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The Joseph Wood Archive

Published 06 January 2012

Pictorial print from cover of a notebook of Joseph Wood

The Joseph Wood Archive is an exciting new acquisition to Special Collections. It is a significant resource for Quaker and 18th- and 19th-century studies, and was presented to us on November 22, 2011.

The Archive, preserved by members of the Wood family for six generations, consists of 100 notebooks written by Joseph Wood (1750-1821), a Quaker of High Flatts Meeting, Birdsedge near Huddersfield, 647 letters received and retained by him, and a collection of miscellaneous printed Quaker papers.

The virtually unknown and unedited notebooks, written between 1773 and 1821, contain Wood's accounts of journeys undertaken and meetings attended, notes on letters written and received, and his personal Quaker writings. In addition to offering the reader an intimate and revealing portrait of Wood himself, his life as a Quietist Quaker and his labours as a minister of the gospel, the notebooks provide a meticulously detailed observation of life in Georgian England. 

A fascinating feature of the notebooks is that 90 of them are covered with different contemporary wallpapers, decorative papers and pictorial prints, already of considerable interest to art historians.

The gift of the archive was generously arranged by Pamela Cooksey. Her full transcription of the notebooks, published recently in five volumes, each with a word-searchable CD, was also presented to the Library.

Enquiries are now welcome!