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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Access Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Correspondence, 1741-1791

Historical Documents, 1729-1770

Images, 1741-1964

Collection provenance and study materials, 1731-1998

Southern Methodist University

Collection on John Wesley

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: Bridwell Library
Title: Collection on John Wesley
Inclusive Dates: 1729-1998
Bulk Dates: 1741-1791
Abstract: This collection comprises six linear feet of manuscript letters written by, other documents written or signed by, and images of John Wesley amassed by Bridwell Library. Anglican clergymen the Rev. John Wesley (1703-1791) and his brother, the Rev. Charles Wesley (1707-1788), were the co-founders of Methodism.
Accession No: BridArch 303.68
Extent: 9 boxes (6 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

Evangelist and theologian John Wesley was born on June 28, 1703 in Epworth, England. He was the fifteenth child of Anglican rector Samuel (1662-1735) and Susanna Annesley Wesley (1669-1742). John Wesley studied at the Charterhouse School and at Christ Church College, Oxford University (M. A., 1727). He was elected a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1726.

Wesley was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1725. Three years later, in 1728, he was ordained to the priesthood. After assisting his father in the parish ministry from 1727 to 1729, John Wesley returned to Oxford where he joined the Holy Club, an organization founded by his brother, Charles. John Wesley soon became the leader of this student group committed to meeting frequently for Bible study, prayer, self-examination, and the performance of charitable acts. This systematic approach to fostering spiritual vitality earned the group the derisive nickname “Methodists.”

In 1735 John Wesley and Charles Wesley traveled to the British colony of Georgia as missionaries. Not long after his return to England in 1738, John Wesley had a life-changing conversion experience. From that time on he became a prominent leader in the English evangelical revival.

At the urging of George Whitefield, Wesley took up field preaching in 1739. In 1743 he organized the first Methodist class-meetings. A year later, in 1744, he presided over the first Methodist Conference. Following the American Revolution, John Wesley ordained and commissioned preachers to serve in the United States of America. This led to the founding of the North American branch of the Wesleyan movement, the Methodist Episcopal Church, in December of 1785.

In addition to being the structural organizer of Methodism, John Wesley was an indefatigable itinerant preacher and a prolific writer. His published writings comprise numerous books of hymns, poetry, history, and religious thought, including: The Character of a Methodist (1742); The Principles of a Methodist (1742); An Ernest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion (1743); The Nature, Design, and General Rules of the United Societies (1743); Sermons on Several Occasions (1746); Primitive Physic (1747); A Plain Account of the People Called Methodists (1749); Notes Upon the New Testament (1755); Reasons Against a Separation from the Church of England (1758); A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (1766); A Concise History of England (1776); Thoughts on the Power of Music (1779); A Concise Ecclesiastical Dictionary (1781); and The New Testament, with an Analysis of the Several Books and Chapters (1790).

John Wesley married Mary (Molly) Vizaille in 1751. They separated in 1771 and Molly Wesley died in 1781. John Wesley died in London on March 2, 1791, at the age of 88.

Sources:

Harmon, Nolan B., Ed. Encyclopedia of World Methodism. Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 1974.

Rogal, Samuel J. A Biographical Dictionary of 18th Century Methodism. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1999.

Wesleyana exhibition, Victoria University Library, University of Toronto, http://library.vicu.utoronto.ca/exhibitions/wesleyexhibit/wesley300.htm (accessed 07/2013)

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Bridwell Library’s collection on John Wesley features materials produced by and about John Wesley during the eighteenth century. The collection includes correspondence, personal and professional papers, and prints of Wesley and Wesley-related scenes. These items are supplemented with files of study materials, provenance data, and Bridwell Library exhibition catalogs. The collection’s primary source materials and images document the life, work, and public perception of the leading figure of early Methodism.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into four series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1741-1791
Series 2: Historical Documents, 1729-1770
Series 3: Images, 1741-1964
Series 4: Collection provenance and study materials, 1731-1998

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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, John, 1703-1791.
Wesley, Charles, 1757-1834.
Methodism -- History -- 18th century.
Letters -- 18th century.

