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MS Eng 1502

Merritt, Percival, 1860-1932, collector. Percival Merritt collection of Horace Walpole manuscripts, 1751-1920: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MS Eng 1502
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Merritt, Percival, 1860-1932, collector.
Title: Percival Merritt collection of Horace Walpole manuscripts,
Date(s): 1751-1920.
Quantity: 1 collection (1 linear foot (6 volumes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Manuscripts collected by Edward Percival Merritt, by and about the English author Horace Walpole and his Strawberry Hill Press.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Gift of Elisabeth Merritt in memory of her husband, Percival Merritt, who formed the Walpole Collection; received: 1934 Apr. 10.
Recataloged from: WM 2.05, WM 2.5, WM 2.10, WM 2.10.2, WM 2.15, WM 2.50, WM 21.13.9.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Percival Merritt Collection of Horace Walpole Manuscripts, 1751-1920 (MS Eng1502). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Horatio Horace Walpole, fourth Earl of Orford (1717-1797), was an English writer, politician, connoisseur, and collector. He was the youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, British prime minister and leading Whig politician, and Catherine Shorter Walpole. He attended first Eton, and then King's College, Cambridge, and became good friends with the poet Thomas Gray. Between 1739 and 1741 Gray and Walpole embarked on a grand tour of Europe. Walpole was elected to Parliament in 1741 and served until 1767. In 1747 he acquired a home known as Strawberry Hill, located in Twickenham, where over the years he embellished the structure with cloisters, turrets, and battlements, and filled the interior with pictures, curios, and a valuable library. He established a private press on the grounds known as the Strawberry Hill Press. In 1791 he succeeded to the Earldom of Orford, and he died in 1797. Walpole was famous in his day for initiating the vogue for gothic romances with his medieval horror tale The Castle of Otranto. Today he is best known as one of the most prolific letter writers in the English language.


Arranged in former call-number order.

Scope and Contents

Includes materials by and about Horace Walpole and his Strawberry Hill Press, including: drawings from his Anecdotes of painting in England, a genealogy of the Walpole family, receipts, travel diary for journeys to Paris, Strawberry Hill visitor's book, transcript copy of his 1796 will, notes on printing at the Press, and other materials.

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