Explore selections from William Hayley's correspondence

Most Sacred Things: A Museum of Relationships

I esteem letters most sacred things, and it seems to me an unjustifiable breach of trust to give any copy of a letter without the consent of the writer

(William Hayley to Eliza Hayley, 28/01/1781)

This pilot project from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, explores how we can best organise and display William Hayley’s correspondence to highlight connections between people, places and the production of literature and visual art.

William Hayley (1745-1820)
During his lifetime, Hayley was an influential author, scholar and champion of women’s writing. He was the first person to publish a substantial extract of Danté's Divine Comedy in English, declined the offer of the poet laureateship (partly for political reasons), and, in his biographical writings, often explored issues of mental health.