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Related Material

Letters of John Wesley at Bridwell Library, Bridwell Library Digital Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

John Wesley’s 1758 sermon, Bridwell Library Digital Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Letters of John Wesley and the Wesley Family, United Methodist Archives and History Center, Drew University

Collection on the Charles Wesley family, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Charles Wesley Family Materials, Bridwell Library Digital Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection on John Wesley, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired, ongoing

Processing Information

To improve preservation and access, all materials in this collection were rehoused in 2012-2013.

Processed by

Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2013

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2014

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:
Correspondence, 1741-1791

The first and largest series comprises letters written by John Wesley during the last five decades of his life. The letters are arranged in chronological order. A subfolder containing transcriptions and provenance data accompanies each letter.
Box Folder
01 01 John Wesley letter to unknown clergyman, 1741 October 4
02 John Wesley letter to Samuel Lloyd, 1751 July 8
03 John Wesley letter to Mary Wesley, his wife, 1756 January 7
04 John Wesley letter to Samuel Furly, 1756 April 16
05 John Wesley letter to Robert Marsden, 1756 August 31
06 John Wesley letter to Ebenezer Blackwell, 1757 May 28
07 John Wesley letter to Samuel Furly, 1758 May 1
08 John Wesley letter possibly to Ebenezer Blackwell, 1760 March 17
09 John Wesley letter to Ebenezer Blackwell, 1760 April 26
10 John Wesley letter to Ebenezer Blackwell, 1760 May 7
11 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1763 September 3
12 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1764 September 29
13 John Wesley letter to John Newton, 1765 May 14
14 Double letter: John Wesley letter to Leaders and Stewards, 1765 June 9; and John Wesley letter to Thomas Rankin, 1765 June 9
15 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1765 October 16
16 John Wesley letter to William Orp, 1765 November 13
17 John Wesley letter to John Newton, 1766 February 28
18 John Wesley letter to John Newton, 1766 April 1
19 Double letter: John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1766 November 20; and John Wesley letter, 1766 November 27
20 John Wesley letter to Ann Foard, 1767 April 20
Box Folder
08 01 John Wesley letter to Joseph Townsend, 1767 August 2
Box Folder
01 21 John Wesley letter to Abraham Andrews, 1767 August 18
22 John Wesley letter to Ann Foard, 1767 October 14
23 Printed circular letter addressed to Benjamin Wood and signed by John Wesley with a brief postscript, 1767 November 24
24 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1768 December 4
Box Folder
02 01 John Wesley letter to Elizabeth Bennis, 1769 July 24
02 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1769 November 19
03 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1769 November 20
04 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1770 January 27
05 John Wesley letter to Samuel Bardsley, 1770 January 28
06 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1771 January 7
07 John Wesley letter to Joseph Pilmoor, 1771 March 27
08 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1771 October 13
09 John Wesley letter to Sam Bardsley, 1771 November 24
10 John Wesley letter to Mary Stokes, 1772 February 11
11 John Wesley letter to Penelope Newman, 1772 October 23
12 John Wesley letter to Elizabeth Bennis, 1773 February 12
13 John Wesley letter to Thomas Hanson, 1773 February 13
14 John Wesley letter to Elizabeth Woodhouse, 1773 July 30
15 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1773 July 31
16 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1773 September 10
17 John Wesley letter to Mary Bosanquet, 1773 October 17
18 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1773 October 23
19 John Wesley letter to Isaac Twycross, 1774 January 18
20 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1774 March 4
21 Photocopied John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1774 June 21
22 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1774 July 26
Box Folder
03 01 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1774 August 8
02 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1774 September 18
03 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1774 October 16
04 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1774 December 12
05 John Wesley letter to Francis Wolfe, 1775 January 11
06 John Wesley letter to Jasper Winscom, 1775 October 20
07 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1775 October 30
08 John Wesley letter to John Mason, 1775 November 1
09 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1775 November 11
