Scope and Content
Title: William Roscoe Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1774-1887, undated
Collection number: MS.2008.023
Creator: Roscoe, William
2 boxes and 4 volumes (2 linear feet)
University of California, Los Angeles.
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: Contains correspondence to and from William
Roscoe, his family circle and various friends, booksellers and
colleagues as well as commonplace books compiled by his wife Jane
Griffies, portrait engravings and ephemera, dating 1774-1887 and
Physical location: Clark Library
Language of Material: Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial
Library, UCLA. All requests for permission to publish or quote from
manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Librarian. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the William Andrews Clark Memorial
Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to
include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
[Identification of item], William Roscoe Collection, 1774-1887, undated, MS.2008.023,
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los
Gift of Professor David H. Weinglass and Marilyn Carbonell, 2008.
William Roscoe was born in 1753 in Liverpool. Although he trained to
become an attorney and worked in that capacity for 20 years, his true
passion was literature and the arts, particularly the study of Italy. In
1781, Roscoe married Jane Griffies, to whom he was happily married for
over 40 years. Their family of seven sons and three daughters was a
close and loving one, something that is well-reflected in the
correspondence collected here.
Beginning when he was around 16, Roscoe had published and circulated
some poetry that was well-received by the critics, but it was the Life
of Lorenzo published in 1796 that earned him his reputation as a writer
and historian. This was followed by a Life of Leo X in 1805, which was
not as well-received. Roscoe retired from his career in the law soon
after the publication of the Life of Lorenzo and dedicated his time to
writing and the arts, as well as farming, abolition and politics. In
1816, a bank in which he was a partner failed and Roscoe was forced to
sell his home of Allerton Hall as well as his sizeable collections of
books, paintings and manuscripts.
Though Roscoe continued working as a writer and as an advocate for
culture in Liverpool, his family moved often because of financial
worries. Jane Griffies Roscoe died in 1824 and Roscoe himself died at
78, in 1831.
Scope and Content
The William Roscoe collection, dating 1774-1887 and undated, consists
primarily of correspondence between Roscoe, his family circle and
various friends, booksellers and professional colleagues. The collection
also contains 4 volumes of commonplace books compiled by his wife, Jane
Griffies Roscoe, contemporary and modern images of Roscoe and his
residences, and related ephemera.
The majority of the correspondence collected here consists of
outgoing letters written by Roscoe to his sons and to colleagues and
friends in the worlds of publishing, art and politics, as do incoming
letters sent to Roscoe and to others. Some letters are brief notes
regarding social engagements, while others contain more substantive
discussions of topics ranging from slavery to bookselling and art
collecting. Frequent correspondents include sons Robert, Richard, Thomas
and Henry as well as booksellers Cadell & Davies and artist Martin
The four volumes of commonplace books, dating 1774-1790, compiled by
Jane Griffies Roscoe contain autograph contributions by Roscoe, as well
as works by him written in Jane's hand. The volumes also contain what
appear to be Jane's original compositions in addition to works by poets
such as William Collins, Thomas Gray, Phillis Wheatley and Anna Laetitia
Ephemera and images, dating 1805-1853 and undated, include portrait
engravings of Roscoe and of his residence at Allerton Hall, as well as
related newspapers and other clippings. A medal issued on his centenary
in 1853 by Joseph Mayer, Liverpool arts patron and possible former owner
of parts of this collection, is also included.
The collection is organized into the following series:
- Series 1. Correspondence, 1796-1833, 1887, undated. 1 box
- Series 2. Poetical commonplace book, 1774-1790. 4 volumes
- Series 3. Images and ephemera, 1805-1853, undated. 1 box
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Weinglass, David H.
Authors, English -- 18th
century -- Archives
Genres and Forms