Whewell's papers have been extensively rearranged over the years, and original order may not be assumed from their present arrangement. Additionally, the papers have been subject to various cataloguing projects of varying degrees of completion, and the importance of materials should not be inferred from the level of cataloguing accorded them.
The papers are housed in over 100 boxes under a variety of numbers in Additional Manuscripts a and c and Wren classes O and R.
There are over 4500 letters dated 1814-1866 which appear in two main correspondence runs as well as five sets of letters representing both sides of his correspondence with three friends, three sets of letters removed or still tipped in to books from Whewell's library. In addition, there are eleven more groups of miscellaneous correspondence. More letters appear in the Subject Files described below.
The two main sets of letters are arranged roughly alphabetically. One set of 15 boxes is housed as Add.MS.a.200-214 and includes drafts of letters sent by Whewell in Add.MS.a.214. A smaller set of five boxes is housed as Add.MS.c.87-91.
Both sides of Whewell’s correspondence with two of his friends are gathered in separate runs: letters from Julius Charles Hare appear in the first run mentioned above, Add.MS.a.206, with more at Add.MS.a.77/126-162. Whewell’s letters to Hare are housed as Add.MS.a.215/1-107. Similarly, letters from Richard Jones are housed as Add.MS.c.52 and letters from Whewell to Jones are housed as Add.MS.c.51. A third run of correspondence between William Whewell and Michael Faraday has been artificially re-created by combining Faraday's letters to Whewell, part of the Whewell bequest of papers, and Whewell's letters to Faraday, a gift made in 1914 and 1916 into a bound volume, O.15.49.
A group of letters originally appeared in Whewell's printed books given to Trinity College Library. Some of these were removed from books and have been catalogued as part of Add.MS.c.75 and Add.MS.c.111, and others which are still tipped in to books have been catalogued in this archival catalogue as Manuscripts in printed books.
The eleven other groups of miscellaneous correspondence are as follows:
The collection contains extensive subject files comprised of letters, notes, writings, and printed matter. Many of the boxes follow an arrangement set out in the catalogue of the Whewell Papers Box A (housed as O.15.50), describing bundles of papers given headings beginning A-Z and I-XLIII. Not all materials of a similar nature were gathered together, and may now be spread across multiple boxes. There are over 1000 letters in these files, most of them incoming, but with some drafts of Whewell's letters as well. The following subjects appear:
There are also materials catalogued in the printed books catalogue, which include proofs, and annotated copies of his books and those of others. These may be found by searching for Whewell as Former Owner in the Advanced Search of the printed books catalogue
- Butler’s three sermons on human nature and dissertation on virtue and Butler’s six sermons on moral subjects: draft prefaces (R.6.8/2-3)
- The elements of morality, including polity: draft, (R.6.1-2), drafts and other miscellaneous papers, (R.6.10), letters and notes relating to, (R.6.13), notes, (R.6.15/16-21), proof sheets (R.6.15/22)
- English hexameter translations (R.18.14)
- Goethe's Herman and Dorothea translated by Whewell (R.18.14/79)
- History of the inductive sciences: drafts and notes: (R.18.10), draft (R.18.11-13)
- Indications of the Creator: draft of the preface and dedication, (R.6.19/1), page proofs of the second edition, (R.6.19/2)
- Lectures on the history of moral philosophy: drafts, (R.6.15/6-10)
- Lectures on moral philosophy: draft (R.6.15/1-4), drafts (R.6.16)
- Lectures on Plato: drafts (R.6.3)
- Lectures on systematic morality: drafts, (R.6.3), page proofs (R.6.8)
- Literary remains, consisting of lectures and tracts on political economy, of the late Rev. Richard Jones: draft (R.18.17a/8)
- Of the philosophy of discovery: drafts, (R.6.18)
- Philosophy of the inductive sciences: drafts and notes: (R.18.10), drafts (R.6.18)
- Platonic dialogues for English readers: partial draft, (R.6.19/9)
- Poetry: draft translation of Voss’ “Luise” (MSPB.58), miscellaneous verses (Add.MS.a.66/52-53) and (R.18.15)
- Sermons: drafts and notes, (R.6.17), drafts (R.6.18)
- Sermons preached in the Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge: draft, (R.6.19/8), page proofs (R.6.19/7)
- Sunday thoughts, and other verses: partial draft, (R.18.15/11)
- Verse translations from the German: draft poems included in, (R.18.15/12)
- Lectures and short works, (R.18.7), (Add.MS.a.61/34)
- Miscellaneous notes and writings, (R.6.14), (Add.MS.a.78/56-57, 59), (Add.MS.a.60/22b), R.18.17a)
- Miscellaneous tidology publications: (Add.MS.a.60/22-23)
- Papers relating to the College Statutes and the University Commission, the rights of Assize judges and lectures on mineralogy (Add.MS.a.61/34)
- Drafts of sections of a history of the philosophy of science (R.18.17)
- Memorandum books and miscellaneous writings and J. Jones mathematics notebook (Add.MS.a.271/4-9, 14)
