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W. J. Linton Collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 1387

Scope and Contents

The W. J. Linton Collection chiefly contains William James Linton’s papers, including correspondence, autograph manuscripts and other writings by and about Linton, graphic work, and personal papers, which were inherited by his daughters Ellen Wade Linton and Margaret Linton Mather, when their father died in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1897. It includes literary and graphic material that Linton brought with him when he emigrated from England to the United States in the mid-1860s, as well as work he accomplished while living in Connecticut. Once the papers entered the Yale University Library beginning in 1911, they were added through 1929 by family members and by gifts from three local admirers of Linton who were also friends of the family: the engraver William Fowler Hopson and two Yale graduates, Howard Mansfield and Alfred E. Hamill. These substantial gifts combine to comprise the largest group of Linton’s autograph literary manuscripts, examples of engravings and other printed work he created both in England and the United States, and material related to Linton’s classic works The History of Wood Engraving in America (1882) and Masters of Wood Engraving (1886).


  • 1797 - 1937
  • Majority of material found within 1838 - 1897


Language of Materials

In English, French, and German.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The W. J. Linton Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legalheirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired chiefly through gifts of Margaret Linton Mather, 1911-1929, and Ellen Wade Linton, 1918. Additional gifts from William Fowler Hopson and Ada M. Hopson, 1918-1920; Alfred E. Hamill (Yale 1905), 1928-1929; and Howard Mansfield (Yale 1871, MA Hon 1891), 1929. Other acquistions are noted at the folder level in the finding aid. For additional information, consult the appropriate curator.


Organized into six series: I. Correspondence, 1829-1931. II. Writings by Linton, 1845-1898. III. Writings about Linton, 1839-1937. IV. Graphic Material, 1838-1913. V. Personal Papers, 1838-1902. VI. Other Papers, 1797-1922.

Associated Materials

Grace Linton Cook Papers About W. J. Linton (GEN MSS 1406), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


16.43 Linear Feet (21 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of the papers of author and wood engraver W. J. Linton, including personal and professional correspondence, writings by and about Linton, drawings and prints, personal papers, and other papers covering Linton's life and work in England and the United States. The papers are primarily those inherited by his daughters Ellen Wade Linton and Margaret Linton Mather, with additions from family friends.

W. J. Linton (1812-1897)

The British wood engraver, author, historian, printer, publisher, and political activist William James Linton was born in London on December 7, 1812. He immigrated to New York in 1866 and in 1867 settled at Appledore, a small farm and cottage in Hamden, Connecticut, just north of New Haven. There he founded his Appledore Private Press and wrote and printed several of his most notable works including The Masters of Wood-Engraving (1886). Linton died in New Haven, at the home of his daughter Margaret Linton Mather, on December 29, 1897.

Processing Information

This finding aid was produced from a previously existing card set in the Manuscripts Catalog. All pertinent bibliographical information has been retained.

This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: MS Vault Shelves Linton, Uncat MS Vault File, Uncat MSS 600, and Uncat MSS 878.

Guide to the W. J. Linton Collection
by Sandra Markham
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.