Aikin Family Papers

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Aikin Family papers
Creator: Aikin (Family : Warrington, England)
Call Number: D.190
Dates: 1789-1854
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Access
Use
Citation
Content List
Collection Overview
Title: Aikin Family papers
Creator: Aikin (Family : Warrington, England)
Call Number: D.190
Dates: 1789-1854
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Arthur Aikin was born on May 19, 1773 in Warrington, England, the eldest son of John Aikin, M.D. and the nephew of Mrs. Anna Letitia (Aikin) Barbauld, a prominent member of the London literary circle of the time. Among the schools that Arthur attended was one kept by his uncle, Mr. Barbauld. In 1786, he began training as a Unitarian minister, but because of reasons of conscience he soon abandoned a career in the ministry. Early in life, he had met Joseph Priestly, a friend of his father, and under his direction he made the study of chemistry, botany, and mineralogy the chief occupation of his life. In the early letters of this collection, he frequently describes the places that he visited during his tours to collect specimens, including a stay at Menabilly in Cornwall in 1814, the estate which later became the model for Manderley in Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca. Aikin himself published several works upon mineralogy and chemistry. He was one of the founders of the Geological Society in 1807, becoming its secretary in 1811. He resigned his position on becoming secretary to the Society of Arts in 1817, and continued in the post for 23 years. In 1818, he was also elected a fellow of the Linnean Society.

But Aikin's interests were not confined to scientific subjects. His letters exhibit an interest in the political situation of the day, from the Jacobin movement in the 1790's to the republican movements in Europe in the 1840's and 1850's. Although he had abandoned his career as a minister, he still maintained an interest in theology. As his letters to Sarah Lawrence in this collection demonstrate, he was keenly interested in the New Testament, particularly the epistles of the apostle Paul. Between 1803 and 1808 he also edited the Annual Review, a literary periodical to which his sister Lucy, his aunt Anna Letitia Barbauld, Robert Southey, and William Taylor contributed. He died unmarried in Bloomsbury Square, London, on April 15, 1854.

Lucy Aikin, his sister, was born at Warrington in 1781. She was a bright student, and began to contribute articles to magazines and reviews at the age of seventeen. Although she published some poems and a novel, she is best known for her historical works: Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth (1818), Memoirs of the Court of James I (1822), Memoirs of the Court of Charles I (1833) and Life of Addison (1843), the last of which is unfavorably reviewed in an essay by Macaulay. She also wrote a memoir of her aunt, Mrs. Barbauld, and many minor pieces. She was a Unitarian like the other members of her family, and maintained a correspondence from 1826 to 1842 with William Ellery Channing, the famous Boston Unitarian minister, freely expressing her opinions on religion, philosophy, politics and literature. The collection includes a portion of an unpublished letter from Channing to Miss Aikin in which he discusses his own work and James Montgomery, a preacher from Sheffield. Miss Aikin's own letters are all written to her niece Anna (Aikin) Le Breton from the period 1822-1849. Besides discussing family affairs, including Anna's own courtship by Hemery Le Breton, she also gives many anecdotes of notables of the time: Mrs. Martineau; Maria Edgeworth; Joanna Baillie, her neighbor; Sam Sharpe, a famous Egyptologist; John Gould, a noted orinthologist; the Wordsworths; Samuel Taylor Coleridge's daughter, Sara, and her husband; and Cardinal Newman. She died in 1864.

Scope and Content
The Aikin Family Papers consist of 117 letters, 1789-1854, most of which are written by Arthur Aikin and his sister Lucy to family and friends.

The correspondence in the collection covers three periods of time. The first, covering the years 1789-1800 and 1805-1816, consists of 38 letters written by Arthur Aikin to his father, Mr. John Aikin; his mother; his sister, Lucy; and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Charles R. (Anne Wakefield) Aikin; as well as one letter addressed to him from Sarah Cappe. The second group of letters covers the years 1821-1836. Some of the letters are written by Arthur Aikin to his mother; his niece, Susan Aikin; and to his friend, Sarah Lawrence. The others are written by Lucy Aikin to her niece Anna (Aikin) Le Breton. There are 29 of these letters, including one lacking conclusion from William Ellery Channing to Miss Aikin. The third group of 41 letters covers the period 1843-1854 and consists of letters from Arthur Aikin to his sister and Miss Lawrence, one letter from Samuel Rogers to Miss Aikin, and other letters from Miss Aikin to her niece Anna Letitia (Aikin) Le Breton. Aside from the matters mentioned above, letters in all three groups deal primarily with family doings, births, marriages and deaths. The letters from William Ellery Channing and Samuel Rogers are indexed in the card catalog.

Subject(s):
Correspondence
Aikin, Arthur, 1773-1854
Aikin, Lucy, 1781-1864
Aikin (Family : Warrington, England)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from Seven Gables Bookstore, June, 1969.Access
The Aikin Family papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Aikin Family papers, D.190, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Content List
Box 1, Folder 1Correspondence, 1789-1804
Box 1, Folder 2Correspondence, 1805-1820
Box 1, Folder 3Correspondence, 1821-1842
Box 1, Folder 4Correspondence, 1843-1849
Box 1, Folder 5Correspondence, 1850-1854
Box 1, Folder 6Correspondence, undated


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