- Cuttings of reviews of Whewell's works, (R.18.16/4, 9)
Six diaries dated 1820-1840 are housed as Add.MS.a.80/2-6, 8. There are also notes on books read written in diary form, which were previously identified as diaries; these are dated 1817-1830, 1841-1853 are housed as (R.18.9/1-14), (R.18.16/1) , and a journal of Whewell's daily work as Master of Trinity, (O.15.45)
Other Whewell Papers
These papers appear in various boxes of mixed materials, and include account books, memorandum books, documents, sketches and sketchbooks, printed material, and other miscellaneous material as follows:
- Two account books, 1830-1839 (Add.MS.a.219/4, 5)
- Linen thread spun by the ladies of the harem of Ibrahim Pacha, Cairo, dated 10 Jan. 1831, given by Mrs Briggs. Curios A7
- Memorandum books: 1823-1835 (R.18.17a), 1827-1838 (Add.MS.a.83/2-4); undated (Add.MS.a.217/2-3)
- Collection of passports and printed ephemera from Continental trips, with other printed material (Add.MS.a.496)
- Certificates of membership of various learned societies and institutions
- Notebooks (R.18.17)
- Sketchbook "N" (Add.MS.a.83/1)
- Sketchbooks (R.6.12)
- Sketches of Great Court, the back of the Lodge, and the north side of Nevile's Court, Trinity College
- Maps, railway tables and miscellaneous printed material
- Miscellaneous printed images of architectural features and plans of churches (Add.MS.a.223/37-53)
- Miscellaneous autographs (Add.MS.a.78/3, 4, 12)
- Commonplace book of poetry (Add.MS.a.83/7)
- J. Jones mathematics notebook, "Figures in Euclid", 1790 (Add.MS.a.217/1)
Whewell’s first wife Cordelia was a member of the Marshall family of Leeds. Some of her family papers are included in the papers, in particular her collections of franks and autographs. The autograph collection is housed as Add.MS.c.65-66. Her collection of franks is housed as part of Add.MS.a.77 and Add.MS.a.80. In addition, William Wordsworth's Poetical Works was presented to Cordelia on her marriage to William Whewell by Mary and William Wordsworth, and includes a couplet in William Wordsworth's hand, catalogued in our printed materials catalogue, shelf mark G.13.71.
Whewell’s second wife was Frances Everina, the widow of Sir Gilbert Affleck, who continued to be known as Lady Affleck after her marriage to Whewell. About 1,000 items of her correspondence appear in the collection together with the papers of various members of her family, the Ellis family of Bath, including those of her brother and Whewell's friend Robert Leslie Ellis. Lady Affleck's letters received are housed as Add.MS.a.68, Add.MS.a.79, and Add.MS.a.81. An account book that may have belonged to her is housed as Add.MS.a.83/6 and her commonplace book is housed as Add.MS.a.219/10.
Robert Leslie Ellis' papers form a subset of the Whewell papers and consist of his letters, notebooks, diaries, and writings. His outgoing letters date from 1838 to 1859 and are housed as part of nine numbers in Add.MS.a, c, and R: Add.MS.a.58, Add.MS.a.68, Add.MS.a.79, Add.MS.a.81, Add.MS.a.203, Add.MS.a.222, Add.MS.c.67, Add.MS.c.88, and R.6.13 (not yet catalogued). Letters received appear in 4 numbers in Add.MS.a and c: Add.MS.a.68, Add.MS.a.79, Add.MS.a.81, and Add.MS.c.67.
His diaries are dated 1827-1845 and are housed as part of Add.MS.c.67, Add.MS.a.82, Add.MS.a.218, and Add.MS.a.219. His notes and writings are housed as part of Add.MS.a.78, Add.MS.a.80, Add.MS.a.218, and Add.MS.a.219, Add.MS.a.220, Add.MS.a.221, Add.MS.a.222, Add.MS.a.223, and Add.MS.c.67. In addition, the Library also holds books owned by Leslie, including his copy of Whewell's On the Free Motion of Points 1832-1834, which has Ellis' notes on the endpapers.
The papers of other members of the Ellis family may be found as part of 13 boxes: Add.MS.a.57, Add.MS.a.67, Add.MS.a.68, Add.MS.a.79, Add.MS.a.81, Add.MS.a.83, Add.MS.a.203, Add.MS.a.218, Add.MS.a.220, Add.MS.a.223, Add.MS.c.67, Add.MS.c.88, and R.6.13 (not yet catalogued).
Later papers of others
These papers are not numerous but are notable in that they date after Whewell's death and are intermixed with those papers left to the College by William Whewell. They include those of James Lempriere Hammond, the surviving executor, Whewell's biographers Isaac Todhunter and Mrs Stair Douglas, and Trinity Master Henry Montagu Butler.
Letters to J. L. Hammond dated after Whewell's death appear in Add.MS.a.77/163-272, and are also scattered through the collection: Add.MS.a.62/64; Add.MS.a.64/66, 79-84; Add.Ms.a.78/41; Add.Ms.a.80/139; and Add.Ms.c.65/68. Three letters written by J. W. Clark to Hammond report on Whewell’s final illness Add.MS.a.78/38-40.
Many of Isaac Todhunter's notes appear throughout the collection, and may also be found in Add.MS.a.65/52-55. There are two letters from Todhunter in the collection, Add.MS.a.68/124 and Add.MS.c.95/165, and two addressed to him, Add.MS.a.207/170 and Add.MS.c.89/53.
There are only seven letters written to Whewell's niece Janet Douglas (Mrs Stair Douglas) in the collection. They may be found in Add.MS.a.57/8, Add.MS.a.62/64, Add.MS.a.64/121, Add.MS.a.67/30-32, and Add.MS.a.77/173.
Later letters written to Henry Montagu Butler concerning an appeal to purchase Whewell 'relics' are housed as Add.MS.a.67/15a-48.