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Abraham Hayward collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 553

Scope and Contents

The Abraham Hayward Collection consists of correspondence, printed materials, photographs, and other papers related to Abraham Hayward (1801-1884), a London essayist and translator, as well as the research papers of Brian Roberts, who started but abandoned a biography of Hayward in the 1950s. The papers, which span the years 1791-1962, are stored in seven boxes (including 3 oversize), and are organized into five series: Correspondence, Printed Materials, Other Papers, Photographs, and Brian Roberts Research Materials. The papers document Hayward's familial relations, the literary and political circles of mid-nineteeth century London, and a controversy involving Hayward and the Inner Temple.

Series I, Correspondence , is arranged alphabetically in three subseries: Outgoing, Incoming, and Third Party Correspondence. The bulk of the outgoing correspondence consists of letters to Hayward's two sisters, Fanny and Mary Anne Hayward. In his letters to his sisters, Hayward discusses his travels, London society, and politics, in particular the governments of Gladstone and Disraeli. Outgoing correspondence also includes letters from Hayward to the publisher Richard Bentley regarding articles and book reviews.

Incoming correspondence consists of letters to Hayward from George Bentley, John Thaddeus Delane, Edward Everett, Alexander William Kinglake, John Murray, Henry Pelham, Viscountess Emily Lamb Palmerston, and Horace Smith, and others. Topics include invitations to dine, the politics of Gladstone and Disraeli, Hayward's political appointments, and the publication of various articles, reviews, and pamphlets. The bulk of the third party correspondence is to Fanny Hayward a decade after Abraham Hayward's death.

Series II, Printed Materials , is arranged chronologically in two subseries: Inner Temple Affair and Other Printed Materials. Inner Temple Affair materials consist of two pamphlets, a petition, and clippings related to the controversy that arose from Hayward's failed election to the Inner Temple bench. Other printed materials include titlepages, a theater program, a menu from the Café de Paris, clippings, a circular on John Stuart Mill's antipopulation theory, and a broadside, "Men of the Day, No. 117, Mr. Abraham Hayward, Q.C."

Series III, Other Papers , is arranged chronologically and includes the following: an account of the estate of Robert Abraham, for whom Abraham Hayward was an executor; Abraham Hayward's passport for the years 1862-1871; a copy of his entry in Blundell's School registry; an undated design for a fruit garden or orchard; manuscript copies of poems by Caroline Sheridan Norton, Rev. E.D. Rhodes, and others; and whist instructions.

Series IV, Photographs , consists of a carte-de-visite album containing 12 cartes-de-visite of Abraham Hayward and eleven women, including Mrs. Cornwallis West, Mrs. Wheeler, Olive Campbell, Florence de Bretton, Madaillae Florian, and Countess Fanny Karolyi.

Series V, Brian Roberts Research Materials , is arranged in four subseries: Correspondence, Writings, Notes, and Other Papers. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically and includes letters from many people Roberts contacted in the course of his research on Abraham Hayward, including members of the Hayward family and Muriel Abbot-Anderson, who helped Roberts with local research in England's West Country. Writings include typescript drafts of chapters 1, 2, and 3 of Roberts's biography of Hayward.

The bulk of Brian Roberts's research notes consists of manscript transcriptions of correspondence and writings related to Hayward. The manuscript transcriptions are arranged approximately by the decade of the original document. Roberts's notes also include typescript transcriptions, a biographical timeline, a research notebook containing transcriptions of letters present in Series I, and note cards.

Oversize material is housed in boxes 5 and 6. Restricted Fragile Oversize material is stored in box 7 and contains oversize fragile originals for which preservation photocopies have been made for reference use and filed in the regular series run.


  • 1791-1962


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 7: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Abraham Hayward 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

The Abraham Hayward Collection was acquired through purchase from Christopher Edwards on the George Henry Nettleton Fund, 2003.


5.51 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, printed materials, other papers, and photographs related to Abraham Hayward, as well as the research materials of Hayward biographer Brian Roberts. Outgoing correspondence includes letters to Hayward's sisters Fanny and Mary Anne Hayward, as well as publisher Richard Bentley. Incoming correspondence primarily consists of letters from members of Hayward's literary and political circles, including George Bentley; John Thaddeus Delane; Edward Everett; Alexander William Kinglake; John Murray; Henry Pelham, Duke of Newcastle; Viscountess Emily Lamb Palmerston; Horace Smith, and others. Topics discussed in Hayward's corresondence include contemporary politics; publishing concerns; London society; and invitations to dine. Third party correspondence consists of letters to Fanny Hayward.
The bulk of the printed materials consists of pamphlets, a petition, and clippings related to a controversy over the Inner Temple's rules for election to the bench, which resulted from a dissenter rejecting Hayward. Printed materials also include title pages inscribed by and to Hayward; a theater program; calling cards; clippings; and a menu from the Café de Paris. Other papers include an account of the estate of Robert Abraham, for whom Hayward was the executor; Hayward's passport (1862-1871); a design for a fruit garden; and whist instructions. Photographs consist of 12 cartes-de-visite, including portraits of Abraham Hayward; Mrs. Cornwallis West; Mrs. Wheeler; Olive Campbell; Florence de Bretton; Madaillae Florian; and Countess Fanny Karolyi.
Brian Roberts research materials consist of correspondence; typescripts for three chapters of an unfinished biography of Hayward; manuscript and typescript transcriptions of correspondence and writings related to Hayward; a biographical timeline; and other research papers.


Abraham Hayward, 1801-1884, was an English essayist and translator. Born in Wiltshire, Hayward studied at several schools, including Blundell's School in Tiverton, before moving to London and enrolling at the Inner Temple in 1824. He was called to the bar in 1832, but after the success of his 1833 translation of Goethe's Faust, the first translation of Faust into English, he pursued a career in journalism and literature. He never married.

Residing in London for the rest of his life, Hayward was well-connected in literary and political circles, counting among his acquaintances Thomas Babington Macaulay, William Makepeace Thackeray, W. E. Gladstone, and others. He contributed to many periodicals, including Quarterly Review, Monthly Magazine, and Edinburgh Review, and wrote several books, including collections of essays and biographies of Goethe and Mrs. Thrale (a friend of Dr. Johnson).

Hayward was involved in a controversy in 1845 over the Inner Temple's rules governing elections to the bench of the Inner Temple. Having received an appointment from Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, Hayward then failed to win election to the bench. He attributed the rejection to a grudge held by a Mr. Roebuck who, according to Inner Temple tradition, was able to exclude him with a single black ball.

Guide to the Abraham Hayward Collection
Under Revision
by Michael Rush
October 2006
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

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Access Information

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