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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 834

Edmund Kean correspondence


Correspondence of English actor Edmund Kean and other papers related to him.


  • 1791-1836
  • Majority of material found in 1826-1828

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English..

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


1 linear feet (3 boxes)

Includes Kean's correspondence dated 1810-1832, about half of which is dated 1827, the year Kean returned to acting at Drury Lane Theatre. Many of the letters written by members of the public are congratulatory or are requests for charity; a few others are between Kean and notable colleagues or patrons such as his wife Mary Kean, actor Charles Kemble, and Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex. Also includes a small number of third-party letters (1791-1836) mentioning Kean or related to his life, as well as some research materials and ephemera.

Biographical / Historical

Edmund Kean (1787-1833) was an English actor associated with the Drury Lane Theatre. An affair with Charlotte Cox, the wife of prominent alderman Robert Cox, led to an adultery trial against Kean in 1825 and his subsequent travel outside of England. Kean returned to the English stage in 1827 and remained acting until shortly before his death in May 1833. With Mary (Chambers) Kean he was the father of actor Charles Kean (1811-1868).


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Edmund Kean correspondence
  2. II. Third-party correspondence and other material

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

2007MT-10r. Gifts from unknown sources; received: ca. 1932-1934.

Related Materials

Other correspondence by Kean to various correspondents can be found in Kean family autograph collection : scrapbook, 1814-1874 (*2007MT-9r).

Processing Information

Processed by: Genna Duplisea

The curatorial file contains clippings from auction and autograph dealer's catalogues, letter descriptions, and other materials related to the collecting of Kean correspondence.

Kean, Edmund, 1787-1833. Edmund Kean correspondence, 1791-1836: 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.

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