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William Makepeace Thackeray Drawings

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Dec 1996

Biographical History

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) was an English novelist, known for his social satire and parody. Well known works by Thackeray include Vanity Fair, Pendennis and The Virginians.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William Makepeace Thackeray Drawings consists of the original manuscript of The Heroic Adventures of M. Boudin with autograph descriptions by Thackeray, in a handsome red binding. Together with portraits of Thackeray by Kruell (proof after Lawrence) and Hollyer (after G. B. Smith), the single volume also contains the article from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February 1891, in which the drawings were first published, with comment by Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Gordon N. Ray. Undated, the large quarto volume is bound in full red morocco with elaborate gilt spine and covers as well as gilt edges.

Created for the wife of Thackeray's friend Robert Bell, the twelve pen and ink drawings (the first seven embellished in watercolor) depict the comic adventures of M. Boudin, a Boulogne fisherman, who is captured by Nelson after sinking a British fleet of 33 vessels, only to meet his doom with Napoleon at Waterloo.

In celebration of the 80th birthday of Syracuse University Chancellor Emeritus William P. Tolley, Syracuse University Library Associates published a facsimile edition of the original manuscript in 1980, a copy of which is contained in the box with the originals.

Arrangement of the Collection



Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

See also the William Makepeace Thackeray Letter.

Subject Headings


Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863 -- Manuscripts -- Facsimiles.
Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863 -- The heroic adventures of M. Boudin
Ray, Gordon Norton, 1915-1986.
Ritchie, Anne Thackeray, 1837-1919.


Manuscripts, French -- Facsimiles.


France -- History -- 1789-1815 -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

William Makepeace Thackeray Drawings,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased with funds provided by George and Lena Arents, 1965.

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