Skip to main content

Letters to Frederick James Furnivall

Collection MS-1986-019: Letters to Frederick James Furnivall


  • Creation: 1876-1908

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of letters to Frederick James Furnivall. Six letters are from Horace Howard Furness, an American scholar; one letter is from Joseph Hirst Lupton (1836-1905), an English scholar; and one is from George H. Radford. The letters primarily concern literary matters. Furness's letters address Shakespearian literature and also share some personal anecdotes.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note: Frederick James Furnivall

Frederick James Furnivall, born in Egham, Surrey, England in 1825, made his career as an English literary scholar, editor, and social activist. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he received his B.A. in 1846 and M.A. in 1849. Furnivall was also awarded several honorary degrees, including a doctorate from Berlin University in 1884, a doctorate from Oxford University in 1901, and a fellow from Berlin University in 1902. He was chosen an original fellow of the British Academy in 1902.

Furnivall founded and participated in many societies, most notably the New Shakspere Society, 1873-1892; Chaucer Society, 1868-1912; and London Philological Society, as secretary from 1862-1910. He was interested in medieval English works and edite texts by William Shakespeare, John Wycliffe, and Geoffrey Chaucer. He prepared the "Six-Text" edition (1866-1882) of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Furnivall is said to have originated the idea for and assisted in the development of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, known today as the Oxford English Dictionary. Furnivall died in London in 1910, after editing and publishing over 120 books, articles, and texts.


"Frederick James Furnivall." Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors Online, Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2001. (Accessed April 1, 2020). Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000124476.

"Frederick James Furnivall." In Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, January 31, 2020. Encyclopædia Britannica (Accessed April 3, 2020).

Biographical Note: Horace Howard Furness

Horace Howard Furness was an American Shakespearean scholar born in Philadelphia in 1833. He is credited with the editing and planning of the New Variorum Editions of Shakespeare, a text first published in 1871, which helped bring U.S. criticism and scholarship to international attention.


"Horace Howard Furness." In Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2003. (Accessed April 1, 2020). Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000034697

"Horace Howard Furness." In Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, February 8, 2020. Encyclopædia Britannica (Accessed April 3, 2020).


.5 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of letters to nineteenth-century philologist Frederick James Furnivall, primarily from American Shakespearean scholar Horace Howard Furness. Single letters from English scholar Joseph Hirst Lupton and George H. Radford are also included. Letters discuss literary matters, specifically Shakespearean prose, but also contain some personal asides.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time.

Letters to Frederick James Furnivall
Cheryl Kohen, 2007; updated by AnneMarie Anderson, 2010; Ray Hartley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States