Robert Stephen Hawker:
A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
This collection of Robert Stephen Hawker (1803-1875), English poet, antiquary, and Vicar of Morwenstow, consists of correspondence, reviews, newspaper clippings, material relating to Hawker's family history, including wills and birth, marriage, and death certificates, photographic images, and other miscellaneous items. The collection is arranged in two series: I. Correspondence, 1855-1875, and II. Hawker Materials Collected by F. S. Goard, 1876-1975.
The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters written by Hawker to Mrs. Harriet Watson, an admirer of Hawker's poetry who donated the money necessary to restore the roof of Morwenstow Church. Hawker's letters to Mrs. Watson chronicle his thoughts on theological and political matters and his experiences during their fifteen-year correspondence, including the illness and death of his first wife Charlotte. Mrs. Watson was also likely the recipient of the undated and incomplete letters contained in the collection. A smaller portion of the correspondence consists of letters from Hawker to Dr. Bewdsley, the doctor who looked after Mrs. Watson before her death in 1875. Letters to Hawker from various correspondents are present as well. Most notable among the letters to Hawker is a copy, in Hawker's hand, of a letter from Alfred Tennyson.
The Hawker materials collected by F. S. Goard provide insight into Hawker's family history as well as his life as a poet and vicar. Present in the collected materials are published reviews of Hawker biographies, including biographies by Sabine Baring-Gould (1876), F. G. Lee (1876), Charles Edward Byles (1905), Margaret Florence Burrows (1926), and Piers Brendon (1975). Material relating to Hawker's family history included in the collection consists of Hawker's will as well as the wills of Pauline Hawker, Hawker's second wife; Mary Stevens, Pauline Hawker's mother; and Mrs. Watson. Birth, marriage, and death certificates for a number of members of Hawker's family are also present. Newspaper clippings collected by Goard provide information about the centenary celebrations for Hawker at Morenstow in August 1975 and the controversy surrounding Hawker's deathbed conversion to Catholicism. Some of Hawker's contributions to Notes and Queries are included in the collection as well as published articles critiquing Hawker's works.
Open for research
Purchases, 1963-1976 (Reg. nos. 1610, 7137)
Jennifer Hughes, 2005