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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Access Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Charles Wesley materials, circa 1740-1788

Charles Wesley family materials, 1764-1873

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: 1 box (.5 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

John Wesley said of his brother Charles that “his least praise was his talent for poetry.” This statement seems ironic in light of the fact that Charles Wesley is remembered primarily through the continued relevance of his poems and hymns. As a hymn writer, Charles gave a voice and a theological base for Methodism that is still a vital part of the movement. However, many forget his other, and possibly more important, contributions to Methodism.

Charles Wesley was born on December 18, 1707 at Epworth in Lincolnshire. He was the eighteenth child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley and one of ten to reach adulthood. He studied at Westminster School in London from 1716-1726 after which he was awarded a studentship at Christ Church in Oxford. It is here in 1729 that Charles founded the ‘Holy Club’ that became the Methodist movement. In 1732 Charles befriended George Whitefield and introduced him to the ‘Holy Club.’ In 1733 Wesley received his Master’s degree and in 1735 he was ordained in the Church of England. For expediency’s sake he was ordained deacon and a week later priest, just two weeks 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.

Quoting Gary Martin Best, “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.”

Sources:

Best, Gary Martin. Charles Wesley: A Biography. Werrington [England]: 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.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

This manuscript collection consists of thirty-four folders of personal and professional correspondence, music, and poetry 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.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into two series:
Series 1: Charles Wesley materials, circa 1740-1788
Series 2: Charles Wesley family materials, 1764-1873

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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.

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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

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Related Material

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

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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.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:
Charles Wesley materials, circa 1740-1788

The first series begins with two poems by Charles Wesley and ends with fifteen letters written by Wesley or jointly with his wife, Sarah (Sally) Gwynne Wesley. Dates in square brackets have been supplied or estimated by Bridwell Library staff members.
Digital images of all the letters in this series are available for viewing at http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/all/bridwell/browse.asp Folder titles in this finding aid are hyperlinked directly to metadata-rich digital images of individual documents.
Box Folder
1 1 Manuscript hymn:"Father of Light and God of grace," not dated [circa 1740-1788]
2 Manuscript poem: "On the Death of Mrs. Hannah Dewal," with explanatory remarks by Eliza Telitha Tooth, [1771]
3 Letter: Charles and Sarah (Sally) Wesley to Samuel Lloyd, June 6, [1751]
4 Letter:Charles and Sarah (Sally) Wesley to Samuel Lloyd, February 22, 1755
5 Letter:Charles Wesley to Samuel Walker [Vicar of Truro], August 21, [1756]
6 Letter:Charles Wesley to Sarah (Sally) Wesley, June 28, [1758]
7 Letter:Charles Wesley to Lloyd, Samuel, [March 2, 1760]
8 Letter:Charles Wesley to Mrs. Berkin, March 17, 1766
9 Letter:Charles Wesley to Samuel Lloyd, August 12-13, 1766
10 Letter:Charles Wesley to Samuel Lloyd, August 14, 1766
11 Letter:Charles Wesley to Mrs. Berkin via Miss March, November 23, 1767
12 Letter:Charles Wesley to Mrs. Berkin via Miss March, December 19, 1767
13 Letter:Charles Wesley to Samuel Lloyd, March 22, 1768
14 Letter:: Charles Wesley to Samuel Lloyd, December 21, 1768
15 Letter:Charles Wesley to Mrs. Berkin, October 7, 1769
16 Letter:Charles Wesley to William Russell, Music Master at Guildford, Surry, December 21, 1778
17 Letter:Charles Wesley to Brian Bury Collins, November 12, 1782

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Series 2:
Charles Wesley family materials, 1764-1873

The second series contains 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
1 18 Letter: Ann Davis to Mrs. Charles (Sally Gwynne) Wesley, May 29, 1764
Subseries 2: Charles Wesley, Jr.
Box Folder
1 19 Letter: Charles Wesley, Jr. to Mrs. Houghton [Howdon], not dated, [circa 1770-1830]
20 Double letter: Charles Wesley, Jr. to Charles Worthington, April 27, 1812 with a reply from “CW” dated May [3 or 5,] 1812
21 Double letter: G. P. England to Charles Worthington, August 4, 1813, with a reply from “CW” dated August 11, 1813
22 Letter: Charles Wesley, Jr. to Mr. Hamilton, April 1, 1829
23 Letter: Charles Wesley, Jr. to The Rev. Mr. Morley, April 28, 1830
Subseries 3: Sarah Wesley
Box Folder
1 24 Letter: Sarah Wesley to Brian Bury Collins, May 17, 1793
25 Letter: Sarah Wesley to Mrs. M. Doddridge, May 3, 1794
26 Letter: Mary Freeman Shepherd to Sarah Wesley, December 14, [1797 or 1809]
27 Manuscript Document: “Memoranda of that extraordinary character Mrs. Mary Freeman Shepherd,” 1815
Subseries 4: Samuel Wesley
Box Folder
1 28 Letter: Samuel Wesley to Sarah Gwynne Wesley, June 30, 1795
29 Letter: Samuel Wesley to Alfred Pettet, October 5, 1815
30 Four-line poem by Samuel Wesley: “Our grandfathers were papists all,” November 5, 1827
31 Letter: Samuel Wesley to Daniel Guilford Wait, September 16, 1829
Subseries 5: Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Box Folder
1 32 Letter:Samuel Sebastian Wesley to unknown, September 14, [1860?]
33 Letter:Samuel Sebastian Wesley to Sir Frederick Ouseley, September 6, 1872
34 Musical score by Samuel Sebastian Wesley: “Let us now praise famous men,” 1873

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