Forster, John

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Biographical note

John Forster (1812-1876) was one of England's more influential writers and editors. He was born April 2, 1812 in Newcastle, England. At the age of 15, in June 1827, he wrote a singularly clever and elaborate paper entitled A Few Thoughts in Vindication of the Stage. Entering University College in London in 1828 as a law student, Forster became friends with such fellow students as James Emerson Tennent and James Whiteside. He was admitted to the bar in 1843, but seldom practiced law thereafter.

Forster was an editor and a contributor to many magazines and newspapers including The Examiner, Foreign Quarterly Review, Daily News, and the Edinburgh Review. In 1836, the first of his five volumes of Lives of the Statesmen of the Commonwealth was published as part of Lardner's Cyclopaedia. This set included a biography of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford which would cause a controversy concerning authorship after Forster's death. He also published biographies of such notables as Oliver Goldsmith (1854), Landor (1869), and the first volume of a biography of Jonathan Swift (1876). Perhaps his most famous biography, however, was that of his friend Charles Dickens which appeared in three volumes in 1872, 1873, and 1874.

First married to L. E. Landon, a poetess, he became estranged from his wife and on September 12, 1856, married Eliza Ann (Crosbie) Colburn. Eliza was the daughter of Captain Robert Crosbie, R.N., and widow of Henry Colburn, a well-known publisher. There were no children as the result of either marriage.

John Forster died on February 2, 1876. He had been working on the first volume of Life of Jonathan Swift at the time.

From the guide to the John Forster Papers, 1828-1894, (The Huntington Library)

Epithet: of St. Helens, county Lancashire

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Epithet: attorney, of Lincoln's Inn

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Epithet: Archdeacon of London

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Epithet: son-in-law of Sir T Cook

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Epithet: Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland

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Epithet: Warden of the Middle Marches

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Epithet: biographer

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Epithet: alias Forrester; of Stonegarthside

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Epithet: of Add MS 34624

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Epithet: Minister of the Savoy Chapel

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Epithet: of the Temple

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Epithet: junior, administrator of J Ley, late Warden of Tonge College

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Epithet: Warden of the Marches al Foster

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Epithet: of Add MS 31910

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Epithet: of Add MS 29189

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Epithet: barrister and author

