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H. Buxton Forman papers relating to John Keats

Identifier: MSS 0215

Scope and Content Note

The H. Buxton Forman papers consist of letters, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to nineteenth century English poet John Keats; this material was collected by American collector Harry Buxton Forman and his son, Maurice Buxton Forman.

Correspondents include Fanny and Rosa Keats de Llanos, Alice Keats, John Keats, Philip Speed Tuley, and Sir William Hale-White. There are also two letter fragments from Francis Lindon, whose background is unknown. This collection features the original manuscript and proof of the article "Keats's Letters to Friends in America" by H. Buxton Forman. This article was published in 1885 in The Nineteenth Century . The collection contains one untitled poem by John Keats which may be a photostatic copy. Later it was published in The Complete Poetical Works of John Keats and entitled "Bright Star."

The collection also contains transcriptions by Maurice Buxton Forman of thirteen letters related to Keats. Six were from Fanny Keats de Llanos (John Keats' sister), three from Rosa de Llanos (Fanny's daughter and John Keats' niece), one by Maria Dilke (an acquaintance of Keats), and three by John Keats. There are also three letters from Sir W. Hale-White to Maurice Buxton Forman. Sir William Hale-White, a physician at Guy's Hospital, reproduced the Anatomical and Physiological Note Book compiled by Keats and published by Buxton Forman in 1934. Hale-White later wrote Keats as Doctor and Patient (1938).

Photographs in the collection include Georgiana Keats, the district near Teynmouth (Keats' House), and two relating to Keats's student days at Guy's Hospital.


  • Creation: 1885-1949


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

H. (Harry) Buxton Forman (1842-1917) was part of the Post Office staff in London, England during the late 19th century. Forman collected rare editions of literary works as well as publishing his own literary material.

The Post Office department attracted many men with literary backgrounds and they formed the Post Office Literary Society. H. Buxton Forman joined the society, became an active collector of rare editions, and was publishing his own work by 1868. H. Buxton Forman longed to write poetry but found his talents were better suited to producing descriptive bibliographies of British poets. He published texts on Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats which helped establish his reputation as an expert in the field of nineteenth-century British literature. His greatest talent was his ability to maintain intimate friendships with contemporary authors and poets. This talent along with his vast knowledge of the printing and book buying trades allowed him to guide others through the publishing process. H. Buxton Forman continued to combine his work for the Post Office and his literary pursuits until 1907, when he retired as a Second Secretary of the Post Office.

Maurice Buxton Forman, Harry's youngest and favorite son, followed in his father's footsteps. After finishing college, he tried several jobs before ending up at the Post Office. Maurice was well acquainted with his father's literary work and friends. He and Thomas James Wise sorted the Buxton Forman Collection after his father's death in 1917, prior to its sale as part of the estate.

H. Buxton Forman and Thomas James Wise were implicated in a commercial forgery scheme spanning the years 1886 to 1916. During this period, they produced over fifty forgeries, specializing in British poetry and literary works of the nineteenth century. Many of their fabrications were cleverly manufactured owing to Forman's vast knowledge of the printing trade. The forgeries were analytically scrutinized by Carter and Pollard in An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets and by Barker and Collins in A Sequel to An Enquiry .

Myers, Robin and Michael Harris (ed).Fakes & Frauds. Detroit: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1989. pp. 113-116.Barker, Nicolas and John Collins.A Sequel to An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets. New Castle: Oak Knoll Books, 1992. pp. 23-41.Robinson, Charles E. "'Nymph of the Downward Smile, and Sidelong Glance': A Photograph of Georgiana Keats."Collections2 (1987): 26-43.


.3 linear foot (1 box)


The H. Buxton Forman papers relating to John Keats contains materials relating to nineteenth century English poet John Keats. These materials were collected during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by American H. Buxton Forman and other members of his family.


Purchase, 1979.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0601 Frank W. Tober collection on literary forgery

Shelving Summary

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

OCLC Number


Processed by Suzanne Hoffmann, 1984 and revised in 1992. Encoded by Natalie Baur, February 2010. Revised and updated by Lora J. Davis, February 2012.

Finding aid for H. Buxton Forman papers relating to John Keats
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2010 February 16
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA