Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1647

James Stevens-Cox collection of William Barnes


Manuscripts, photographs, correspondence, and other materials by and about the Dorset poet, William Barnes.


  • Creation: 1825-1988

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.5 linear feet (3 boxes)

Papers of William Barnes that were part of the sale of the James Stevens-Cox collection. Collection includes original Barnes materials: autograph manuscript music; autograph manuscript letters to family, friends, and colleagues; proofs of wood engravings; original drawings; and images of Barnes and related locales created by others. Image materials include: photographs, cartes-de-visite, cabinet photographs, daguerreotypes, drawings, and printed materials.

Includes correspondence and other papers about William Barnes collected by antiquarian and dealer, James Stevens-Cox, and correspondence assembled by author William Turner Levy as he wrote William Barnes: the man and the poems. Levy's papers include replies to his inquiries about Barnes, a letter from T. S. Eliot, and an essay by Mark Van Doren intended as a prefatory note for the book. Also with clippings and photographs related to Levy's book.

Also includes letters from Charles William Dale to Barnes.

Biographical / Historical

William Barnes (1801-1886) of Dorset was a self-educated schoolmaster, clergyman, philologist, artist, and poet. He married Julia Miles in 1827. Barnes did write poetry in "standard" English, but is known especially for his dialect poems.

James Stevens-Cox (1910-1997) was an author and antiquarian who collected materials on William Barnes.

William Turner Levy (1922-2008) was an educator and author. He wrote: William Barnes : the man and the poems. Longmans (Dorchester), 1960.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. James Stevens-Cox papers on William Barnes
  2. II. William Turner Levy papers on William Barnes
  3. III. Printed materials concerning William Barnes
  4. IV. William Barnes papers
  5. A. William Barnes correspondence
  6. B. William Barnes compositions
  7. C. Images of William Barnes
  8. D. Other materials relating to William Barnes

Physical Location



2008M-32 is listed in the JS-C sale catalogue as item numbers 172, 181-198, 200-201, 218-221, 260 and four unnumbered.

2008M-89 is listed in the JS-C sale catalogue as: "272 Levy (Rev. William Turner) William Barnes; the man and the poems. Sold with this copy is a file of letters to Levy. This was purchased by JSC in America. Includes originals for the plates in the book, Mark van Doren's draft of his Foreword ('will this do?'), letters from T. S. Eliot, Geoffrey Grigson, Edith Baxter & Lucy E. Barnes Baxter [Leader Scott], Bessie Pafford [personal recollections of WB; partly quoted at pp. 66-7), Littleton Powys (ditto, pp. 163-64) and copies of letters from WB to William Allingham ... " Also called: "Barnes Levy file."

2008M-90 is listed in the JS-C sale catalogue as: "272 Levy (Rev. William Turner) William Barnes; the man and the poems. ... Also included is a file of press cuttings and miscellanea on Barnes, from the collection of JSC."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2008M-32, 2008M-89, and 2008M-90. Purchased with the Amy Lowell Trust, the Louis J. Appell Jr. Fund for British Civilization in the Harvard College Library, the Livingston Fund, and the Edward and Bertha C. Rose Acquisition Fund; received: 2008 October 16.

Separated Materials

Other printed portions of this purchase were accessioned as *2008-1500-1775, and were cataloged separately in HOLLIS.


For detailed listing of the James Stevens-Cox collection see: Maggs Bros. William Barnes, 1801-86: the James Stevens-Cox collection, 2008. *EC85.B2638.Q2008m and MS Ref-90. References to this book in this guide is: "JS-C #."

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Stevens-Cox, James, collector. James Stevens-Cox collection of William Barnes, 1825-1988: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
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