including correspondence between Mary Shelley and Lord Byron, and letters of Jane Austen and Charles Darwin. The Archive consists of over a million items, valued at more than £100 million, and is kept at the National Library of Scotland (NLS) in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The father of House of John Murray publishing, John Murray (1737–1793),founded the business in 1768 after moving to London in pursuit of his fortune. Murray, who was born in Scotland as John McMurray, laid the foundations of what would eventually be a much larger and more influential publishing house, though he did help to establish many writers such as Isaac D'Israeli and also launched the English Review in 1783.
Murray was succeeded by his son, John Murray II (1778–1843), who went on to publish notable authors like Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, and Lord Byron. The publisher was wildly successful for generations of Murrays to come, with John Murray III (1808–1892) having published Charles Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species' and Herman Melville's first two novels. The third Murray also published Murray's Handbooks for Travellers (1836). In total, the Murray family headed the business from London for seven generations, initially at 32 Fleet Street and then at 50 Albemarle Street in 1812.
Over the years the publishing house produced books covering a vast range of genres, from travel to biography. The House of Murray was also involved in other publishing ventures such as John Murray II's periodical, The Quarterly Review. The John Murray Archive is a repository for papers and records of the business itself, including information related to the financial and administrative side of the company as well as some literary manuscripts.
Two other publishing archives are contained within the John Murray Archive, the first of these being the papers of Charles Elliot, an Edinburgh-born bookseller and publisher. The Archive has these papers because of John Murray II's marriage to Anne Elliot, Charles Elliot's daughter. Also a part of the John Murray Archive are the papers which relate to Smith, Elder and Company, another publishing house which helped establish the Brontes, Anthony Trollope, and Arthur Conan Doyle.
The National Library of Scotland acquired the John Murray Archive in part in 2006 having bought it from John Murray VII and his wife, Virginia, the most recent owners of House of John Murray publishing, for £31.2 million.This first purchase excluded material relating to John Murray publishing in the 20th century. The NLS has since received further items relating to this period and others, and they continue to do so ad hoc.
The John Murray Archive is arranged into eight series: the incoming correspondence; outgoing correspondence; author papers, the family papers; business papers; Charles Elliot papers; Smith, Elder and Company Archive; and the papers of Lord Byron.While the collection consists mainly of the works and personal correspondence of significant British writers, there are many items of importance that are products of, or related to, the United States such as the letters of Herman Melville, letters and manuscripts from Washington Irving, and papers and photographs from Isabella Lucy Bird, author of The Englishwoman in America. Over ten thousand articles from the collection are private letters to and from Lord Byron alone and, as such, he is by far the best-represented author in the Archive. However, the collection is not only made up of the works of poets and writers, but archaeologists, politicians, travellers, chefs, and historians too.
Both the incoming and outgoing correspondence series consist of letters addressed to and from John Murray publishing from the 18th century up until the 20th. Included in these letters are some of the details of the business, as well as a wealth of personal information.
The author papers section of the archive contains material which relates to some of the most notable authors published by the House of Murray. Made up not only of letters but of photographs, manuscripts, drafts, and hand-written notes by well-known writers such as Charles Darwin, Jane Austen, Sir William Smith, David Livingstone, and Sir Walter Scott. The author papers include items which date back as far as 1743 and as recently as 1930.
The family papers are abundant in letters sent to and from the Murrays' closest family and friends, as well as those to and from more distant relatives.
The business papers in the Archive include all surviving legal and business materials related to the running of John Murray publishing. Included in these are letters which detail information to do with both the financial and administrative portion of the company. The material in this series is dated from 1763-1993.
The papers of Charles Elliot are technically an archive all of their own and are split into three sections: the letter books of Elliot; his ledgers; and the 'Sederunt book of the Trustees approved by Charles Elliot Bookseller in Edinburgh.' – which have then been sorted into smaller series of their own. The first section, Elliot's letter books, are organised into eight series by date in chronological order. They contain copies of all lasting correspondence between Elliot and various authors, publishers, booksellers, and editors, covering most of the years Elliot was in business with the exception of his first three years. These papers provide a wide-ranging insight into Elliot's personal life and business. Elliot's ledgers make up the second section of the Charles Elliot series, consisting mainly of payment records and other financial materials related to sales and costs of production. Names of purchasers can also be found in Elliot's business ledgers, one being Scottish poet Robert Burns. Elliot's book of the Trustees is a compilation of the minutes from his meetings with Trustees during 1790–1805.
