Catalogue of the papers and collections of the Nichols family, printers and publishers, 1785-1854

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Table of Contents

A    Family Letters
B    'Family Records', vols. XIV-XX, 1824-54

Papers and collections of the Nichols family, printers and publishers, 1785-1854

Papers and collections of the Nichols family, printers and publishers, 1785-1854, including family correspondence, accounts, journals and antiquarian collections.

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. b. 2071-7, c. 6165-6

Extent: 9 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Papers and collections of the Nichols family, printers and publishers, 1785-1854, comprising one volume of family letters, 1816-37, and correspondence, papers and collections inserted into volumes entitled 'Family Records', compiled 1824-54.


Bonhams Knightsbridge, 5 Dec. 1995, lot 186; bought, with the help of Robin Myers, from Questor Rare Books, 1997.

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 6165, fols. 1-2].

Separated Material

Included with the purchase were a copy of R.C. Nichols, Reviews of the late John Gough Nichols (Westminster, 1874) with a photograph of [J.B. Nichols] inserted at the back of the volume (pr. bk. - Vet. A7 e. 180), and a Nichols bookseller's catalogue, 1 Feb. -1 Aug. 1826, with some notes (pr. bk. - Vet. A6 d. 812).

Family names (NCA Rules)

Nichols family

Personal names (NCA Rules)

Nichols | John | 1745-1826 | printer, author and antiquary
Nichols | John Bowyer | 1779-1863 | printer and antiquary
Nichols | John Gough | 1806-1873 | printer and antiquary

A   Family Letters

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. c. 6165-6

Nichols family letters, vol. I, 1816-37
Shelfmark: MSS. Eng. c. 6165-6
Extent: 480 leaves
Binding: Half red calf, marbled boards, boards and spine detached - binding now MS. Eng. c. 6166 (the tightly-bound contents dismantled to prevent further damage, 1997); labelled on spine 'Family letters chiefly addressed to I.B. Nichols. I. 1815[sic]-1837'

Scope and Content:

Mainly letters to John Bowyer Nichols, some to John Gough Nichols and other members of the family, with a few drafts and copies of letters from J.B. Nichols, many letters from his sisters, some letters and school exercises of children, and

  • (fols. 1-442 passim) letters from J.G. Nichols, mainly to his father (J.B. Nichols), 1816-37, including letters giving accounts of his travels and visits to (fols. 79-104 passim) the North of England, 1830, (fols. 137-50) Cheltenham, 1832, and (fols. 366-79) Durham, 1836
  • (fols. 452-75) additional Nichols items purchased from Questor Rare Books, including (fols. 456-75) schoolboy compositions by J.G. Nichols, Oct. 1818, mainly translations from Greek and Latin, formerly one sewn section
  • (fols. 476-81) loose items, 1837-41, removed from Family Records vol. XVII (1838-40), MS. Eng. b. 2074, including (fol. 480) statement about the printing of Sepulchral monuments, n.d. (watermark 1852)
Custodial History:

Inscribed on front pastedown in an unidentified hand, and signed by J.B. Nichols 'This collection of letters to & from Mrs. Eliza Nichols is the property of my daughter Mary Ann Iliffe Nichols. B. Nichols. August 5th 1863'; the volume contains only a few letters to or from Mrs. Nichols, so the front board may have belonged to another volume.

B   'Family Records', vols. XIV-XX, 1824-54

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. b. 2071-7

Binding: Uniformly bound in half calf, marbled boards (some boards and spines missing), lettered 'Family records. XIV'-'Family Records. XX'

Scope and Content:

Volumes of blank sheets, with many manuscript and printed items inserted, including family and antiquarian correspondence, drafts, printed extracts, and reprints of obituaries from the Gentleman's Magazine, with the occasional personal note added by Nichols, or engraved portraits, usually inserted at the date of death of the person concerned, and printed ephemera, some relating to local affairs, Hammersmith, Middlesex (b. 2072-5 passim, especially b. 2074-5), to the Kensington Proprietary Grammar School (b. 2073-5 passim), and to the Noviomagian Society, a dining club of the Society of Antiquaries (b. 2072-5 passim).

Related Material:

Vols. I-V, VII and IX are in the Butler Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York. A microfilm of these volumes is available in the Bodleian Library, reference MS. Films 1529/1-3; vols. VI, VIII and X-XIII are privately owned.

