University of Chicago Library

Guide to the John Stuart Mill Collection 1826-1869

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Descriptive Summary


Mill, John Stuart. Collection




0.25 linear feet (1 box)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Correspondence and two manuscript speeches titled "On the Universities" by English philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill (1806-1873.)

Information on Use


This collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Mill, John Stuart. Collection, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Biographical Note

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was an influential nineteenth-century English philosopher, political economist, and civil servant.

Scope Note

The collection contains manuscripts and correspondence from John Stuart Mill. The first folders contain two autograph manuscripts for "On the Universities," a debating speech the nineteen-year-old Mill delivered at the London Debating Society on April 7, 1926. Neither version of the speech was published during Mill's lifetime. In Mill's Collected Works edited by John M. Robson (Toronto, 1988) these two speeches are numbered 17 and 18, respectively, although their relation is not entirely clear. This finding aid likewise refers to the manuscripts by Robson's numbering. These manuscripts were previously catalogued in the University of Chicago Library as Codex Ms 1670, under the title "Speech, the latter part of which was spoken at the London Debating Society in the spring of 1826, on the universities," without authorial attribution. These manuscripts were associated with Mill by scholar Joe Stadolnik, who published his findings in Notes and Queries in March 2020.

The second set of materials is Mill's correspondence with Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), a pioneering statistician and the founder of modern nursing. The collection contains one original letter from Mill to Nightingale (Aug 9, 1867) and one original letter from Nightingale to Mill (Aug 11, 1867). It also includes typed transcripts of ten letters between Mill and Nightingale dated between 1860 and 1867, including those of the two aforementioned originals. The topics of their correspondence include critiques of a work written by Nightingale, women's rights, religion, and the medical profession.

The collection also contains an autograph letter Mill wrote to Manton Marble (1834-1917) on Jan 5, 1869, thanking him for sending copies of the journal The World. The letter also briefly touches upon the Democratic Party of the U.S.A., as well as the question of free trade.

Related Resources

Browse finding aids by topic.

John Stuart Mill, Collected Works of John Stuart Mill: Journals and Debating Speeches, ed. John M. Robson (Toronto, 1988), vol. XXVI, 348-58.

Joe Stadolnik, "John Stuart Mill's 'On the Universities' in Autograph Manuscript," Notes and Queries, Volume 67, Issue 1, March 2020, Pages 102-103, https://doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gjz198

Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Wrapper for speech manuscripts. The cover reads, "Speech, the latter part of which was spoken at the London Debating Society in the spring of 1826 on the Universities." undated

Box 1   Folder 2

"The Universities" [1]. No. 17 in Robson's ordering. Recto and verso of 9 folios. 1826

Box 1   Folder 3

"The Universities" [2]. No. 18 in Robson's ordering. Recto and verso of 5 folios. 1826

Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence, John Stuart Mill and Florence Nightingale. Manuscript and typescript. 1860-1867

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence, John Stuart Mill and Manton Marble. Manuscript. 1869