Scope and Contents
||The Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of English Manuscripts comprises 1,952 items dating
1485-1844 (bulk 1530-1722). The collection is dominated by manuscript newsletters
to Sir Richard Bulstrode (1469), plus letters (370), documents (57), manuscripts of
(52), and other items (4) chiefly created by English notables including Oliver Cromwell,
John Donne, Elizabeth I, John Evelyn, John Locke, Samuel Pepys, and Sir Walter Raleigh,
by other English or European monarchs, nobles, and aristocrats. While most manuscripts
this collection are indeed written in English, there are a number of items written
partially in French (288), and a few pieces in Dutch (3), Greek (1), Italian (3),
or Spanish (6). The collection is arranged in three series: I. English Manuscripts,
1485-1844; II. Bulstrode Manuscripts, 1641-1837; and III. Original Manuscript Descriptions
||The first series is smaller than the second, but contains more diverse holdings created
over a longer span of time. Several conceptual groupings are represented, such as
correspondence by or pertaining to Sir Walter Raleigh; documents signed by participants
the regicide of King Charles I of England; and letters by English thinkers from the
Enlightenment period of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Highlights
include letters by Oliver Cromwell, John Locke, and Samuel Pepys, as well as several
of English monarchs, including Henry VII and James I, and a group of letters and documents
signed by Elizabeth I pertaining to her failed marriage suit with François, Duke of
Literary connections include letters by playwright William Congreve; poet John Donne;
designs and letters by John Evelyn the diarist, essayist, and gardener; and a rare
Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calendar translated into Latin. Many
manuscripts are bound into unique extra-illustrated volumes assembled in the mid-nineteenth
century that also contain rare artistic prints and portraiture, many of which are
||The larger second series is comprised of manuscripts from the Bulstrodes, an aristocratic
English family that was prominent in Middlesex in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Most of the manuscripts in this series are associated with Sir Richard Bulstrode
(1610-1711), a diplomat stationed in Brussels, who received the 1,469 handwritten
newsletters in this collection from offices in London while he was stationed abroad,
1667-1689. These newsletters provided Bulstrode with information from England that
be printed in public newspapers. In return, Bulstrode, along with other newsletter
subscribers, mailed personal accounts of news and politics from their regions along
copies of local newspapers back to London. Together with a supplemental set of letters
between Bulstrode, Joseph Williamson (the owner of the principal newsletter office),
clerks from the Secretary of State's office (who also worked in Williamson's office),
Pforzheimer Collection preserves one of the world's largest records of early correspondence
journalism. In addition to the Bulstrode newsletters, this series also contains several
manuscripts by Richard Bulstrode's second son, Whitelocke Bulstrode (1650-1724), a
government administrator and religious essayist, as well as manuscripts and documents
associated with other members of the Bulstrode family.
||The final series retains items that were associated with individual Pforzheimer manuscripts
before they arrived at the Ransom Center, including original paper envelopes and folders
used to house the documents when held by the Carl H. Pforzheimer Library or the Alfred
Morrison Collection, as well as accompanying descriptions or notes.
||Series I. English Manuscripts, 1485-1844 (3 document boxes, 9 oversize boxes,
1 oversize folder)
||The English Manuscripts series contains 266 items arranged alphabetically by creator
name and date. Due to the fact that many of the items are either oversized or were
assembled into bound volumes by former owners, the physical order does not always
reflect the alphabetic sequence, but the container list and the index in this finding
aid do enable browsing or searching by name.
||The majority of the items in this series are letters by or to figures of royalty and
nobility or major political or literary actors in the mid-sixteenth, mid-seventeenth,
and late-seventeenth centuries. There are also a number of other documents from these
periods, including bills, court reports, expense schedules, government orders,
passports, petitions, a play, poems, receipts, sketches, speeches, and warrants.
||The earliest item is a letter from Henry VII, King of England, in 1485 (PFORZ-MS-0124).
