William Godwin's Diary

Abinger Collection

The Bodleian Library's Abinger Collection constitutes a major source for British literary and intellectual history during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They comprise a fully catalogued mass of papers of the Godwin-Shelley family and circles - 107 notebooks containing 4,651 paper leaves, and a further 8,646 loose leaves of varying sizes (total 13,297 leaves; almost 27,000 pages).

The collection contains three key pieces: the diary of William Godwin, 1788-1836; the autograph draft of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with corrections by P.B. Shelley, and the surviving portions of the fair copy, 1816-17; and, the joint journal of P.B. and Mary Shelley in five volumes, 1814-41.

The collection was on loan to the Bodleian Library from 1974 to 2004, when the library was finally able to purchase the Abinger Collection outright for £3.85m, due to the generosity of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation, and other institutional and individual donors.