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Archival Resources
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creatorOf John Forster Papers, 1828-1894 The Huntington Library
referencedIn Vol. LVI (ff. 433). Dec. 1857-Nov. 1860.Royal Institution; London: Lectures on art delivered at, by Sir A. H. Layard: 1859.includes:f. 1 Bhau Dájí, formerly Secretary of the Bombay Association: Letter to Sir A. H. Layard: 1857. ff. 1-173 passim, 35... British Library
referencedIn Vol. II. (ff. 294). 3 Nov. 1559-4 April, 1560. 1. Cecil to Sadleir and Croft; The Court, 3 Nov. 1559. f. 1. 2. Randolph to the same; Edinburgh, 3 Nov. 1559. Copy. In cipher, deciphered. f. 3. 3. (a) Sailleir and Croft to Randolph; n. d. Draft. Endors..., 1559-1560 British Library
referencedIn Vol. I, 1837-1870.British Museum: Applications, etc., for Reading Room tickets: 1824-1881.: Partly printed.includes:f. 1 British Museum: Reading Room ticket: 1824.: Printed.f. 2 Charles Frederick Barnwell, FRS; FSA: Letter to Sir H. Ellis: 1837.f..., 1837-1870 British Library
referencedIn PRECEDENTS for writs and royal letters, administrative as well as judicial, together with copies of accompts and other documents relating to the Hanaper Office, in Latin and English; tempp. Hen. VIII-Eliz. Originally begun, apparently circ. 1540, as ... British Library
referencedIn Correspondence of Leigh Hunt; 1807-1859. Paper; ff. 363.includes:ff. 2, 4, 8, 9 John Hunt, journalist: Letters to, from C. Brown: 1825.: Drafts. ff. 2, 4, 8, 9 Charles Armitage Brown: Letters to J. Hunt: 1825.: Drafts. f. 6 Mary Sabilla Novello, wi..., 1807-1859 British Library
referencedIn Vol. CLXVI (ff. 297). Apr.1822..includes:ff. 1, 67 Alexander Cockburn, diplomatist: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1812-1845. f. 5 James Corry, Secretary, Irish Linen Office: Letters to Sir R. Peel: 1813-1824. f. 7 Mary Foster, of Manchester: Pet... British Library
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, E-K. Houghton Library
referencedIn "A SUPPLEMENT to the new edition of Beaumont and Fletcher's Works, being a further attempt to restore and explain the Original Text," by Benjamin Heath, D.C.L., Town Clerk of Exeter; finished circ. 1755. The edition referred to is that by Theobald, S... British Library
creatorOf SUPPLEMENTARY LAYARD PAPERS Vol. II (ff. 174). , 1833-1896 British Library
referencedIn CORRESPONDENCE of Leigh Hunt; 1845-1859.James Henry Leigh Hunt, essayist and poet: Correspondence, etc.: 1806-1859.includes:f. 1 Peter George Patmore, author: Letters to Leigh Hunt: 1835-1845. ff. 3, 19, 2 1, 41, 53, 57, 77, 158 John Forster, biogra..., 1845-1859 British Library
referencedIn Vol. IX (ff. 357+134*). Mar. 1889-June 1891.COUNTY OF London: Correspondence and papers of J. Burns as L.C.C. representative for Battersea: 1889-1905.Trade Unions: Correspondence, speeches, etc., of J. Burns, M.P., 1872-1905.includes:ff. 1, 1... British Library
referencedIn Vol. DXXXII, June 1709-1722includes:ff. 1-3 William Courtenan, informer: Letters to Lord Sunderland: 1709.f. 4 John Ker, of Kersland: Letters, etc., to Lord Sunderland: 1709.f. 6 General Charles Ross, alias Rosse: Letter to Lord Sunderland: 170... British Library
creatorOf DEXTER DICKENS COLLECTION. Vol. I (ff. vii+127). Letters, etc., of Charles Dickens; 1836-1870, n.d. Some printed items. The letters are fully listed in The J. F. Dexter Collection, with references to printed editions. Dexter no. 317.includes:f. 1 C..., 1836-1870 British Library
referencedIn ELLIS PAPERS. Vol. I. General correspondence of Sir Henry Ellis; 1795-1866. The letters are mainly concerned with Museum affairs, excepting one group (ff. 18-24) which refer to his unavailing efforts, in 1811-1812, to be elected Director of the Socie..., 1795-1866 British Library
creatorOf PANIZZI PAPERS. Letters to Sir Anthony Panizzi, K.C.B., Principal Librarian of the British Museum (d. 1879); 1845-1877, n.d. Followed (ff. 53-55) by two letters of Panizzi; [1860?], 1860-1869. Supplements Add. MSS. 36714-36727, 59778 and Eg. MS. 3677..., 1845-1877 British Library
referencedIn CORRESPONDENCE of Leigh Hunt; 1807-1844.James Henry Leigh Hunt, essayist and poet: Correspondence, etc.: 1806-1859.includes:f. 1 Thomas Mitchell, translator of Aristophanes: Correspondence with Leigh Hunt: 1807-1816, n.d. ff. 2, 4 Francis Wrangham, ..., 1807-1844 British Library