This collection makes up a substantial part of the John Murray Archive and contains material from 1848-2004. Smith, Elder and Company had been an important and influential publishing house in the 19th century and so these papers are significant in that they show the inner workings of a successful publishing business as well as in part detail the personal and work lives of Alexander Elder and George Smith, the founders of the company. Included in this Archive are private letters between the company and famous authors like Charlotte Bronte and Elizabeth Gaskell, as well as other materials such as copyright agreements, receipt books, information related to the publishing of the Cornhill Magazine, and papers concerning the sale of the business when it was bought by John Murray in the early 1900s.
The Lord Byron papers are made up of the manuscripts, business papers, and correspondence of one of the most significant authors to be published by the House of John Murray – George Gordon Noel Byron, or Lord Byron. This collection is the largest of its kind, containing over 10,000 items related to Byron. On 10 March 1812 Murray published Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage , which sold out in just a few days. This led to Byron's famous reference to its instantaneous success, 'I awoke one morning and found myself famous.'After its publication, Byron and Murray became good friends and their relationship is the reason why the Archive contains more than just Byron's works – his personal papers were collected by the Murray family over the years. This series contains the manuscripts of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage itself as well as manuscripts and drafts of most of Byron's other work, many of which have been put on display at various exhibitions like the National Library of Scotland's 'Such Seductive Poetry' exhibition (18 April 2019 – 27 July 2019) which featured letters written and received by Byron, as well as the manuscript of Don Juan (cantos I, II and V) with his annotations and additions.
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, is the national legal deposit library of Wales and is one of the Welsh Government sponsored bodies. It is the biggest library in Wales, holding over 6.5 million books and periodicals, and the largest collections of archives, portraits, maps and photographic images in Wales. The Library is also home to the national collection of Welsh manuscripts, the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, and the most comprehensive collection of paintings and topographical prints in Wales. As the primary research library and archive in Wales and one of the largest research libraries in the United Kingdom, the National Library is a member of Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).
The National Library of Scotland (NLS) is the legal deposit library of Scotland and is one of the country's National Collections. As one of the largest libraries in the United Kingdom, it is a member of Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).
John Murray is a British publisher, known for the authors it has published in its history, including Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Byron, Charles Lyell, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Herman Melville, Edward Whymper, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, and Charles Darwin. Since 2004, it has been owned by conglomerate Lagardère under the Hachette UK brand. Business publisher Nicholas Brealey became an imprint of John Murray in 2015.
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Francis Steegmuller was an American biographer, translator and fiction writer, who was known chiefly as a Flaubert scholar.
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Manuscripts and Special Collections is part of Libraries, Research and Learning Resources at the University of Nottingham. It is based at King's Meadow Campus in Nottingham in England. The university has been collecting manuscripts since the early 1930s and now holds approximately 3 million documents, extensive holdings of Special Collections, and the East Midlands Collection of local material, all of which are available for researchers to use in the supervised Wolfson Reading Rooms.
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Marie Stewart, Countess of Mar (1576-1644) was a Scottish courtier. She was the daughter of Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, a favourite of James VI of Scotland, and Catherine de Balsac. After her marriage, as was customary in Scotland, she did not change her name, and signed her letters as "Marie Stuart".
The Patrick Leigh Fermor Archive is a collection of over 10,000 items of correspondence, literary manuscripts, articles and research papers, diaries, passports, sketches and photographs relating to Sir Patrick 'Paddy' Leigh Fermor, a British author, scholar, veteran, and adventurer. The bulk of the collection, the Papers of Patrick Leigh Fermor, was purchased by the National Library of Scotland (NLS) in 2012 from Fermor's estate, using funds donated by the John R. Murray Charitable Trust, and is housed at the Library's main building on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was made available to the general public in November 2014.
The Minto Papers is a collection of family, estate and political manuscripts related to the family of Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 1st Baron Minto and his descendants. The collection has in it over 2000 manuscript volumes. The bulk of the collection was initially purchased in 1958 by the National Library of Scotland (NLS), with later additions to the collection made by purchase and donation. The collection is stored at the NLS main building on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The letters of Sir Walter Scott, the novelist and poet, range in date from September 1788, when he was aged 17, to June 1832, a few weeks before his death. About 7000 letters from Scott are known, and about 6500 letters addressed to him. The major repository of both is the National Library of Scotland. H. J. C. Grierson's The Letters of Sir Walter Scott (1932–1937), though it includes only about 3500, remains the standard edition.