The Amelia Alderson Opie Archive
Shelley King & John B. Pierce, Co-Editors, Department of English, Queen's University
Shannon Smith, Assistant Editor and Web Designer, Department of English, Queen's University
Andrea Terry, Assistant Web Designer, Department of Art, Queen's University
 
Life Portraits Works Music Bibliography
 
   

 

Letters in Manuscript

'If writing were an effort to me I should not now be alive, but must have
been absolument épuisée; and it might have been inserted in the bills of mortality
- "dead of letter-writing A. Opie".' (Brightwell 334)

The letters of Amelia Opie offer a varied and fascinating portrait of one of the most popular women writers of the early nineteenth century. Her correspondents range from the leaders of radical thought in the 1790s to the key figures in the Quaker faith in 1840s, forming a veritable who's who of political and social life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century: William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sir James Mackintosh, Caroline Lamb, Elizabeth Inchbald, Joanna Baillie, William Hayley, Lord Brougham, Elizabeth Fry, Joseph John Gurney, Elizabeth Cady Staunton, Mary Russell Mitford and Barbara Bodichon to name some of the most familiar. Her topics of discussion extend from the domestic to the professional to the political, offering an intimate sense of the personal and public life of a woman who was both coquette and bluestocking, radical sympathizer and devout Christian.
            We have not yet put together a full catalogue of Opie's correspondence, but in 2002 Clive Jones compiled an Annotated register of letters of Amelia Opie, as part of his doctoral dissertation; this compilation is very useful, if you can obtain a copy. It can be consulted at the Huntingdon Library in San Marino, and at the Friends' House Library in London. David Sutton's Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters: 18th and 19th Centuries (1995) provides a preliminary guide to letters and manuscripts in U.K collections. In the U.S., the Huntington Library and the Pforzheimer Collection of the New York Public Library, as well as the Magill Library at Haverford College and Swarthmore College Library (both in Philadelphia), all have significant holdings.

 

   
 
Life Portraits Works Music Bibliography
 
 

Please address all queries, both scholarly and web-related to: opie.archive@queensu.ca