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Inventory of the Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu Papers, 1738-1800
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Subject matter
  • Persons represented by ten or more pieces
  • Some important or interesting items

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1738-1800
    Creator: Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson), 1718-1800
    Extent: 6923 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    In 1899 the papers passed into the hands of a granddaughter of the 4th Baron Rokeby, Mrs. Emily J. Climenson, and on her death in 1921 to Mr. Reginald Blunt. The collection was purchased by Mr. Huntington from Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach in 1925.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu (1718-1800), English authoress and leader of society, was the wife of Edward Montagu, a member of parliament for Huntingdon in the whig interest and a person of wealth who owned coal mines in Northumberland and estates in Berkshire and Yorkshire. Mrs. Montagu's house in Hill Street, London, was a gathering place for persons of fashion and intellect and the "bluestocking" assemblies there attracted such visitors as Lord Lyttelton, Horace Walpole, Dr. Johnson, Burke, Garrick, and Reynolds. After 1775, the year of her husband's death, Mrs. Montagu personally managed the affairs relating to her estates and collieries.
    The peculiar significance of this collection, formed by Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby, Mrs. Montagu's nephew and executor, is that it includes many of Mrs. Montagu's letters (3300) as well as several thousand letters addressed to her.

    Subject matter

    • A. The everyday-life of Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu
      • 1. Social life at her London house
      • 2. Life at her country place, Sandleford Priory, Berkshire
      • 3. Life at Bath and Tunbridge Wells
        • a. Water-drinking and bathing
        • b. Lectures, balls, assemblies, and tea-parties
      • 4. References to current books and plays
      • 5. Coal mines and mining in Northumberland
      • 6. Medicine
        • a. Discussion by Mrs. Montagu and her friends of their minor ailments: stomach trouble, headaches, eyestrain, influenza, etc.
        • b. Smallpox innoculations of Mrs. Montagu
      • 7. Description and Travel
        • a. Frequent trips to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sandleford, Tunbridge Wells, and Bath
        • b. Mrs. Montagu's journeys to Spa in 1763, Paris in 1776, and Scotland in 1766 and 1770
        • c. Visits to country seats and parks, cathedrals, castles, and the university towns
    • B. Local social and political gossip (There are but very few references to American colonial affairs and the Revolutionary War.)
    • C. Current affairs in Great Britain
      • 1. Second Jacobite Rebellion
      • 2. Discussion of the Seven Years' War
      • 3. Coronation of George III
      • 4. John Wilkes affair
      • 5. Trial of Warren Hastings

    Persons represented by ten or more pieces

    The figures in parentheses indicate the number of letters from Mrs. Montagu addressed to that person when ten or more.
    Alison, Dorothea (Gregory)
    90 pieces
    Archdeacon, William
    22 pieces
    Bentinck, Margaret Cavendish (Harley), Duchess of Portland
    62 (207) pieces
    Blagden, Sir Charles
    30 pieces
    Boscawen, Frances Evelyn (Glanville)
    73 (19) pieces
    Botham, Lydia (Lumley)
    29 pieces
    Bower, Archibald
    11 pieces
    Donnellan, Anne
    64 (50) pieces
    Dromgold, Jean
    21 pieces
    Drummond, Robert Hay
    12 pieces
    DuBoccage, Marie Anne (Le Page) Fiquet
    11 pieces
    Durey de Meinières, Octavie (Guichard) Belot
    18 pieces
    Freind, William
    25 (42) pieces
    Gregory, John
    30 pieces
    Harcourt, Elizabeth (Venables-Vernon), Countess Harcourt
    17 pieces
    Home, Henry, Lord Kames
    12 pieces
    Lyttelton, Charles, Bishop of Carlisle
    16 pieces
    Lyttelton, George, 1st Baron Lyttelton of Frankley
    116 (111) pieces
    Medows, Jemima (Montagu), Lady
    26 pieces
    Monpellier, [?]
    13 pieces
    Monsey, Messenger
    71 pieces
    Montagu, Dorothy (Fane), Countess of Sandwich
    50 pieces
    Montagu, Edward
    439 (691) pieces
    Montagu, Edward Wortley
    19 pieces
    Montagu, Elizabeth (Charlton)
    104 (42) pieces
    Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson) to Grace(Robinson) Freind
    13 pieces
    Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson) to Matthew Robinson
    19 pieces
    Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson) to Mary Anstey
    10 pieces
    Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson) to Elizabeth Carter
    754 pieces
    Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson) to Edward Bridgen
    24 pieces
    Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson) to Leonard Smelt
    57 pieces
    Montagu, Matthew, 4th Baron Rokeby
    129 (113) pieces
    More, Hannah
    22 pieces
    Pepys, Sir William Weller, Bart.
    13 (50) pieces
    Petty, Sophia (Carteret), Countess of Shelburne
    13 pieces
    Petty, William, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne
    11 pieces
    Pitt, Anne
    19 pieces
    Potter, Robert
    26 pieces
    Pulteney, Harry
    12 pieces
    Pulteney, William, Earl of Bath
    283 (142) pieces
    Robinson, Charles
    12 pieces
    Robinson, Elizabeth (Drake)
    40 (25) pieces
    Robinson, Morris
    19 (21) pieces
    Robinson, Richard, 1st Baron Rokeby
    42 pieces
    Robinson, Sir William, Bart.
    20 pieces
    Robinson-Morris, Matthew, 2d Baron Rokeby
    57 pieces
    Scott, Sarah (Robinson)
    367 (737) pieces
    Somerset, Elizabeth (Berkeley), Duchess of Beaufort & suo jure Baroness Botetourt
    25 pieces
    Stanley, Sarah (Sloane)
    13 pieces
    Stillingfleet, Benjamin
    11 (28) pieces
    Vesey, Elizabeth (Vesey) Handcock
    96 (254) pieces
    West, Gilbert
    54 (54) pieces
    Wilberforce, William
    26 pieces
    Williams, Lady Frances (Coningsby)
    12 pieces
    Woodhouse, James
    14 pieces

