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MS Hyde 71

Leak family, recipient. Leak Family letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b (shelved with bMS Hyde 70-73)
Call No.: MS Hyde 71
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Leak family, recipient
Title: Leak Family letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi,
Date(s): 1811-1816.
Quantity: 1 collection (1 box (.4 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: 154 letters from author Hester Lynch Piozzi to her steward Alexander Leak and his wife Ann Glover Leak concerning Streatham Park.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

*2003JM-59 (part). Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.


These letters were acquired by the Hydes in five lots. Two of these letters were sold by Maggs Bros. to Donald and Mary Hyde in 1948. Four more were sold by John Schroder to the Hydes in 1956. 96 of these letters were the property of Oswald Bourne in 1941, and passed to bookseller Lew David Feldman's House of El Dieff, from whom they were acquired by Donald and Mary Hyde in 1959 (the original lot was 104 letters). Another 42 letters were sold at Sotheby's in 1938 and 1940, and in 1960 were sold by Arthur A. Houghton Jr. to the Hydes. Two others were purchased by Mary Hyde from John Wilson in 1970.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Rick Stattler

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Leak Family Letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi (MS Hyde 71). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

The other portion of this correspondence, from Leak to Piozzi, is preserved at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.

Biographical / Historical

Alexander Leak (1776-1816) was hired by Hester Lynch Piozzi ca. 1806 to serve as steward at her Brynbella estate near Denbigh, Wales. In 1813, he was commissioned to oversee repairs and troublesome tenants at Piozzi's Streatham Park estate near London. Piozzi resided in Wales and Bath, and leased out her life interest in Streatham Park. On 1813 Oct. 9, Leak married Ann Glover Leak (b. ca. 1783), who had been employed as a Piozzi servant since 1809. They had one child, Alexander Piozzi Leak (1815-1892). Leak assisted in the auction of contents of Streatham Park in May of 1816, and died the following month.


64 of these letters were published in Edward A. Bloom and Lillian A. Bloom, eds., The Piozzi Letters: Correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (Formerly Mrs. Thrale) (Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1989-2002), which also serves as the best source of background information on the Leaks. See also James L. Clifford, Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs. Thrale) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1941)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 154 letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi to the Leaks concerning affairs at Streatham Park. 119 are addressed to Alexander Leak, and 39 are addressed to Ann Glover Leak. The bulk of the letters were written by Piozzi in Bath to the Leaks at Streatham Park. All letter are one sheet. Typed transcripts of each letter are included with the collection, with the exception of the two letters acquired from Wilson, which have no transcript.

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