Item 13.7 - Correspondence of Dawson Turner

Identity area

Reference code



Correspondence of Dawson Turner


  • 1809 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 volume, measuring 27 x 24 x 7 cm, containing a title-leaf, an index, two blank leaves, and 141 letters and other papers pasted onto guards. The volume also contains a number of botanical specimens (see No. 26). There is a stiff fly-leaf at the front and another at the back. Half-bound in light-brown leather and marbled paper.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Dawson Turner was born and spent much of his life at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. He was admitted as an undergraduate at Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1793, but returned to Yarmouth before graduating, in order to take his place in the family banking business.

For some years Turner's chief interest was botany, particularly mosses, and he published several works on the subject and corresponded with many of the notable botanists of his day. In later life he concentrated on antiquarian pursuits, amassing a valuable collection of historical documents and autographs, as well as a substantial library which was eventually dispersed in a series of sales. He was a Fellow of various learned bodies, including the Royal Society, the Linnaean Society, and the Society of Antiquaries.

In 1796 Turner married Mary Palgrave, by whom he had eight surviving children. Mary Turner and her daughters were talented amateur artists; they were tutored in drawing by John Sell Cotman and also mastered the arts of etching and lithography. Between them they produced a significant number of sketches and prints, especially portraits and architectural studies, examples of which were often used by their father to embellish his books.

Archival history

See the general note under O.13.1. The following letters were removed from the volume before it came to the Library. Their current locations, where known, are shown in brackets.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 18 Jan. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 18 Feb. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 20 Mar. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 8 Apr. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 16 Apr. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 18 Apr. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 3 May 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 8 May 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 9 May 1809.

Letter from Maria Turner, 21 May 1809.

Letter from Mary Turner, 27 May 1809 (TURN II KK4/13).

Letter from Maria Turner, 29 May 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 1 June 1809.

Letter from Hudson Gurney, 22 June 1809 (TURN II K1/11).

Letter from James Turner, 17 July 1809 (TURN II II1/2).

Letter from James Turner, 22–23 July 1809 (TURN II II1/3).

Letter from Mary Anne Turner, July 1809 (TURN II LL1/1).

Letter from Harriet Turner, c. 26 July 1809 (TURN II I1/2).

Letter from Elizabeth Turner (Dawson Turner’s daughter), 26 July 1809 (TURN II S2/2).

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 1 Sept. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 21 Sept. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 9 Nov. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 22 Nov. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 4 Dec. 1809.

Letter from W. J. Hooker, 15 Dec. 1809.

The letter from Maria Turner dated 29 May is listed in the General Index (O.14.51) but not in volume Index.

The reference in the volume Index to a letter from James Dalton dated 13 Jan. is apparently a mistaken reference to a sheet which forms part of No. 26. This error probably occurred because the inscription ‘No. 13’ at the head of the sheet was mistaken for ‘Jan. 13’ and the letters ‘T.O.’ (‘turn over’) at the foot were mistaken for ‘J. D.’

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

On the spine is stamped ‘CORRESPONDENCE | JAN.–DEC. | 1809’. Turner has marked many of the letters with the date of reply.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The documents are numbered in the order in which they stand.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • German
  • Latin

Script of material

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Rules and/or conventions used

In descriptions of ‘extent and medium’, a ‘single sheet’ is a single unfolded leaf of paper comprising 2 pages; a ‘folded sheet’ is a sheet of paper folded once, comprising 2 leaves and 4 pages.


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

This description was created by A. C. Green in 2021.




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