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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Hyde 69

T. Cadell letters from others


Letters received by bookseller Thomas Cadell and the successor firm of Cadell & Davies.


  • Creation: 1766-1825

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.5 linear feet (1 box)

The bulk of these letters are addressed to Thomas Cadell the Elder from 1766 to 1795. Twenty-two letters are addressed to the successor firm of Cadell & Davies, with many of them extending an earlier correspondence with Hannah More.

Among the most significant letters are twelve from author Hannah More on a variety of topics, items (28) to (30); six from Hester Lynch Piozzi concerning her Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, item (34); and one from economist Adam Smith concerning his Wealth of Nations, item (39).

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Cadell (1742-1802) entered the London book trade in 1758 as an apprentice to Andrew Millar (1705-1768). He entered in partnership with Millar in 1765, and became the sole proprietor in 1767. He was perhaps the leading bookseller in London until his retirement in 1793. He was succeeded by the firm of Cadell & Davies, consisting of his son Thomas Cadell (1773-1836) and William Davies (d. 1820). Cadell Jr. acted as sole proprietor after the death of Davies, and the firm came to a conclusion with his own death in 1836.

See the introduction to Theodore Besterman's The Publishing Firm of Cadell & Davies: Select Correspondence and Accounts, 1793-1836 (London: Oxford University, 1938).


Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Physical Location



These papers arrived as a bequest from Mary Hyde Eccles in 2004. She had acquired them from a variety of sources. Most had been purchased by her from Sotheby's in 1950 as part of a set of Boswell's Life of Johnson extra-illustrated by A.B. Burney. They were removed from the Burney volumes in 1953, but are still mounted. A few other items were acquired as part of extra-illustrated sets from R.B. Adam. Most of the Hannah More letters were purchased from Emily Driscoll in 1964.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2003JM-58 (part) and2003JM-59 (6 items). Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.

Related Materials

The original Cadell & Davies archive was broken up at an early date to feed the market for English literary autographs. Collector Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1871) owned at least one portion of the archive (presently at the University of Birmingham), and the whole was apparently broken up into many lots no later than 1934. Other substantial files of correspondence addressed to the firm are held at several archives in the United States and Great Britain, including the Huntington Library, Reading University, University of California at Los Angeles, and Yale University. Six letters from Samuel Johnson to Thomas Cadell dated 1778 to 1783 and undated can be found in the Samuel Johnson Letters at the Houghton Library (MS Hyde 1), item (15). Approximately thirty other letters addressed to Cadell can also be found interspersed through the Houghton Library's autograph file and other miscellaneous collections.

Processing Information

Processed by: Rick Stattler

Cadell, T. (Thomas), 1742-1802, recipient. T. Cadell letters from others, 1766-1825: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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