referencedIn Vol. LXXV (ff. 389). Feb.-May, 1874.includes:f. 1 Captain James Felix Jones, of the E India Co. service: Letters, etc., to Sir A. H. Layard: 1850-1878. ff. 3-381 passim Horace Young, British consul in Bilbao: Letters to Sir A. H. Layard: 1873-1877.... British Library
creatorOf MISCELLANEOUS TRACTS AND PAPERS, mostly relating to trade, coinage, etc.; 16th cent. Copies. Some titles by Beale. Contents list, ff. iv-vb. 1. ff. 1-18. 'The declaracion made by John Fortescu Knighte uppon certaine writinges sent out of Scotlande ag..., 1471-1599 British Library
referencedIn Vol. I (ff. 329). 1814-1865.includes:f. 1 John Tupper Connell, Curate at St Margaret's, Westminster: Extract from register by: 1834. f. 1 William Hazlitt, the younger, Registrar of the Court of Bankruptcy: Register of his baptism, 1814. Copy: 1834. ..., 1814-1865 British Library
referencedIn PANIZZI PAPERS. Letters, collected as autographs, mostly addressed to Sir Anthony Panizzi, K.C.B., Principal Librarian of the British Museum; 1828-1878, n.d. English, French and Italian. Other general correspondence of Panizzi is Add. MSS. 36714-3672..., 1828-1878 British Library
creatorOf 'This is what I wish my foemen': a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne; [1863-1865?]. Autograph draft, written on both sides of one octavo leaf of white laid mourning paper (f. 25) (no watermark) and on one side only of another (f. 26) (watermark '[ ]..., 1863-1865 British Library
referencedIn Los Angeles County Prefecture Records The Huntington Library
referencedIn MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS, chiefly of scientific men and many of them addressed to Dir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society; 1693-1868. Several engraved and other portraits are interspersed. The names of the writers are given in the index. Paper;..., 1693-1868 British Library
referencedIn CAST of tho Seal of John Forster, Archdeacon of London. Presented by Mr. R. Ready.John Forster, Archdeacon of London: Cast of seal of: circ. 1490. British Library
referencedIn Vol. DXXXI, 1689-May 1709includes:ff. 1b-2 England Army of. Officers: Commissions: 1694-1715.ff. 1b-2 Parliament; Scotland: Appointment of Lord Strathnaver as colonel of Foot Regt: 1689.: Copy.ff. 1b-2 John Gordon, 16th Earl of Sutherland; afte... British Library
referencedIn Vol. LV (ff. 350). May, 1856-Nov. 1857.includes:ff. 1, 7, 115, 172, 193 Rep.. Daniel Dewar, Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen: Correspondence with Sir A. H. Layard: 1855-1858. ff. 1-229 passim University of Aberdeen: Correspondence of Sir A.... British Library
referencedIn GENERAL correspondence of the family of Carew, of Beddington, co. Surrey, and their connexions; 1585-1815. The names of the writers will be found in the Index. Among them are:-1. Richard Lloyd to Sir Francis Carew; "At the court," 9 Apr. 1585, f. 1...., 1585-1815 British Library
creatorOf Documents of Walter Savage Landor, collected by John Forster, ca 1830-1876 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Department of Special Collections
referencedIn Vol. lviii. Jan. 1814-March, 1815.Sir John Hadley D'Oyly, 6th Baronet; of Shottisham: Letters to W. Hastings: 1784-1813.Sweeney Toone, Major: Letters to W. Hastings: 1773-1817.Sir Charles D'Oyly, 7th Baronet; of Shottisham: Correspondence with W. Has... British Library
referencedIn Vol. XVI. (ff. 661). 1846-Nov. 1847.Edinburgh Review; The: Correspondence of M. Napier as editor of: 1829-1847.includes:ff. 1, 125, 404 John Russell, 1st Earl Russell; Prime Minister: Letters to M. Napier: 1843-1846. ff. 3, 17, 40, 477, 507 Thomas B..., 1846-1847 British Library
referencedIn Vol. XIV. (ff. 746). July, 1843-Dec. 1844.Edinburgh Review; The: Correspondence of M. Napier as editor of: 1829-1847.includes:ff. 1, 83, 144, 472 B-Edward Pote: Letters to M. Napier: 1842-1843. ff. 4, 6, 31, 146, 194, 235, 261, 324, 342, 356, 374, ... British Library
referencedIn MISCELLANE0US LETTERS AND PAPERS, VIZ.:-A. Fragments taken from bindings in the Department of Printed Books:-(1) Parts of two consecutive leaves from a MS. of the Decretum of Gratian, written in Italy. XIV cent. Vellum. ff. 1-2;-(2) Two fragmentary..., 1200-1918 British Library
referencedIn Vol. I, ff. 346, A-G.includes:f. 1 Joseph Adams, MD; biographer of John Hunter: Letter to W. Clift: 1817. f. 3 William Davenport Adams, author: Letter to C. D. Sherborn: 1891. f. 4 William Harrison Ainsworth, alias 'Cheviot Ticheburn'; novelist: Le... British Library
