Manchester City Council

Gaskell collection

  1. Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era.

    Our collection is recognised by Gaskell scholars as one of the leading collections of printed material in the country. 

    This is part of the Moss Side collection which is made up of: Gaskell, De Quincey, Gleave Bronte collections. John Albert Green, the librarian from 1895 of the then independent Moss Side Library, persuaded several local and international collectors as well as relatives of famous authors to donate their collections to our library. The Coleridge collections also belonged to him.

  2. What's available

    We hold:

    • manuscripts of the short story 'How the fourth floor came to Crowley Castle' and a few other fragments
    • music manuscript books begun in her schooldays revealing much incidental information about her education and character
    • letters in manuscript, including the cotton famine letters to Vernon Lushington which give a poignant picture of the conditions suffered in the mills. There's a further selection of letters available in the Local Studies Unit (Archives) at Central Library
    • personal items - at least twenty items from her personal library, ranging from personally autographed editions of her works, to guide books from her travels in Britain and Europe
    • over 230 editions of her novels including first editions, American editions and translations, periodicals containing serialised versions, and the latest edited texts
    • biographies and criticism - over 700 items including monographs, periodical articles, dissertations, boxes of photographs and newspaper cuttings. The collection is added to regularly
    • Rev. William Gaskell - sermons, hymns and cuttings, including a complete run of the Unitarian examiner that he edited

    For a fuller description see article by Christine Lingard in the Gaskell society journal no 2 (1987) (ref 823.894 G28).

  3. How to access

    Ask a member of staff in the Central Library search room for the printed bibliography which shows a list of items.

    You can also look at items from the collection in the search room, please make an appointment (with at least one day notice).

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