Literary Manuscripts Berg

Victorian Manuscripts from the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection, New York Public Library

The Berg Collection is recognised as one of the finest literary research collections in the world, and the Victorian holdings are the undisputed jewel in its crown.

A broad range of authors from across the nineteenth century make this an essential research tool for all scholars and students researching Victorian literature. Students and scholars are offered an unrivalled opportunity to explore the manuscripts, notebooks, letters and diaries of the nineteenth century’s greatest authors.

Literary Manuscripts Berg traces the genesis of some of the period’s greatest literary masterpieces through the unique manuscripts of their authors, many unavailable elsewhere. They are supplemented by rare printed materials, including early editions annotated by the authors. Each author collection is included in its entirety, allowing users to browse and search the manuscripts as they would in the Berg Reading Room. Authors represented include: Matthew Arnold, The Brontës, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.

This collection makes a wide array of primary sources available for scholars and students working in many different countries and contexts. The Adam Matthew Digital collection of Berg manuscript materials will be a stimulus to a new generation of scholarship.
Dr Marjorie Stone, Dalhousie University

Key Data

Period Covered

  • 19th Century


  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s two ­part diary from 1832, plus four notebooks containing working drafts of poems from 1843
  • A manuscript of Wilkie Collins’ play The Lighthouse
  • A substantial collection of original sketches, watercolours, and pen ­and ­ink drawings by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • A letter by Charlotte Brontë describing the death of Emily Trollope’s holograph manuscript of his novel Miss Mackenzie
  • An original water­colour by Emily Brontë entitled ‘Forget Me Not’
  • Swinburne’s sequence of sonnets on the death of Browning
  • Charles Dickens’ correspondence to Mrs Gaskell, Edgar Allan Poe, Leigh Hunt, George Lewes and many others
  • Bound holograph manuscript of Hardy’s The Three Strangers

Source Archive

  • The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library

Material Types

  • Original manuscripts
  • Literary drafts
  • Correspondence
  • Financial documents
  • Personal items relating to the Berg authors

Editorial Board

  • Isaac Gewirtz, Curator of The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature
  • Stephen Prickett, University of Glasgow
  • Marjorie Stone, Dalhousie University
  • Beverley Taylor, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill


  • Matthew Arnold
  • Emily Bronte
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Robert Browning
  • Wilkie Collins
  • Joseph Conrad
  • Charles Dickens
  • George Eliot
  • George Gissing
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Henry James
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  • John Ruskin
  • Alfred Tennyson
  • William Makepeace Thackeray

Key Features

  • Unique manuscripts made available for the first time: poems, essays, correspondence, pictorial works, photographs, miscellaneous autograph material.
  • Selected collections of the Victorian authors have been captured in their entirety
  • Biographies
  • Chronology
  • Abbreviations glossary


Highly recommended. Undergraduates through advanced scholars.

CONTENT This is a unique collection of original (many holographic) Victorian manuscripts, rare printed materials (including early editions annotated by authors themselves), literary drafts, correspondence, unpublished poems, diaries, working notebooks, ......

Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above.

This database features the original manuscripts of 15 Victorian authors--Matthew Arnold, Emily Bronte (along with material on the other Brontes), Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins,,Joseph Conrad, ......