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THE DIARIES AND PAPERS OF ELIZABETH INCHBALD
from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the London Library

Note: unless stated otherwise plays and novels are by Elizabeth Inchbald

Manuscript items from the Folger Shakespeare Library

REEL 1

A Case of Conscience, c.1799.
A play prepared for presentation at Drury Lane, but never acted. The cast list includes Cooke, Kemble and Mrs Siddons. D.b.36

Diaries and account books, 1776-1820, 9 volumes.
The diary entries are brief, each day crowded into a very small space in printed diary form. The first seven diaries are written in editions of The Ladies’ Own Memorandum Book. The first five volumes contain many entries of appearances on the stage and each day’s movements and activities are noted. The first four volumes contain brief and unsystematic expense accounts. The diaries were originally part of a set of fifty, each measuring 12.5 x 8 cm. M.a. 149-55

Extracts include:
Volume 1, 1776: Packed entries and well reproduced but a difficult hand, with one week per page. Features an essay on education, poetry, enigmas, country dances. M.a.149


Volume 2, 1780: Remarkable occurrences in 1780s as well as poems and enigmas.
19 February ‘Was at Rehearsal – Dressed early – played Foible in Way of the World, then saw Widow or no Widow. Dr & Mrs Hudson … supped with us – after I wrote to Dr Hitchcock – and a copy to Mr Wilkinson.’


5 April ‘A cold snowy day – was at 11 o’clock Rehearsal – all the afternoon at Hamlet …’ M.a.150


Volume 3, 1781: 13 July ‘Shell’d Peas & Beans. Mrs Hurst read Liberal opinions while my mother slept.’


25 December ‘A beautiful day – Walked to Mr Harris’s but he was out – then breakfasted and my cousin & Mr Chambers call’d – at rehearsal of the pantomime and told Mr Harris I had called on him – dined, drink tea and supped at Dr Babbs ...’ M.a.151


Volume 4, 1783: 15 July A fine day – read – played in Friend in Need and Pantomime. Found Etty poorly when I came home. Heard Mrs Wilson was entirely gone from the Theatre. Received a note from Mr Johnson for an order.’ M.a.152
Volume 5, 1788: 19 January ‘Translating all the morning … Sir Charles called while I was at tea … we went to the two acts of jks shows then returned again … worked on play Robin Hood and Midnight Hour …’ M.a.153


Volume 6, 1807: 23 April ‘My few lines on Opie highly praised,’ M.a.154


Volume 7, 1808: 19 January ‘Shocked on reading the Death of Lord Trafalgar in my Paper … I read the end of Paley’s Theology.’ M.a.155


Volume 8, 1814: 21 May ‘Rain and fog all day … I worked then read till dark. Miss Brake dined with me about seven off roast beef. An account of the victory near Bayonne in my paper …’ M.a.156


Volume 9, 1820 : a smaller diary. M.a.157

Diaries for 1782 and 1793.

Similar in format to other diaries.
1782 : The Ladies’ Own Memorandum Book; or Daily Pocket Journal includes a list of travelling expenses.
W a.239


1793: The Royal Engagement Pocket Atlas. Brief notes mainly on who dined with.
31 May (?) ‘At the Old Bailey hearing trials.’ W.a.240

Letters to various people, [1780]-1910.
Twelve autograph letters signed and one fragment signed. Correspondents include: [Alexander?] Chalmers, [Archibald?] Hamilton, J[ames?] Heath, Joseph Munden, J[ames] Northcote, John Robinson, [R B Sheridan], [Mrs Siddons], [Tate] Wilkinson, Francis Wrangham. Y.c.1376 (1-14)

Extracts include:
Chalmers: 3 August 1893, letter of thanks. (1)
Hamilton: 13 March, returning pamphlet, plus criticism. (2)
Heath: 1805, order. (3)
Munden: 11 December 1802, petition. (4)
Robinson: 1806, orders and criticism of Mr Chalmers. (6)
Robinson: n.d., to the publisher respecting the copyright of the ‘Britiish Theatre’. (7)
[RBS]: 5 May, Purchase of farce by Mr Kemble. (8)
[Siddons]: October 1801, epistle to Mrs Siddons praising the performance of her son, Harry, in a play at Covent Garden. (9)
Wilkinson: [1780], Inchbald announces her intention of leaving his company ‘You surely forget that I am articled and will stay with you just as long as I please, therefore don’t affront me …’ (10)
Wilkinson: n.d., private matters. (11)
Wrangham: 8 October 1778, criticism of a sermon. (12)

Papers, 1784-1821, 1909.


Thirteen items. [Haymarket] box office receipts for four nights, 1784-1821, including The Chapters of Accidents and The Mogul Tale (1-4). Notes about herself, and about various writers and their works, including remarks on Othello and the interpretations of certain actors, c.1801 (5-8). Will, 29 April1821, signed and sealed only (9). Notes by ? from several of her Pocket Books, and a statement and letter from Agnes Croucher, 20 May 1909, vouching for certain of the Inchbald MSS at the Folger Library (10-13). (6) is written on the blank pages of the Part-Book for Count Abbeville in ‘The Hue and Cry’ by Mrs Inchbald. Y.d.592 (1-13)

Printed Works from the London Library

REEL 2

The Mogul tale, or, the descent of the ballon, a farce
Dublin, 1788

The midnight hour, a comedy in three acts, from the French of M Damaniant …
Dublin, 1788

Animal magnetism, a farce in three acts
Dublin, 1789

I’ll tell you what, a comedy in five acts
Dublin, 1787

Such things are, a play in five acts
Dublin, 1788

The married man, a comedy in three acts, from Le philosophe marié of M Nericault Destouches
Dublin, 1789

The child of nature, a dramatic piece in four acts, from the French of Madame the Marchioness of Sillery, formerly Countess of Genlis
Dublin, 1789

Every one has his fault, a comedy in five acts
Dublin, 1795

George Coleman, Ways and Means, or, A trip to Dover
Dublin, 1788

Edward Morris, False Colours
Dublin, 1793

Simple Story, a novel
London, 1840

REEL 3

Memoirs of Mrs Inchbald, including her familiar correspondence with the most distinguished persons of her time. Includes: The Massacre and A Case of Conscience.
Editor James Boaden
London, 1833, 2 volumes

The British Theatre: or, A collection of plays, which are acted at the Theatres Royal, Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and Haymarket … with biographical and critical remarks by Mrs Inchbald.
Volume 1: Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare) -- Hamlet (Shakespeare) -- King John (Shakespeare) -- King Richard III (Shakespeare) -- Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)
London, 1808, 25 volume collection

REEL 4

The British Theatre: or, A collection of plays, which are acted at the Theatres Royal, Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and Haymarket … with biographical and critical remarks by Mrs Inchbald.

Volume 23: Everyone has his fault (Inchbald) -- Lovers’ vows (Kotzebue) tr Inchbald) -- Such things are (Inchbald) -- To marry or not to marry (Inchbald) -- Wives as they were (Inchbald)

Title page, biographical and critical notes for:
Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25.

London, 1808, 25 volume collection

"Self-tutored and remarkably successful, Inchbald achieved an unusual degree of recognition for a professional woman writer of her period."
Catherine S Green



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