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William Motherwell letters and notes

Identifier: MS 0334
Finding aid note: Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Scope and Contents

This Collection contains 26 items representing fragments of William Motherwell's writings from the later years of his life.There appears to be no overall uniting theme to the collection other than the frequent mention of Burns in both the notes and the letters to A. Fullerton (a Glasgow publisher). The items in this collection are probably drawn from the period 1833-1834.


  • Creation: 1833 - 1834

Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from the William Motherwell Papers,1833-34 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Biographical Sketch

William Motherwell, Scottish poet and editor, was born in Glasgow in 1797. He studied classics at Glasgow University from 1818-1819 before becoming Sheriff-clerk at Paisley. He later was deputy Sheriff-clerk of the county of Renfrewshire from 1819-29. Motherwell always wrote in his spare time and in 1828 undertook to edit the 'Paisley Magazine'. From 1828-1830 he also carried out the editorial duties of the 'Paisley Advertiser'. After 1830 the poet moved back to his native Glasgow and worked, again in an editorial capacity, on the 'Glasgow Courier' until his death. In 1835 Motherwell helped produce an edition of Burns' poetry along with a small biographical account of Burns. A self-confessed participant in the Orange movement, Motherwell was called to London in 1835 to testify before a special committee set up to investigate Orangeism. His performance before that tribunal was confused and perhaps showed signs of mental instability. He was returned to Scotland almost immediately. He died of apoplexy soon after. The year was 1835.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder of 26 items)

Language of Materials



Letters and fragments of notes by William Motherwell with no common theme other than the frequent mention of Robert Burns.

Acquisition Information

This material was purchased from Black's; see Black's Catalogue no. 36 (1954) item no. 18. Purchased in by the Woodson Research Center from the Friends' fund (Whittington gift).

Guide to the William Motherwell letters and notes, 1833-1834
Barbara Mitchell
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA