SCOPE NOTE: The collection contains letters written by religious and political leaders to Charles Kent and others dating from 1862 to 1889. The authors of the letters include Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and Prime Minister William Gladstone. Most of the letters are written to Kent, editor of The Sun and The Weekly Register, and discuss England's newspapers with regard to religious matters and Catholicism. The letters were written after the time of the Oxford Movement, which aspired to restore the Anglo-Catholic Church in England. With proponents attempting to return to 17th-century Church ideals, the Oxford Movement promoted literary activity and enough discussion for several periodicals to spring up. The collection also contains a typescript written by Charles Kent. It is incomplete, as evidenced by the intended list of contents. The majority of the typescript is a series of anecdotes about Cardinal Wiseman. It also includes anecdotes about Cardinal Manning, a copy of a letter from Charles de Montalembert, and a selection of Kent's diary entries. As part of his anecdotes about Cardinal Wiseman, Kent wrote, "It illustrates...how associated with one another so long ago (just over forty years ago) were Cardinal Wiseman, Father Vaughan and myself as a humble layman, in the Catholic doings of those times."


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES: Charles Kent was born in London in 1823, the eldest son of William Kent, a Roman Catholic naval officer. He studied at Prior Park, Bath and St. Mary's College, Oscott. In 1845 he became editor of The Sun, a daily London newspaper. He purchased the newspaper in 1850 and continued as its editor and proprietor until its failure in 1870. He then edited The Weekly Register, a Roman Catholic journal, from 1874 until 1881. He also studied law and was called to the bar in 1859. Kent wrote numerous articles and published several books and volumes of poetry, at times writing under the name "Mark Rochester." He published two books featuring his friend Charles Dickens: Charles Dickens as a Reader (1872) and The Humour and Pathos of Charles Dickens (1884). He published Corona Catholica, a book consisting of an epigram written for the accession of Pope Leo XIII translated into 50 languages. He and his wife, Ann, had 7 children. Kent died in 1902 and was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery of Kensal Green.

William Gladstone (1809-1898) was four-time Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, and 1892-1894. Several of his closest friends from Oxford were among the Anglicans who converted to Roman Catholicism as part of the Oxford Movement.

Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892) was a member of the Oxford movement. He was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1833. In 1851 he was received into the Roman Catholic Church and ordained as a priest by Cardinal Wiseman the same year. He was appointed archbishop of Westminster in 1865 and rose to the rank of cardinal in 1875.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was a writer, educator, poet and leader in the Oxford Movement. In 1824 he was ordained as a priest in the Church of England. He joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1845, became a priest in 1847, and was made a cardinal in 1879.

Nicholas Wiseman (1802-1865) was a chief architect of the Oxford Movement. In 1850 he was made cardinal and first archbishop of Westminster. He wrote a historical novel titled Fabiola in 1854.

[Biographical Sources: Dictionary of Catholic Biography. Edited by John J. Delaney. Doubleday, New York. 1961. Dictionary of English Literature. W. Davenport Adams. Cassell Petter. Britannica Encyclopedia. 2004. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.]



Status: Open

Photocopying: Permitted according to physical condition of the document

Provenance: Sotheby's. Acquired June 3, 2003

Processed by: Heidi Fetzer, April 2004

BULK DATES: 1862 - 1896
SPAN DATES: 1862 - 1896

EXTENT: 1 box (0.25 linear feet)


SERIES: 1. Correspondence

SERIES DESCRIPTION: Correspondence arranged alphabetically by author.

SERIES: 2. Manuscripts

SERIES DESCRIPTION: Typescript written by Charles Kent plus fragments.