Southern Methodist University

Collection on the Charles Wesley family

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: Bridwell Library
Title: Collection on the Charles Wesley family
Inclusive Dates: 1740-1873
Bulk Dates: 1750-1830
Abstract: Bridwell Library’s collection on the Charles Wesley family comprises manuscript letters and other documents written by or received by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), his wife Sarah (Sally) Gwynne Wesley (1726-1822), their children Charles Wesley, Jr. (1757-1834), Sarah Wesley (1759-1828), Samuel Wesley (1766-1837), and Samuel Wesley’s son, Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876).
Accession No: BridArch 303.59
Extent: 2 boxes (1 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Charles Wesley was born on December 18, 1707 at Epworth in Lincolnshire. He was the eighteenth child of Anglican rector Samuel (1662-1735) and Susanna Annesley Wesley (1669-1742). He studied at Westminster School in London from 1716 to 1726 after which he entered Christ Church College, Oxford University. It was here in 1729 that Charles founded the Holy Club that fostered the Methodist movement. Charles Wesley received his Master’s degree in 1733. In 1735 he was ordained deacon and priest in the Church of England shortly before departing for the North American mission field.

In 1749 Charles married Sally Gwynne. They had eight children together, three of which reached adulthood: Charles, Jr., Sarah, and Samuel. Charles Wesley died peacefully on March 29, 1788, just a few years before his older brother John.

Concerning Charles Wesley, historian Gary Martin Best notes:

It was Charles who provided the warmth of character which kept many loyal to his more autocratic and severe brother. It was Charles and not John who was often judged the most effective preacher in Methodism whenever Whitefield was absent in America…. He constantly supported his brother, even when they disagreed, and by becoming the hymn writer of the movement, he embodied its message far more effectively in his verse than John was ever able to achieve through his prose.

In 1749 Charles Wesley married Sally Gwynne. They had eight children together, three of which reached adulthood: Charles, Jr., Sarah, and Samuel. Charles Wesley died peacefully on March 29, 1788.

Sources:

Best, Gary Martin. Charles Wesley: A Biography. Werrington: Epworth, 2006.

Tabraham, Barrie W. Brother Charles. Peterborough: Epworth, 2003.

Mitchell, T. Crichton. Charles Wesley: Man with the Dancing Heart. Kansas City, Mo: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1994.


Scope and Contents of the Collection

This manuscript collection consists of thirty-seven folders of personal and professional correspondence, music, poetry, and images associated with co-founder of Methodism Charles Wesley, his wife, their three children, and one grandson. Materials in the collection, dating from the mid-1700s to the late 1800s, provide insights into the creative, business, and family life of three generations of Wesleys.


 

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into two series:
Series 1: Charles Wesley materials, circa 1740-1866
Series 2: Charles Wesley family materials, 1764-1873

Restrictions

Access to Collection:

The collection is open for research use. Patrons must sign the Acknowledgement of Legal Responsibility and Privacy Rights form before using this collection.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.


Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Wesley, Charles, 1707-1788.
Wesley family.
Wesley, Charles, 1757-1834.
Wesley, Samuel, 1766-1837.
Wesley, Samuel Sebastian, 1810-1876.
Wesley, Sarah, 1726-1822.
Wesley, Sarah, 1759-1828.
Methodist Church -- Clergy.
Hymns -- 18th century.
Poems
Music -- 19th century.
Letters

Related Materials

Digital reproductions of the Collection on the Charles Wesley family are available electronically at http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/all/bridwell/cwf/index.asp

Wesley family papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item,] Collection on the Charles Wesley family, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired, 1957 - ongoing

Processing Information

During processing, modern documents related to the provenance and use of the collection that were previous stored with the collection were placed in the Bridwell Archives Subject Files.