Some documents were signed by several individuals, such as PFORZ-MS-0071 wherein six
members of the English Privy Council authorized the payment of a muster master for
Sussex in August 1585. The latest items are letters by early nineteenth-century
collectors, editors, and historiographers that relate to manuscripts in this series
(e.g., William Upcott, editor of John Evelyn's works, PFORZ-MS-0257; Patrick Fraser
Tytler, biographer of Sir Walter Raleigh, PFORZ-MS-0255; and Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges,
editor of Raleigh's poems, PFORZ-MS-0025).
||From the sixteenth century, the best-represented figures are Queen Elizabeth I of
England and Sir Walter Raleigh. A collector's folio volume contains several letters
signed by Elizabeth I relating to the ultimately failed negotiations for her marriage
François, Duke of Anjou and Alençon. An additional credential letter sent to King
IV of France for an unknown emissary is written in Elizabeth's own hand and is one
manuscripts collected by John Dillon in a three volume extra-illustrated edition of
The Life of Sir Walter Raleigh by Patrick Fraser Tytler. Dillon,
an antiquarian of the mid-nineteenth century, illustrated these volumes with original
manuscripts by some of Raleigh's closest associates and antagonists as well as nearly
500 rare pictures and prints and 40 original drawings and paintings depicting people
settings from Raleigh's life. Included among the manuscripts tipped into these volumes
are five original letters from Sir Walter Raleigh to Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir
Gilbert (his half-brothers), and Sir John Gilbert, the Younger (his nephew). Another
letter by Raleigh is included in a rare early-nineteenth century edition of Raleigh's
poetry. A final item associated with Raleigh is a seventeenth-century volume which
contains a contemporary manuscript copy of a transcription of Raleigh's arraignment
Winchester in 1603 and the speech he gave at his execution in 1618.
||From the mid-seventeenth century, a significant group of letters represents key
individuals involved in the regicide of King Charles I of England and the subsequent
Commonwealth government. These include individual letters or documents from Miles
Corbet, Sir John Danvers, Admiral Richard Deane, Isaac Dorislaus, and the Committee
the Public Revenue of the Parliament of England and Wales (i.e., part of the Rump
Parliament). There are also two letters written and signed by Oliver Cromwell himself,
one addressed to a friend discussing a potential marriage match for Cromwell's son
(PFORZ-MS-0041) and one requesting emergency provisions for Cromwell's troops from
Committee of Carmarthenshire after capturing Pembroke Castle in 1648
||From the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries, this series holds numerous
items of correspondence from and between instrumental figures in the English
Enlightenment and early Royal Society. These include letters by Richard Bentley, William
Brouncker, Archbishop John Dolben, and Samuel Hartlib. Two of the most prominently
represented people in this circle of correspondents are Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn.
This series contains seven letters sent between them, 11 other letters by or to Pepys
(including one to Isaac Newton about gambling odds, PFORZ-MS-0207, and one to Sir
Godfrey Kneller about a commissioned painting, PFORZ-MS-0214), and seven other items
John Evelyn. Among Evelyn's papers are a large sketch for a garden design at Albury
(PFORZ-MS-0086), a collection of three locks of Evelyn's hair (PFORZ-MS-0084), a
translation of a letter written to Thomas Hobbes (PFORZ-MS-0085), a guide for setting
and maintaining a household by his wife Mary Evelyn (PFORZ-MS-0092), and letters
bemoaning the clandestine marriage of Evelyn's daughter (PFORZ-MS-0090 and 0091).
||The strongest holdings among the intellectuals of the English Enlightenment are letters
written by or to the philosopher John Locke, tipped into two volumes assembled by
nineteenth-century collector. One volume features 38 letters from the Dublin-based
natural philosopher William Molyneux to Locke about the development of certain
philosophical ideas in later editions of An Essay on Human Understanding (1690), Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), and a few of Locke's
other works. Molyneux also reports on the reception of Locke's works by Irish
intellectuals in the 1690s, including Dr. St. George Ashe. The other volume features
letters in Locke's own hand written over the last year-and-a-half of his life, addressed
to his younger friend and intellectual follower, the philosopher Anthony Collins.
many of these letters, Locke asks Collins to acquire books for him, and in the later
ones, Locke and Collins collaborate on designs for a wheelchair.
||Other items of special interest include manuscripts associated with significant
literary figures: a copy of Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calendar (1579) translated into Latin by Theodore
Bathurst (PFORZ-MS-0246), as well as a letter by John Donne from 1624 (PFORZ-MS-0052),
and a letter by William Congreve from 1710 (PFORZ-MS-0039). There are two letters
written by prominent Quakers in Restoration England: one by Margaret Askew Fell Fox
(PFORZ-MS-0098) and one by Isaac Penington (PFORZ-MS-0204). Another cultural treasure
a vellum handwriting sample book from 1606 by Esther Inglis, one of very few known
calligraphers of her era (PFORZ-MS-0126).