    Some important or interesting items

    • Boscawen, Frances Evelyn (Glanville). Letter to Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu about her husband, Admiral Edward Boscawen.
      Date: 1756, Nov. 18
    • Brummell, George Bryan. Dinner invitation to Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby, with a splendid impression of "Beau" Brummell's seal.
      Date: 1806?
    • Burke, Edmund. Letter to Mrs. Montagu mentioning his going to the Tower of London to examine some state records and save them, if possible, from destruction.
      Date: c.1771?
    • Clarkson, Thomas. Long letter to Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby, about the abolition of slavery.
      Date: 1793, Aug. 28
    • Collet, John. Letter to Joseph Emin requesting him to purchase Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament in Georgia.
      Date: 1765, Mar.
    • Erskine, Thomas, 1st Baron Erskine. The Seal: a poem. An interesting note tells how the poem came to be written and a wax impression of the seal is affixed to the last leaf of the manuscript.
      Date: 1788, Sep. 24
    • Hervey, Elizabeth. Letter to Mrs. Montagu describing the fete given by the Earl of Leicester at Holkham in celebration of the Revolution of 1688.
      Date: 1788, Nov. 8
    • Johnson, Samuel. Letter to Mrs. Montagu referring to a neglected invitation to dinner at Hill Street.
      Date: 1774, Jan. 11
    • Lyttelton, George, 1st Baron Lyttelton of Frankley. Two letters to Archibald Bower describing his trip through Wales.
      Date: 1755, July
    • More, Hannah. Bishop Bonner's Ghost: a poem.
      Date: 1789.
      Autograph manuscript of this poem which was first printed at the Strawberry Hill Press. On June 23, 1789 Horace Walpole wrote to Hannah More: "I will forgive all your enormities if you will let me print your poem [which she had just written]....I will be content with printing only two hundred copies, of which you shall have half, and I half." His desire to print her poem seems a gracious response to the honor she had done him by dedicating her poem, Florio, to him in 1786.
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). To Edward Montagu: a letter referring to the courtship of George Lewis Scott of Mrs. Montagu's sister, Sarah Robinson.
      Date: c.1750
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to Sarah (Robinson) Scott mentioning books which would be useful to Mrs. Scott in her writing.
      Date: 1754, Jan. 10
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to Mrs. Scott about wages and living conditions of the poor.
      Date: 1772, July 28
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to Mrs. Scott containing a description of a balloon ascension.
      Date: 1786, Sep. 24
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Two letters to Leonard Smelt about Laurence Sterne and his family.
      Date: 1768, Sep.? and Oct. 31
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to William Pulteney, Earl of Bath, reporting a visit from Dr. Johnson.
      Date: 1763, May?
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to Elizabeth Vesey describing her trip to Spa. Spa,
      Date: 1763, July 14
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to Mrs. Vesey on Lord Chesterfield and the publication of his Letters.
      Date: 1774, July 18
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to Mrs. Vesey telling of her trip to Paris. Paris,
      Date: 1776, July 2.
    • Montagu, Elizabeth (Robinson). Letter to Mrs. Vesey mentioning a visit to the meeting of the French Academy at which a paper against Shakespeare by Voltaire was read.
      Date: 1776, Sep. 7
    • Scott, Sarah (Robinson). Letter to Mrs. Montagu requesting French novels which she can translate, with a plea that this request be kept a secret.
      Date: 1754? Jan.?
    • Morton, Charles. Informs Mrs. Montagu of the visiting hours at the British Museum and sends her tickets of admission.
      Date: 1761, June 7
    • Pulteney, William, Earl of Bath. Letter to Mrs. Montagu mentioning that his portrait is to be retouched by Sir Joshua Reynolds and that Laurence Sterne is to be present to entertain him while he sits.
      Date: 1761, Dec. 26
    • Pulteney, William, Earl of Bath. Letter to Mrs. Montagu telling of being stuck in his sedan chair upon his return home because the door had frozen shut in the damp night air.
      Date: c.1762
    • Sterne, Laurence. A letter to Mrs. Montagu in his characteristic style.
      Date: 1767? May
    • Stuart, James. A playful letter written to Mrs. Montagu.
      Date: 1761, Feb. 27
    • Anonymous. Letter to the Earl of Bath suggesting that he remodel his London residence.
      Date: 1761, June 5