10 John Wesley letter to John Bredin, 1776 January 17
11 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1776 February 22
12 John Wesley letter to Elizabeth Woodhouse, 1776 March 3
13 John Wesley letter to Mr. Barker, 1776 April 17
14 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1776 July 31
15 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1776 October 22
16 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1776 November 7
17 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1776 November 26
18 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1776 December 24
19 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1777 February 15
20 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1777 March 5
21 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1777 March 16
22 John Wesley letter to Penelope Newman, 1777 June 4
23 John Wesley letter to Elizabeth Woodhouse, 1777 June 29
24 John Wesley letter Elizabeth Woodhouse, 1777 August 3
25 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1777 December 8
26 John Wesley letter to James Barry, 1778 February 16
Box Folder
04 01 John Wesley letter to Rebecca Gair, 1779 May 26
02 John Wesley to Joseph, 1779 September 4
03 John Wesley letter to Susanna Eden, 1779 September 11
04 John Wesley letter to James Creighton, 1779 September 29
05 John Wesley letter to Brian Bury Collins, 1780 January 14
06 John Wesley letter to Brian Bury Collins, 1780 January 27
07 John Wesley letter to Lancelot Harrison, 1780 April 18
08 John Wesley letter to unknown recipient, 1780 July 8
09 John Wesley letter to Brian Bury Collins, 1780 August 1
10 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1780 December 26
11 John Wesley letter to Edward Jackson, 1781 January 6
12 John Wesley letter to Miss Shakespear, 1781 March 3
13 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1781 April 2
14 John Wesley letter to Ann Loxdale, 1782 January 18
15 John Wesley letter to John Valton, 1782 March 24
16 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1782 August 3
17 John Wesley letter to Jasper Winscom, 1782 August 10
18 John Wesley letter to Ellen Gretton, 1782 September 7
19 John Wesley letter to James Creighton, 1782 September 10
20 John Wesley letter to John Watson, 1782 November 30
21 Double letter: John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1783 May 19; and Joseph Benson letter to John Wesley, undated
22 John Wesley letter to Catherine Warren, 1783 May 26
Box Folder
05 01 John Wesley letter to unknown recipient, 1783 September 30
02 John Wesley letter to Jane Barton, 1783 October 26
03 John Wesley letter to John Ellison, 1783 November 4
04 John Wesley letter to Walter Churchey, 1783 November 21
05 John Wesley letter to Isaac Andrews, 1784 January 4
06 John Wesley letter to Brian Bury Collins, 1784 March 11
07 John Wesley letter to Simon Day, 1784 June 1
08 John Wesley letter to Christopher Hopper, 1784 August 31
09 John Wesley letter to John Valton, 1784 October 13
10 John Wesley letter to Francis Asbury, 1784 October 31
11 John Wesley letter to Peard Dickinson, 1785 January 15
12 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1785 October 30
13 John Wesley letter to Peter Walker, 1786 February 21
14 John Wesley letter to William Sagar, 1786 February 25
15 John Wesley letter to John Stretton, 1786 February 26
16 John Wesley letter to Adam Clarke, 1786 July 2
17 John Wesley letter Francis Wrigley, 1786 July 7
18 John Wesley letter to John Hollis, 1786 November 17
19 John Wesley letter to Joshua Keighley, 1787 February 19
20 John Wesley letter to Brian Bury Collins, 1787 February 22
21 Double letter: John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1787 March 9; and John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1787 March 10
22 John Wesley letter to John Baxendale, 1787 April 3
23 John Wesley letter to Thomas Roberts, 1788 January 18
24 John Wesley letter to his niece, Sally Sarah Wesley, 1788 March 20
25 John Wesley letter to Peard Dickinson, 1788 May 29
Box Folder
06 01 John Wesley letter to Walter Churchey, 1788 June 26
02 John Wesley letter to Walter Churchey, 1788 September 27
03 John Wesley letter to Edward Jackson, 1788 October 24
04 John Wesley letter to Sarah Mallet, 1788 December 26
05 John Wesley letter to Anna Knapp, 1789 February 19
06 John Wesley letter to Rachel Jones, 1789 March 2
07 John Wesley letter to unknown recipient, 1789 March 14
08 John Wesley letter to Peard Dickinson, 1789 June 15
09 John Wesley letter to Nancy Bolton, 1789 July 27
10 John Wesley letter to Charles Atmore, 1789 October 12
11 John Wesley letter to Thomas Stedman, 1789 December 26
12 John Wesley letter to Joseph Benson, 1790 February 16
13 John Wesley letter to Henry Moore, 1790 March 6
14 John Wesley letter to Jasper Winscom, 1790 September 7
15 John Wesley letter to Sally Sarah Rutter, 1790 October 18
16 John Wesley letter to Jane Cock, 1790 November 10
17 John Wesley letter to Robert Dall, 1791 January 19
18 John Wesley letter to Francis Wrigley, 1791 February 18

