Charles Grimké Cosslett collection (1794-1795)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Meg Hixon, January 2012
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Charles Grimké Cosslett collection
Creator: Cosslett, Charles G., approximately 1773-1853
Inclusive dates: 1794-1795
Extent: 8 items
This collection contains 6 diaries that Charles Grimké Cosslett, a student in Dublin, Ireland, kept between 1794 and 1795. Cosslett recorded detailed descriptions of his travels around the British Isles and reflected on his daily life while studying at Trinity College, Dublin. The collection also includes a pastel portrait of Cosslett and an ivory profile of his father, Judge Charles Mathews Cosslett of South Carolina.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

2003. M-4284.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

Charles Grimké Cosslett Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:
  • Series I: Diaries
  • Series II: Portraits


Charles Grimké Cosslett was born in the United States around 1773, the son of Charles Mathews Cosslett (d. 1776), who served as a justice of the court of common pleas in Charleston, South Carolina, prior to the Revolution, and his wife, Ann Grimké. Around 1783, the Cosslett family moved to Dublin, Ireland, where Charles G. Cosslett later attended Trinity College, graduating in 1795. During the final two years of his studies, Cosslett traveled throughout the British Isles. He lived in Nutgrove, County Down, for much of his later life and died there on January 23, 1853.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 6 diaries kept by Charles G. Cosslett, a student in Dublin, Ireland, between 1794 and 1795, as well as two framed images. Each diary is between 66 and 250 pages in length, and they cover most of the period between January 1, 1794, and December 31, 1795, with occasional gaps as a result of missing volumes.

Cosslett's Diaries contain daily entries about various aspects of his life, such as his studies at Trinity College, Dublin. He had an active social life and traveled throughout Ireland, Scotland, and England. Cosslett maintained precise records of the places he visited, which included both small towns and heavily populated areas, recording his (often negative) opinions of local residents and details about geography, topography, and local customs. In 1795, he spent a significant amount of time on the Isle of Man, after which he proceeded to Cumbria, where he described local lakes, and eventually to London, where he viewed several plays and visited notable locations. Two of the diaries have records about the distance Cosslett traveled, and the second volume contains a printed portrait of George Washington.

The framed Portraits are housed in the Graphics Division:
  • A color pastel portrait of Charles G. Cosslett, with a newspaper obituary from The Northern Whig affixed to the back
  • An ivory profile of Charles G. Cosslett's father, Judge Charles Mathews Cosslett

Subject Terms

  • Americans--Ireland.
  • Cumbria (England)--Description and travel--Early works to 1800.
  • Dublin (Ireland)--Description and travel--Early works to 1800.
  • Dublin (Ireland)--Social life and customs--18th century.
  • England--Description and travel--Early works to 1800.
  • Ireland--Description and travel--Early works to 1800.
  • Isle of Man--Description and travel--Early works to 1800.
  • Scotland--Description and travel--Early works to 1800.
  • Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland)--Students.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Cosslett, Charles G., ca. 1773-1853.
  • Cosslett, Charles Mathews.
  • Washington, George, 1732-1799.
Genre Terms:
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Diaries.
  • Portraits.
  • Profiles (figures)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Diaries [series]
Volume   1  
Charles G. Cosslett diary,  January 1, 1794-March 30, 1794 (66 pages)
Volume   2  
"Journal through Ireland, Scotland, & England in 1794,"  June 28, 1794-July 10, 1794 (96 pages)
Volume   3  
Diary,  August 27, 1794-September 13, 1794 (90 pages)
Volume   4  
Diary,  January 1, 1795-March 31, 1795 (236 pages)
Volume   5  
Diary,  April 1, 1795-June 27, 1795 (217 pages)
Volume   6  
Diary,  June [28], 1795-December 31, 1795 (206 pages)
Portraits [series]
Box   J.30 (Graphics Division)  
Charles G. Cosslett pastel portrait
Box   J.31 (Graphics Division)  
Charles M. Cosslett ivory profile

Additional Descriptive Data

Alternate Locations

The framed portrait and profile are housed in the Graphics Division.


"Obituaries." The Northern Whig (Belfast, Ireland) 25 January 1853.