referencedIn Vol. LIII (ff. 435). Jan.-20 May, 1855.includes:f. 1 Captain William Robert Mends, RN; KCB 1871: Letters to Sir A. H. Layard: 1855-1863. ff. 3, 65-72 Edward Horsman, Chief Secretary for Ireland: Letters to Sir A. H. Layard: 1854-1864. ff. 5, 25, 8... British Library
referencedIn Vol. XLVII (ff. 188 +iv). Dec. 1714-20 Dec. 1715.Ireland: Correspondence and papers rel. chiefly to Perceval estates: 1644-1748.: Partly copies and drafts.County of Essex: Correspondence and papers rel. to 1st Lord Egmont's estate in: 1715-1718.Diari... British Library
referencedIn Letters from celebrated authors and other eminent men, 1847-1887. Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCXCVII (ff. 410). 26 Oct.-3 Nov. 1845.Agriculture: Correspondence and papers rel. to the potato famine: 1845, 1846.: Partly printed.includes:ff. 1, 3 Bernard Barton, poet: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1845-1848.f. 2 Bernard Barton, poe... British Library
referencedIn John Forster, Archdeacon of London, 1494.John Forster, Archdeacon of London: Seal: 1494. British Library
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843 Houghton Library
creatorOf LYTTON PAPERS. Vol. III. (ff. 216). 1. ff. 1-146v. Letters from 1st Earl of Lytton to his wife; 1890-1891, n.d. 2. ff. 147-173. Lytton family correspondence; 1870-1887, n.d. 3. ff. 174-196. General correspondence; 1875-1891, n.d. 4. ff. 197-208. Vers..., 1870-1928 British Library
referencedIn Correspondence of Leigh Hunt; 1807-1859. Paper; ff.451.Charles Ollier, publisher: Letters to Leigh Hunt: 1815-1858, n.d.includes:f. 1 Harriet Martineau: Letter to Leigh Hunt: 1851. ff. 4, 143, 187, 232, 234, 260, 313, 337, 378, 383 George Lillie Cra..., 1807-1859 British Library
referencedIn STATE PAPERS and correspondence relating to the affairs of Scotland, chiefly in connection with England; 1449-1594. Among the papers relating to Mary, Queen of Scots, are transcripts of the proceedings of the Commissions at York and Westminster in 15..., 1449-approximately 1594 British Library
creatorOf Vol. I (ff. 270). A -G.includes:f. 1 George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen; formerly Gordon; Prime Minister: Letter to A. Panizzi: 1856. f. 3 William Harrison Ainsworth, alias 'Cheviot Ticheburn'; novelist: Letter to A. Jones: 1840. f. 4 Ge... British Library
referencedIn Vol. XV. (ff. 569). 1845.Edinburgh Review; The: Correspondence of M. Napier as editor of: 1829-1847.includes:ff. 1, 64, 84, 89, 93, 144, 314, 325, 364, 370, 419, 426, 428, 440, 450, 455, 506 Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey; critic; Lord Advocate: Lette..., 1845 British Library
referencedIn Vol. III, A-M. 1790-1931.includes:f. 1 Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, Viscount Allenby: Letter to Sir P. C. Mitchell: 1930.f. 2 Henry Edward Armstrong, FRS; chemist: Letter to A. W. Rowe: 1905.ff. 2-165 passim Arthur Walton Rowe, MRCS: Letters to..., 1790-1931 British Library
referencedIn Vol. Xll. (ff. 226). 30 May, 1547-27 May, 1590. 1. The Bishop of Durham to [Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset,] Lord Protector; Aukland, [co. Durham], 30 May, 1547. Signed; with paper signet. f. 2. 2. [Sir] James Wylford to the Lord Lieutenant of the ... British Library
referencedIn PRECEDENT BOOK, etc.; 15th cent. Some Latin. Contains copies of royal letters, extracts from chronicles and state papers, etc., 1326 -temp. Edward IV, the latest dated item being art. 26, 1482. Also included are some later historical notes (artt. 1,..., 1369-1499 British Library
referencedIn Vol. XXVIII, 1867-1869 (at ff. 146-221 are general correspondence and papers of the 1st Bart.; 1837-1869).includes:ff. 1-144b Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, 1st Baronet: Correspondence with his son, Charles: 1853-1869.: Some imperf.ff. 141, 143 Ash..., 1837-1869 British Library
referencedIn Vol. CXXIV, 10 Dec. 1836-9 June 1838.George William Frederick Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon: Correspondence, as Minister at Madrid, with Lord Palmerston,: 1830-1839.: Drafts, copies, and abstracts.includes:ff. 20b-38 Henry Southern, diplomatist: ... British Library
referencedIn Vol. XXXVII (ff. 339). 1874-1879.includes:f. 1 John Wentworth, American congressman: Letter to Sir C. Dilke: 1874.ff. 3, 144 Thomas Faed, painter: Letters to Sir C. Dilke: 1874, 1876.f. 4 Art. Cartoons and Caricatures: 'The end of Dilke'; pen-..., 1874-1879 British Library
