Skip to main content

Jerrold/Smith autograph collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 467

Scope and Contents

The material in this collection appears to have been assembled principally for its autograph value. It was removed from an album shortly after its acquisition by the library; the original order of the material is not known. The collection includes letters and other items representing a wide range of prominent figures in nineteenth century British literature, theater, and art, as well as nineteenth and early twentieth century socialism and reform politics. About two thirds of the correspondence was received by Blanchard Jerrold and by Adolphe Smith and his wife Alice Smith; letters to other recipients include several to Mrs. and Miss de Fonblanque. In most cases there is only one letter or note from each correspondent.

The collection is organized into three series: Blanchard Jerrold Papers, Adolphe and Alice Smith Papers, and Third Party Letters and Other Manuscripts. All three are housed in one box.

Series I, Blanchard Jerrold Papers , is organized into two subseries: Letters to Blanchard Jerrold and Other Papers. The correspondence to Blanchard Jerrold is addressed both to him personally and to the Editor of Lloyd's Weekly. It includes letters from many of the leading figures in Victorian literary, artistic and theatrical circles. Letters from Clarkson Stanfield, Anthony Trollope, and John Forster concern a collection taken up by Jerrold for the actor Kenny Meadows in 1861. Several of the letters are addressed to Jerrold at the Reform Club, including one from William Gladstone. Also present are a letter to Douglas Jerrold and an autograph manuscript fragment of Blanchard Jerrold's The Life of Napoleon III.

Series II, Adolphe and Alice Smith Papers , is organized into three subseries: Letters to Adolphe Smith, Letters to Alice Smith, and Other Papers. The letters to Adolphe Smith document his involvement in the British and international socialist, communist, and trade unionist movements. His correspondents include prominent figures in the British labor movement, writers and activists in radical politics, Members of Parliament, and prominent international socialists and communists, as well as actors, artists, and physiologists. Letters to Alice Smith document her work as a literary critic for the Liverpool Courier. Most of her correspondents write to thank her for favorable reviews in that publication. Also present is the title page and flyleaf of an album (possibly the album from which the collection was removed), inscribed "Alice Adolphe Smith."

Series III, Third Party Letters and Other Manuscripts , consists chiefly of correspondence to various recipients from actors, writers, nobility, and others, but it also includes a small sketch of Thackeray, a manuscript poem fragment by Holloway, a manuscript titled "Extracts from Dr. Moore's Travels Thro Italy," and a list of names which may at one time have been represented in the autograph collection. A number of the letters are addressed to a Mrs and Miss de Fonblanque. A few of the letters were likely written to Jerrold or to Adolphe or Alice Smith, but have been included in this series rather than with their correspondence because the recipients cannot be conclusively identified.


  • 1840-1928


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Jerrold/Smith Autograph 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 legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 1975 from William P. Wreden, on the Edwin J. Beinecke Fund.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Letters and other manuscript items representing a wide range of prominent figures in nineteenth century British literature, theater, and art, as well as nineteenth and early twentieth century socialism, reform politics, and medicine. About two thirds of the correspondence was received by Blanchard Jerrold and by Adolphe and Alice Smith; letters to other recipients include several to Mrs. and Miss de Fonblanque.


William Blanchard Jerrold (1826-1884) was the son of British playwright, journalist and political satirist Douglas William Jerrold (1803-1857). The elder Jerrold was editor of a number of publications including the Daily News, Jerrold's Shilling Magazine, and Lloyd's Weekly, as well as a regular contributor to Punch. Blanchard Jerrold also wrote frequently for these papers, and at his father's death he took over the editorship of Lloyd's. He was a prolific writer, a novelist and playwright as well as a journalist, and he shared his father's interest in social reform and the labor movement. His 1872 collaboration with the illustrator Gustave Doré, London: a Pilgrimage, contrasts the lives of London's rich and poor. Among his many other works are biographies of Doré, George Cruikshank, and Napoleon III, and a series of writings on food entitled "Knife and Fork." (More detailed biographies of both Douglas and Blanchard Jerrold may be found in the Dictionary of National Biography.)

Adolphe Smith (1846-1925) was a British journalist and socialist. He was born at Headingley, Yorkshire, but at least one of his parents was French; he seems to have lived in France for part of his life, and fought in the Paris Commune uprising of 1870-71. He wrote frequently on contemporary public health issues, such as the cholera epidemics in France in the 1880s and the spread of smallpox in London. He served as an interpreter at conferences of the International Association of Medical Press, and was the official Anglo-French Interpreter at Congresses of the [Socialist] International between 1882-1910. Smith is best known today for the text accompanying John Thomson's photographs in Street Life in London, published serially in 1877-78, which documents the life of London's poor; other full-length books include The Biography of Charles Bradlaugh and Monaco and Monte Carlo.

Alice Jerrold Smith (1848-1882), Blanchard Jerrold's daughter, married Adolphe Smith in 1872. She wrote A Cruise on the Acorn, a children's book published in 1875 by Marcus Ward & Co., as well as literary criticism for the Liverpool Courier.

Processing Information

The material in this collection was removed from an album soon after its acquisition by the library. The original order is not known.

Guide to the Jerrold/Smith Autograph Collection
Under Revision
by Ellen Doon
December 1999
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
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.