image © Willshaw Hughes, 2019
THE SWEDENBORG ARCHIVES are our most unique and varied holdings, ranging from rare and annotated books to manuscripts, portraits, audio recordings and curios. Notable items include documents signed by Swedenborg; volumes of Swedenborg annotated or inscribed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Flaxman, and T E Lawrence; a portrait of Swedenborg by Philip James de Loutherbourg; a miniature wax bust by Flaxman; and the manuscript of D T Suzuki’s translation of Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell. The Archives contain a wealth of manuscript material charting the history of the Swedenborg Society, and ‘Swedenborgian’ culture in general.
There are also many manuscript translations (much of which is still unpublished) and transcriptions of Swedenborg’s works, perhaps the most important of which is a codex transcribed at the behest of Augustus Nordensköld, an early follower of Swedenborg, containing copies of works by Swedenborg for which the original manuscripts are now lost; the Nordenskjöld copies have therefore formed the basis of all subsequent editions. The Archive also contains correspondence by prominent figures in the Swedenborg Society’s history, perhaps most notably Dr J J G Wilkinson, over a thousand of whose letters are in our possession (including to such luminaries as R W Emerson, D G Rossetti and John Ruskin). The Archive is housed in the Society’s strong room and is only viewable under supervision. It is broken down into the following sections:
A – General Manuscripts: Collection of manuscript material, drafts and other items relating to the composition of various texts
B – Manuscript Translations: Dealing with translations of both Swedenborg’s and other Swedenborgian’s various works.
C – Revisions: Printed and manuscript revisions and edits to various editions and translations of Swedenborg’s major works.
D – Swedenborgiana: Items directly relating to Emanuel Swedenborg himself such as original letters; indices of various aspects relating to his life and work; testimony from various individuals on Swedenborg’s character and various other directly related material.
E – Catalogues, Lists and Slips: Library catalogues from various defunct societies; lists compiled during research for various books/projects and other related items.
F – Swedenborg Society Matters: Items relating directly to the Swedenborg Society, it’s Committee and various boards and projects the Society has been involved in.
G – Miscellaneous: Items that don’t fit easily into other sections but are historically significant regardless.
H – Reports and Minutes: Collections of reports and minutes from the Swedenborg Society Committee, its various boards and other relevant societies and institutions.
J – Lectures and Addresses: Manuscript and typescript copies of various lectures and addresses given at both the Swedenborg Society and other institutions.
K – Correspondence: Letters from a wide variety of correspondents.
L – Printed Papers and Books: Collection of rare printed matter; 1st editions of Swedenborg’s major works; books annotated or signed by various historically significant figures and other related printed texts.
M – Images, Photographs, Portraits and Views: Collection of images in every format from daguerreotypes and photographs to oil paintings, glass slides, engravings and more.
N – Relics: Curiosities, objet d’art and other non-paper based items.