||Series II. Bulstrode Manuscripts, 1641-1837 (10 document boxes, 1 oversize
||The Bulstrode Manuscripts encompass 1,686 items arranged into four subseries: A. Sir
Richard Bulstrode, 1641-1801; B. Whitelocke Bulstrode, 1670-1722; C. Edward Bulstrode,
1681-1707; and D. Other Bulstrode Family Papers, 1672-1837.
||Subseries A. Sir Richard Bulstrode, 1641-1801
||Sir Richard Bulstrode (1610-1711) was a British diplomat and essayist who was
primarily stationed near Brussels. This subseries for his papers is subdivided into:
1. Works (6 folders, arranged alphabetically by title); 2. Letters (10 folders,
arranged into outgoing and incoming, subarranged alphabetically by author and
subsequently by date); and 3. Newsletters (5 boxes, arranged by date).
||1. The Works consist of seven manuscripts of essay drafts and verse either written
or in the possession of Richard Bulstrode. One volume in this section (PFORZ-MS-0267)
is a collection of notes composed by a witness to Parliament during the early 1640s.
While its actual author is unattributed, it has been identified as a possible source
for Bulstrode's posthumously published Memoirs and Reflections upon the Reign and Government of King
||2. The Letters in this subseries include one letter from Bulstrode to Joseph
Williamson in 1674 and 161 letters sent to Bulstrode between 1670 and 1687. The
incoming letters are chiefly from Henry Thynne (100) and William Bridgeman (50) on
behalf of the office of the Secretary of State of England and pertain to Bulstrode's
duties as a diplomat in Brussels. These letters from Bridgeman and Thynne could be
considered a supplement to the 1469 newsletters sent from Joseph Williamson's office
to Bulstrode that are contained in the third segment of this subseries. Together they
reveal a relationship between the newsletter enterprise in the late-seventeenth
century and the correspondence of the office of the Secretary of State.
||For example, in one newsletter from March 1683 (PFORZ-MS-1424), Bridgeman is the
scribe who signs a newsletter sent to Bulstrode from the Williamson office. In his
capacity as a clerk in the office of Secretary of State Robert Spencer, Earl of
Sunderland, Bridgeman wrote individual letters (e.g., PFORZ-MS-0273) to thank
Bulstrode for his news from abroad, to apologize for writing too little, to comment
upon current news, or to urge Bulstrode to write more frequently or with greater
specificity on some news Bulstrode has mentioned. While the letters from Bridgeman
Thynne are generally concerned with matters of state, the gathering of intelligence,
and Bulstrode's official capacity as a diplomat to transmit proprietary communications
from the King to recipients on the continent, they also often refer to gazettes and
newsletters shared between Bulstrode and their offices.
||Some letters include very specific news of state and requests from the Secretary to
conduct business on behalf of the state, such as the letter of March 14, 1678/1679
(PFORZ-MS-0274), which serves as notification to Bulstrode that the King and Queen
coming to Brussels and expect him to attend on them. Other letters request Bulstrode
to do favors for the Secretary, such as the letter of November 21, 1679
(PFORZ-MS-0277), in which Bulstrode is asked to look into the well-being of one of
Lady Sunderland's nephews who had been involved in a duel.
||3. The largest part of this subseries consists of the 1,469 manuscript newsletters
received by Bulstrode between 1667 and 1689. They are arranged chronologically; when
questions arose about an item's date because of incomplete or irregular date formats
(or a question about a scribe's use of new- and old-style dating methods),
contemporary accounts such as Narcissus Luttrell's A Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs from September 1678 to
April 1714 were consulted to verify dates. The new chronological arrangement
of the newsletters attempts to correct chronological sequencing errors noticed in
four-reel microfilm facsimile of the letters, Newsletters of Richard Bulstrode, 1667-1689, From the Harry Ransom
Humanities Center at the University of Texas, Austin (Marlborough: Adam
Matthew Publications, 2002). This new arrangement also incorporates over two dozen
newsletters accidentally omitted from the microfilm.