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Series 2:
Historical Documents, 1729-1770

The second series contains four documents that are not pieces of correspondence. All were either written or signed by John Wesley.
Box Folder
06 19 Printed receipt for subscription for Samuel Wesley, Sr.’s Dissertationes in Librum Jobi in John Wesley’s hand but signed by Samuel Wesley, Sr., 1729 October 22
20 Page from John Wesley’s manuscript journal concerning his brother-in-law, Westley Hall, 1747 December 2
21 John Wesley sermon on Hebrews 4:9, 1758 June 15
Box Folder
08 02 Last will and testament of John Wesley, 1770 March 16

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Series 3:
Images, 1741-1964

The third series consists of printed images of John Wesley and Wesley-related themes. All but two items date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Small prints are stored in box 6. Large prints are stored flat in box 9.
Box Folder
06 22 Print “John Wesley M.A.” 1741
23 Print “John Wesley, A.M.” by William Bromley, European Magazine, 1791
24 Print of John Wesley preaching, undated
25 Print of John Wesley, undated
26 Print “Reverend John Wesley M.A. Late Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford” after a miniature painted by J. Barry, 1791
27 Print “John Wesley M.A. Aetatis 63” by Bland after a painting by Nathaniel Hone, circa 1766
28 Print “The Revd. John Wesley M.A. Aged 85” by Francesco Bartolozzi, circa 1788
29 Print “John Wesley, A. M.” by R. Page, 1839
30 Print of John Wesley’s grave printed “expressly for the Repository,” not before 1840
Box Folder
09 01 Print “Revd. John Wesley, A.M. from a Bust Modelled from the Life by Enoch Wood Esqr. of Burslem,” undated
02 Print “Escape of John Wesley from the Fire” published by S. Lipschitz, circa 1870
03 Print “The Death of Revd. John Wesley A.M.” published by S. Lipschitz, circa 1870
04 Print “John Wesley, M.A., Fellow of Lincoln College Oxford” by John Greenwood after a portrait by Nathaniel Hone, 1770
05 Print “John Wesley M.A. Fellow of Lincoln College Oxford” by James Watson after a portrait by Robert Hunter, 1773
06 Print “John Wesley M.A. Fellow of Lincoln College Oxford” by J. Faber after a portrait by J. Williams, circa 1740
07 Print “The Rev. John Wesley, M.A. Opening His Medical Dispensary at Bristol, England, in 1746,” 1964
08 Print “To the Revd. Mr. Wesley, M.A. this North-west View of his School in Kingswood near Bristol” after McGeary, 1790
09 Print “The Reverend John Wesley, M.A. Late Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. Aetat 86” by James Fittler after a painting by W. Hamilton, 1788
10 Print: color portrait of John Wesley, undated
11 Print “England’s Greatest Apostle” by J. B. Hunt after a painting by Alfred Hunt, circa 1850s
12 Print “Escape of John Wesley from the Fire” published by S. Lipschitz, circa 1870
13 Reproduction biographical portrait of John Wesley in microscopic script, 1850

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Series 4:
Collection provenance and study materials, 1731-1998

The fourth and final series comprises a folder of copies of John Wesley letters that are owned by other institutions, nine folders of background information about the collection, and two Bridwell Library exhibition catalogs.
Box Folder
07 01 Copies of other John Wesley letters, 1731-1773
02 Provenance essay and inventories, 1959-1998
03 Provenance data, 1922-1989
04 Frederick D. Leete correspondence with Frank Baker, 1946-1953
05 Frederick D. Leete correspondence with The Epworth Press, 1950-1953
06 Frederick D. Leete correspondence with Ifan Kyrle Fletcher, 1951-1953
07 Kate Warnick correspondence with Frank Baker, 1959-1974
08 Kate Warnick article: “Four Unpublished Letters of John Wesley,” 1960
09 Typescript transcriptions of Mary Cooke’s letters to John Wesley from her letter book, 1785-1789
10 Data on John Wesley portrait GR87.025, 1987
11 Bridwell Library exhibition catalog “Faithful Unto Death” Last years and Legacy of John Wesley, 1991
12 Bridwell Library exhibition catalog I am Your Affectionate Brother J Wesley, 1994

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