Finding aid written by

Collection arranged and described by Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2012. Biographical note written by Rachel Tillay.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2012.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:
Charles Wesley materials, circa 1740-1866

The first series begins with two poems by Charles Wesley, continues with fifteen letters written by Wesley or jointly with his wife, Sarah (Sally) Gwynne Wesley, and ends with three published images of Charles Wesley. Folder titles in this finding aid are hyperlinked directly to metadata-rich digital images of individual documents.
Box Folder
303.59.01 1 Charles Wesley hymn:"Father of Light and God of grace," not dated, circa 1740-1788
2 Charles Wesley poem:"On the Death of Mrs. Hannah Dewal," with explanatory remarks by Eliza Telitha Tooth, 1771
3 Charles and Sarah (Sally) Wesley letter to Samuel Lloyd, 1751 June 6
4 Charles and Sarah (Sally) Wesley letter to Samuel Lloyd, 1755 February 22
5 Charles Wesley letter to Samuel Walker [Vicar of Truro], 1756 August 21
6 Charles Wesley letter to Sarah (Sally) Wesley, 1758 June 28
7 Charles Wesley letter to Lloyd, Samuel, 1760 March 2
8 Charles Wesley letter to Mrs. Berkin, 1766 March 17
9 Charles Wesley letter to Samuel Lloyd, 1766 August 12-13
10 Charles Wesley letter to Samuel Lloyd, 1766 August 14
11 Charles Wesley letter to Mrs. Berkin via Miss March, 1767 November 23
12 Charles Wesley letter to Mrs. Berkin via Miss March, 1767 December 19
13 Charles Wesley letter to Samuel Lloyd, 1768 March 22
14 : Charles Wesley letter to Samuel Lloyd, 1768 December 21
15 Charles Wesley letter to Mrs. Berkin, 1769 October 7
16 Charles Wesley letter to William Russell, Music Master at Guildford, Surry, 1778 December 21
17 Charles Wesley letter to Brian Bury Collins, 1782 November 12
18 Print of Charles Wesley engraved by Stodhart, undated
19 Newsprint images of John Wesley and Charles Wesley, circa 1866
20 Print of Charles Wesley, undated



 

Series 2:
Charles Wesley family materials, 1764-1873

The second series contains a music score, fourteen pieces of correspondence, and three other manuscript documents written by or sent to these Wesley family members: Sarah (Sally) Gwynne Wesley (1726-1822), wife of Charles Wesley; their first son, Charles Wesley, Jr. (1757-1834); their daughter, Sarah Wesley (1759-1828); their second son, Samuel Wesley (1766-1837); and Samuel Wesley’s son, Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876). Dates in square brackets have been supplied or estimated by Bridwell Library staff members. The phrase “double letter” is used to denote the presence of two letters on one sheet of paper.
Subseries 1: Sally Gwynne Wesley
Box Folder
303.59.01 21 Ann Davis letter to Mrs. Charles (Sally Gwynne) Wesley, 1764 May 29
Subseries 2: Charles Wesley, Jr.
Box Folder
303.59.01 22 Charles Wesley, Jr. letter to Mrs. Houghton [Howdon], not dated, circa 1770-1830
Box Folder
303.59.02 01 Musical score by Charles Wesley, Jr.: Sonata per il Cembalo, in F minor, 1781
Box Folder
303.59.01 23 Double letter: Charles Wesley, Jr. to Charles Worthington, 1812 April 27 with a reply from “CW” dated May 3 or 5
24 Double letter: G. P. England to Charles Worthington, 1813 August 4, with a reply from “CW” dated August 11
25 Charles Wesley, Jr. letter to Mr. Hamilton, 1829 April 1
26 Charles Wesley, Jr. letter to The Rev. Mr. Morley, Mission House, 1830 April 28
Subseries 3: Sarah Wesley
Box Folder
303.59.01 27 Sarah Wesley letter to Brian Bury Collins, 1793 May 17
28 Sarah Wesley letter to Mrs. M. Doddridge, 1794 May 3
29 Mary Freeman Shepherd letter to Sarah Wesley, [1797 or 1809] December 14
30 Manuscript Document: “Memoranda of that extraordinary character Mrs. Mary Freeman Shepherd,” 1815
Subseries 4: Samuel Wesley
Box Folder
303.59.01 31 Samuel Wesley letter to Sarah Gwynne Wesley, 1795 June 30
32 Samuel Wesley letter to Alfred Pettet, 1815 October 5
33 Four-line poem by Samuel Wesley: “Our grandfathers were papists all,” 1827 November 5
34 Samuel Wesley letter to Daniel Guilford Wait, 1829 September 16
Subseries 5: Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Box Folder
303.59.01 35 Samuel Sebastian Wesley letter to unknown, 1860? September 14
36 Samuel Sebastian Wesley letter to Sir Frederick Ouseley, 1872 September 6
Box Folder
303.59.02 02 Musical score by Samuel Sebastian Wesley: “Let us now praise famous men,” 1873