||The newsletters were the products of two different offices, one operated by Joseph
Williamson (1633-1701) and the other by Edward Coleman (1636–1678) until his arrest
and execution. These newsletters are significant because until 1695, there were no
independent printed newspapers in England, only one official Gazette controlled by the government. Those who wanted
uncensored news depended on manuscript newsletters that contained proprietary
information for their subscribers about proceedings in parliament, activities of the
military and royal family, and court gossip that could not be printed in public
newspapers. To reciprocate for this service, subscribers mailed accounts of news and
politics back to London from their estates around the realm. If they were diplomats
like Bulstrode, subscribers sent first-hand accounts plus local newspapers from their
stations in Europe. This early form of correspondence journalism not only provided
newsletter office with news for future newsletters, but for Williamson, who served
Secretary of State from 1674-1679, it also provided valuable intelligence for his
||In these newsletters, readers will find brief but detailed accounts of historical
events as they unfolded in the British realm in the period between 1667 and 1689,
a London-oriented perspective. The beginning of this period was marked by the end
the second Anglo-Dutch War and the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666.
The end of this period was marked by the Glorious Revolution and the parliamentary
acts that led to the passage of Britain's Bill of Rights early in the reign of William
and Mary. From the interceding 23 years, readers of the newsletters will find news
items relating to a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: the activities
of the East India Company; British diplomacy in Flanders, France, and the Dutch
Republic (especially Zeeland) during the third Anglo-Dutch War and subsequent
Anglo-French hostilities; court hearings held to admonish newsletter offices for
publishing privileged government information; difficulties in governing North American
colonies, especially Boston and Virginia; the marriage of William of Orange to the
future Queen Mary II; the Popish Plot, the trial of Titus Oates, and other
persecutions of Catholics; events leading to the Habeas Corpus Act; the Exclusion
Crisis and formation of the Whig and Tory political parties; the future Queen Anne's
courtship by George of Hanover and later marriage to Prince George of Denmark; the
House Plot of 1683; the siege of Tangier; the death of Charles II and his tumultuous
succession by Catholic James II; and the Duke of Monmouth's Rebellion and pursuit
his supporters in the Low Countries.
||Generally each newsletter contains news items for one to six individually labeled
days, usually spanning a time frame of less than one week. Spacing between the
newsletters is extremely variable. Some parts of this collection suggest that multiple
dispatches were sent to Bulstrode from a single newsletter office on the same day,
whereas other parts reveal gaps of several weeks or months at a time.
||Sir Richard Bulstrode is the implied if not explicitly addressed recipient of the
newsletters. Occasionally, however, the newsletters are addressed to another
individual who presumably served as Bulstrode's secretary or agent. Addressed
recipients of newsletters other than Bulstrode include: Mr. Curtis (1 newsletter),
Mansfield (23), Mr. Richardson (2), and Mr. Walgrave (48). Usually the clerks in
Williamson's or Coleman's offices performed their scribal duties anonymously. However,
some of the newsletters have been signed. Scribes who signed newsletters include:
Henry Ball (4), William Bridgeman (1), J. Ellis (1), Jo. Mounteven (1), J. Tucker
James Vernon (12), Jo. Wendon (3), O. Wynne (1), and Robert Yard (202). There are
14 letters which contain supplemental (often marginal) notes written by Joseph
Williamson addressed directly to Bulstrode. These short notes are generally
postscripts in which Williamson thanks Bulstrode for maintaining his correspondence
with the newsletter office. Occasionally, gratitude to Bulstrode is also expressed
the newsletter office personnel for sending them commodities from the continent as
gifts, including chocolate (PFORZ-MS-1008, 1023, and 1131) and "Brussels twizers or
sissers" (i.e., tweezers or scissors; PFORZ-MS-0646).
||Subseries B. Whitelocke Bulstrode, 1670-1722
||Whitelocke Bulstrode (1650-1724) was the second son of Sir Richard Bulstrode and an
administrator and religious essayist. (While this finding aid identifies Whitelocke
Bulstrode's birth year as 1650 in a manner consistent with Library of Congress
information, researchers should note that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography identifies his birth
year as 1652. This latter date is probably more accurate since Richard Bulstrode's
first son, Edward, seems to have been born in 1650.) The Whitelocke Bulstrode
subseries contains 31 items subdivided into three sections: 1. Works (2.5 boxes,
arranged alphabetically by title); 2. Letters (2 folders, arranged by date); and 3.
