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Collection Level Description: The 'Merton' and 'Dowden' Manuscripts relating to John Donne

Reference: MSS. Eng. th. c. 71, e. 102; Eng. poet. e. 99
Title: The 'Merton' and 'Dowden' Manuscripts relating to John Donne
Dates of Creation: early 17th cent.
Extent: 3 shelfmarks
Name of Creator: The creators of the MSS. are unknown.

Language of Material: English

Administrative/Biographical History

See the Dictionary of National Biography for information on Edward Dowden.

Scope and Content

The 'Merton' and 'Dowden' manuscripts of the sermons of John Donne, used by G.R. Potter and E.M. Simpson in The sermons of John Donne (10 vols., Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1953-62), and the 'Dowden' manuscript of Donne's poems, used by Sir Herbert Grierson in The poems of John Donne (2 vols., Oxford, 1912) and by Dame Helen Gardner in The divine poems (2nd ed., Oxford, 1978).

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The 'Merton' MS. was owned by a H.F. during the 17th century; in the 19th century the MS. appears to have been the property of Mr. J.P. Collier, whose address is inscribed inside the upper cover.

The first 'Dowden' MS., MS. Eng. th. e. 102, was given by [William] Gregg of Ilkeston Park to ?J.W., [possibly John Wylson, rector of Ilkeston, Derbs.], 29 May 1683. Both Dowden MSS. were later owned by Edward Dowden. All three MSS were subsequently owned by Wilfred Merton.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given to the Library in 1960.

Access Conditions

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Further Information

Finding Aids

Summary Catalogue of Post-Medieval Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford. Acquisitions 1916-1975. (Oxford, 1991), vol. II, nos. 46601-3.

Publication Note

See Scope and content.

Access Points



Donne | John | 1573-1631 | Dean of St. Paul's and poet

Contact Information
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09 June 2011