University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

H. Buxton Forman
Papers relating to
John Keats

1885 - 1949


Manuscript Collection Number: 215
Accessioned: Purchased in 1979
Extent: .33 linear ft., 1 box
Content: Letters, article proof, transcribed letters, photographs and a poem
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1984, revised in 1992 by Suzanne Hoffmann

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Introductory Note

H. (Harry) Buxton Forman (1842-1917) joined the staff of the Post Office in London in 1860. This new governmental 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.

Scope and Content Note

The H. Buxton Forman Papers consist of letters, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to John Keats; this material was collected by 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.

Contents List

Folder -- Contents

F1   "Keats's Letters to Friends in America"
     Original signed manuscript by H. Buxton Forman

F2   "Keats's Letters to Friends in America," 1885
     Article proof for The Nineteenth Century with autograph
          corrections by H. Buxton Forman  (2 copies)

F3   Untitled Poem
     Possible photostatic copy of John Keats poem later published
     as "Bright Star..."

F4   Letter Fragments, 1848
     Photostatic copies and transcription of fragments signed
     "Francis Lindon"

F5   "Some New Keats Letters"
     Transcript copies of three letters, John Keats to Fanny
          Keats, with revisions and commentary by Maurice Buxton

F6   Letters, 1888 - 1892
     Transcriptions of nine letters from Fanny and Rosa Keats de
          Llanos to Philip Speed Tuley, all transcribed by
          Maurice Buxton Forman

F7   Letter, 1939
     Autograph letter, Philip Speed Tuley to Maurice Buxton

F8   Letters, 1939, n.d.
     Two autograph letters and one typescript memoir,  Alice
          Keats to Maurice Buxton Forman

F9   Letters, 1942 - 1943
     Sir W. Hale-White to Maurice Buxton Forman including
          transcription of Hale-White's article "Keats as medical
          student.  Records of his Anatomy Lecture Notes."  Also
          includes Hale-White's obituary from The Times (London)
          of August 26, 1949.

F10  Photographs
     Relating to John Keats:
     1.   Georgiana Keats
     2.   Keats' House
     3.   Bonnet Shop
     4.   View of Harbor
     5.   Thomas Callaway, M.D.
     6.   Charles Aston Key, M.D.

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