Other (1 folder).
||1. The Works section constitutes the bulk of this subseries with 28 items documenting
Whitelocke Bulstrode's work as a government administrator and prominent Protestant
religious essayist in his day. There are several examples of notebooks he kept to
record his meditations on the Bible or on other religious and philosophical subjects.
Some of these served as commonplace books kept while reading and taking notes, but
is an account book from his time as a surveyor for the Commission of Excise for
Vintners (PFORZ-MS-1902). Also present are several pamphlets containing drafts and
printer's notes for many of Bulstrode's essays. Some of these are unpublished, but
most were published in his lifetime or in a posthumous volume of collected works.
Notable among these are three successive drafts of his essay "Of Sin" (PFORZ-MS-1919,
1920, 1921) and drafts of his three Charges to the Grand-Jury of
Middlesex printed between 1717 and 1722.
||2. The Letters section contains two items. Along with an example of Bulstrode's
personal correspondence, there is a copy of a letter about popery that was part of
series of letters exchanged between Bulstrode and Dr. Lawrence Wood on the relative
merits of the Roman and Anglican churches (PFORZ-MS-1928). These letters were
published in multiple editions, the second of which was titled The Pillars of Popery Thrown Down (1718).
||3. The Other section consists of one item: the first page from Whitelocke Bulstrode's
will (PFORZ-MS-1929). This folio-sized document was found among other Bulstrode family
papers and is estimated to be from late in Bulstrode's life.
||Subseries C. Edward Bulstrode, 1681-1707
||The six items in this subseries consist mainly of official documents or business
records pertaining to the Bulstrode family estate that are signed or inscribed by
Edward Bulstrode, born in 1650, the first son of Sir Richard Bulstrode. A range of
activities are represented in these documents, including indenture agreements, a
marriage settlement, business deals and property purchases, and notes on property
holdings. These items are arranged alphabetically by assigned title.
||Subseries D. Other Bulstrode Family Papers, 1672-1837
||This final subseries contains ten works and documents associated with the Bulstrode
family estate. The manuscripts are subdivided into two groups of items either related
to Edward Bulstrode or to other Bulstrode family members. The first group contains
items that can be associated directly with Edward Bulstrode, born 1679, the grandson
of Sir Richard Bulstrode by his first son Edward, born 1650. The remaining eight items
comprising the second group include unattributed short essays and letters on political
topics, legal documents, a catalog of pictures at the Bulstrode family house, and
1803 will of a late descendent of the Bulstrode line, Sophia Bulstrode. Items in both
groups are arranged alphabetically by assigned title.
||Series III. Original Manuscript Descriptions and Housings (3 document
||This series contains items previously associated with individual Pforzheimer
manuscripts: chiefly the original paper envelopes and folders used to house the
documents while they were held by the Carl H. Pforzheimer Library or the Alfred Morrison
Collection, and/or accompanying descriptions or notes. These items are arranged
sequentially by the original MS numbers (1-169) in the printed Pforzheimer Library
catalog. Following the MS number items are associated materials from the manuscripts
designated by "Misc." numbers, acquired in 1989 as Gift 8294. While many of the
Pforzheimer manuscripts have associated materials in this series, not all do.
||Frequently written on the original envelopes or folders are partial descriptions of
individual manuscripts, biographical notes on their creators, and some provenance
information. These notes were transcribed in the printed Pforzheimer Library catalog
and, where possible, have now been recorded and expanded in subsequent Ransom Center
descriptions. Other materials include handwritten and typed notes by former collectors
and archivists, bookmarks and identification slips removed from bound volumes, paper
wrappers, and custom-made bindings and collector's boxes that are no longer in use.
||While most of these associated materials provide very little information that is not
already accessible elsewhere, there are a few pieces that provide additional contextual
information. Most notable among these are: a couple of partial auction sale catalogs;
couple of photocopies of modern articles written about individual items (e.g., a
scholarly article on John Evelyn's garden sketch for Albury, PFORZ-MS-0086 / filed
MS.35c); and printouts of research material accumulated during cataloging in 2013.