referencedIn Vol. III (ff. 172). March 1847-Nov. 1854.William Makepeace Thackeray, novelist: Letters to his daughters, Anne and Harriet: 1843-1859, n.d.includes:f. 1 William Makepeace Thackeray, novelist: Letter to Miss Bess Hamerton: 1847.: Copy.ff. 7, 9 Joh... British Library
referencedIn Correspondence of Leigh Hunt; 1807-1859. Paper; ff. 411.Charles Ollier, publisher: Letters to Leigh Hunt: 1815-1858, n.d.includes:f. 1 Charles Sneyd Edgeworth: Letter to Leigh Hunt: 1842. ff. 3-356 passim John Forster, biographer: Letters to Leigh H..., 1807-1859 British Library
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associatedWith Houghton Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Landor, Walter Savage person
correspondedWith Lever, Charles James, 1806-1872 person
associatedWith Prefecture of Los Angeles corporateBody
correspondedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Siena, Italy
Genoa, Italy
Lynsted, Kent
Eltham, Kent
Romford, Essex
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Alverstoke, Southampton
Northumberland, England
Greece, Europe
Wigtown Burghs, Wigtownshire
London, England
Cocklaw, Teviotdale
Chester, Cheshire
Birmingham, Warwickshire
Italy, Europe
Norwich, Norfolk
Leith, Edinburgh
Linlithgow, Linlithgow
Portersfee, Essex
Scotland, United Kingdom
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Barbary, North Africa
St Albans, Hertfordshire
Eyemouth Cantle, Berwickshire
Cockermouth, Cumberland
Sudan, Africa
Calais, France
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
Bristol, Gloucestershire
Lambeth, Surrey
Shetland Islands, Scotland
India, Asia
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Edinburgh, Scotland
Strathbogy, Aberdeenshire
Mar, Aberdeenshire
Orkney Islands, Scotland
Old Romney, Kent
Cork, Ireland
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
Rushbury, Shropshire
Teviotdale, Roxburghshire
Kars, Turkey
Dingwall, county Ross
Lubeck, Germany
Spain, Europe
Hume Castle, Berwickshire
Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire
Home Castle, Berwickshire
Buchan, Aberdeenshire
Aldbourn, Wiltshire
Burntisland, Fifeshire
Glasgow, Scotland
Scotland, United Kingdom
Netherlands, Europe
Scotland, United Kingdom
Roxburgh Castle, Roxburghshire
Ombersley, Worcestershire
Canterbury, Kent
Liddesdale, Roxburghshire
Lauther Castle, Berwickshire
Hertford, Hertfordshire
Tain, Ross and Cromarty
Dunstanburgh, Northumberland
Mantes, France
Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Preston, Lancashire
Dunfermline, Fifeshire
Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk
Isle of Man, England
Kent, England
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
Havering atte Bower, Essex
Essill, Moray
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Skirbeck, Lincolnshire
Preswen, Cumberland
Worcestershire, England
Hammersmith, Middlesex
Suffolk, England
Chester, Cheshire
Reading, Berkshire
Lincolnshire, England
Ross-shire, Scotland
Naples and Sicily, Kingdom of, Italy
Montgomeryshire, Wales
Birmingham, Warwickshire
Ross-shire, Scotland
Boston, Lincolnshire
Merse, Scotland
Staincliff in Craven, West Riding of Yorkshire
Suffolk, England
Taunton, Somerset
Lothian, Scotland
King's Langley, Hertfordshire
Bamburgh, Northumberland
Cologne, Germany
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland
Wallingford, Berkshire
Sunderland, Durham
Brenzett, Kent
Scotland, Kingdom of, United Kingdom
Ipswich, Suffolk
Banbury, Oxfordshire
Edinburgh, Scotland
Bolivia, South America
Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire
Yorkshire, England
Fast Castle, Berwickshire
Gariauch, Aberdeenshire
Southwark, Surrey
Mauritius, Indian Ocean
London, England
India, Asia
Edinburgh, Scotland
St Omer, Pas-de-Calais
Edinburgh, Scotland
East Friesland, Germany
Carlisle, Cumberland
Edinburgh, Scotland
Houghton St Giles, Norfolk
Surrey, England
Tavistock, Devon
Tindale, Northumberland
Essex, England
Chester, Cheshire
Lucca, Italy
Peebles, Scotland
Tonge, Shropshire
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Ireland, Europe
Dublin, Ireland
London, England
Banffshire, Scotland
Sebastopol, the Crimea
York, Yorkshire
Mauritius, Indian Ocean
London, county of, England
Xanthus, Lycia
Heavitree, Devon




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