'Family Records. XIV. 1824-1829', contents dated 1795-c.1847
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. b. 2071
Extent: 428 leaves
Binding: Spine and upper board detached

Scope and Content:

Includes many letters to John and John Bowyer Nichols, copies of letters from John Nichols, and some family letters, and

  • (fols. 160-2, 172, 344-6, 378-81) financial accounts of John Nichols and family, 1823-6
  • (fols. 357-8) annual totals of expenditure of John Nichols and family, 1810-25
  • (fols. 230-5, 369-76) printed sale catalogues of the furniture and other contents of two vicarages, 2 June 1825, 5 Mar. 1828

'Family records. XV. 1830-1834', contents dated 1795-1852
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. b. 2072
Extent: 499 leaves

Scope and Content:

Includes some family letters, and

  • (fols. 5-12, 14-28, 122-30) notes or journals of tours by J.B. Nichols, with lists of expenses
    • (fols. 5-12) Yorkshire, Aug. 1830
    • (fols. 14-28) including Windsor, Oxford, and Stowe, Oct. 1830
    • (fols. 122-30) Kent, Sept. 1830
  • (fols. 156-62, 251-6, 334-8) Nichols family accounts, 1832-4
  • (fols. 351-2) a sheet of blank paper (no watermark or chainlines) inscribed 'This sheet was made in my presence at Cashio Mill, Watford [Hertfordshire], this 22nd day of September 1834 J B Nichols'

'Family Records. XVI. 1835-1837', contents dated 1795-1851
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. b. 2073
Extent: 403 leaves

Scope and Content:

Includes papers relating to the Noviomagian Society, and

  • (fols. 68-89) drafts of answers by Nichols to the Record Commission, and related papers, 1836
  • (fols. 142-5) diary of a tour by Nichols, with A.J. Kempe, in Kent, Oct. 1835
  • (fols. 186-90, 303-9, 397-401) Nichols family financial accounts, 1835-7

'Family Records. XVII. 1838-1840', contents dated 1790-1840
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. b. 2074
Extent: 633 leaves

Scope and Content:


  • (fols. 98-105, 118-76, 343-57) diaries or notes of tours by J.B. Nichols
    • (fols. 98-105) Bath, the Wye, and Wales, Aug. -Sept. 1838
    • (fols. 118-76) Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Hampshire, Oct. -Nov. 1838
    • (fols. 343-57) Bremhill, Bath and Bristol, Oct. 1839
  • (fols. 212-16, 419-24, 623-9) Nichols family accounts, 1838-40
  • (fols. 393-418 and passim) letters and printed items, Noviomagian Society, 1838-40
  • (fols. 432-45) memoir of Fanny Burney, 1840

A few loosely inserted leaves, 1837-41, from this volume are now MS. Eng. c. 6165, fols. 476-81.

'Family records. XVIII. 1841-1843', contents dated 1785-1843
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. b. 2075
Extent: 529 leaves
Binding: Spine detached

Scope and Content:

Includes (fols. 116-40) printed items of the Noviomagian Society, 1841, mainly humorous election handbills.

[Family Records, XIX, 1844-8], contents dated 1795-1848
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. b. 2076
Extent: 609 leaves
Binding: Spine missing

Scope and Content:


  • (fols. 264-89) diary and notes of a tour by J.B. Nichols in Norfolk and Cambridge, Aug. 1846
  • (fols. 291-4) list of tours undertaken by Nichols, 1789-1846
  • (fols. 323-35) letters to and from Sir Frederic Madden, 1826, 1846
  • (fols. 414-31) diary of a tour by J.B. Nichols in the North of England, and Scotland, with related notes and printed ephemera, Sept. 1847
  • (fols. 451-8) Smithfield Club Christmas cattle show, 1847. Descriptive particulars of the cattle, sheep, and pigs entered for competition (G.J. & E. Wilson, printers [1847])
  • (fols. 510-15) presentation copy of portrait, and letters, of John Britton, 1848
  • (fols. 574-83) The prospectus and first year's report of the Metropolitan Committee for establishing evening classes for young men in London and the suburbs... 1850 (n. p., dated 1848 by Nichols)

[Family Records. XX. 1849-54]
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. b. 2077
Extent: 764 leaves
Binding: Spine and lower board missing

Scope and Content:

With many printed items, a number relating to Stationers' Hall, including

  • (fols. 20-48) printed items, 1849, of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
  • (fols. 108-29) diary of a tour by J.B. Nichols in the Lake District, Westmorland, Lancashire and Cumberland, Sept. 1849, including (fols. 120-9) hotel bills
  • (fols. 379-88) John Britton, Catalogue of books, prints, maps, acts of Parliament &c. relating to... Wiltshire (London, 1851)
  • (fols. 531-629) correspondence of J.B. Nichols concerning a proposal of marriage to his daughter Isabella, 1853-4

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
19 May 2011