Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1331-MS Eng 1331.4

Benjamin Robert Haydon papers


Diaries and correspondence of English historical painter Benjamin Robert Haydon.


  • Creation: 1808-1888

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to the finding aid describing this collection are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


5 linear feet (35 volumes and 2 boxes)

Consists chiefly of Haydon's diaries in 30 volumes, a notebook, genealogical scrapbook, and an incomplete autobiography. There are also nearly 2,000 letters to and from Haydon, most of which he pasted onto the leaves of the diary. Correspondents include Sir George Howland Beaumont, Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, Earl Grey, William Richard Hamilton, Viscount Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, the Duke of Sutherland, the Duke of Wellington, and Sir David Wilkie. Also contains drawings by Haydon, including portraits of John Keats and William Wordsworth.

Biographical / Historical

Haydon was an English historical painter.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. MS Eng 1331: Journals
  2. ___A. Journals
  3. ___B. The Life of Benjamin Robert Haydon
  4. ___C. Notebook
  5. ___D. Genealogical Scrapbook
  6. II. MS Eng 1331.1: Correspondence and other papers
  7. ___A. Letters removed from the Journals
  8. ___B. Manuscripts, drawings and miscellanea removed from the Journals
  9. ___C. Letters and manuscripts removed from the Genealogical Scrapbook
  10. ___D. Letters addressed to Haydon's family after his death
  11. ___E. Other letters, manuscripts and miscellanea
  12. III. MS Eng 1331.2: Letters to Mary (Cawrse) Hyman Haydon
  13. IV. MS Eng 1331.3: Fiches for Haydon collection
  14. V. MS Eng 1331.4: Additional manuscripts

Please note that item number 2 was inadvertently omitted from Series II.A.

Physical Location

Keats Room

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Gift of Mr. Willard Bissell Pope, 100 Overlake Park, Burlington Vermont; received: 17 Oct 1977.

The volumes came into his possession in 1951 when he bought them from M. Buxton Forman, who purchased them in 1935 from the estate of a descendant of Haydon.


Gift of Mr. Willard Bissell Pope, 100 Overlake Park, Burlington Vermont; received: 1980.


Manuscripts purchased from Paul Grinke (Rare books) ltd., 38 Devonshire Place London with 81-101-124, the gift of Prof.Willard B. Pope, 100 Overlake Park Burlington, Vermont 05401, given in memory of Evelyn Ryan Pope; received: Jun 1981.

Processing Information

This finding aid was revised in December 2023 to address outdated and harmful descriptive language. During that revision, contextualizing notes were added to the description of one item, though a full understanding of Haydon's relationship to slavery and abolitionism could not be interpreted. For more information on reparative archival description at Harvard, see Harvard Library’s Statement on Harmful Language in Archival Description.

Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 1786-1846. Benjamin Robert Haydon papers: 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.

Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2440