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Joshua Allen commonplace book

Ms. Codex 1923

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Allen, Joshua, 1749-1762
Joshua Allen commonplace book
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
Ms. Codex 1923
1 volume (+ 2 leaves)
Language Note:
In English with a few sections in Greek and Latin.
Commonplace book spanning the years from 1749 to 1762 kept by Reverand Joshua Allen of Pembrokeshire, Wales. The volume comprises excerpts from the Bible, theological writings, and philosophy in addition to copies of personal correspndence.
Cite as:
Joshua Allen commonplace book, 1749-1762, Ms. Codex 1923, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Joshua Allen was born approximately 1710. He was one of several children born to David Allen of Pembrokeshire, Wales. He began attending Jesus College, University of Oxford in 1729 where he received his B.A. in March 1734 and later his M.A. Allen became rector and clerk at St. Brides, Pembrokshire. He preached at St. Vedast, Foster Lane and Long Acre Chapel. In 1751 a volume of Joshua Allen's sermons was published. Some of his brothers and sisters lived in Fobstone, Pembrokeshire including John Allen and Frances Allen. He died on July 31, 1764.

Scope and Contents

This commonplace book spanning the years from 1749 to 1762 is a vellum-covered volume comprising excerpts from the bible, theological writings, and philosophy in addition to copies of some personal correspondence by Joshua Allen. There are excerpts of the book of Genesis, The doctrine of worship, discipline and government of the church of Scotland, Cicero's De divinatione, Augsburg confession, and Plato's dialogues. Some passages are in Greek and some in Latin. Also included is verse published regarding an earthquake on March 8, 1750. Several letters by Joshua Allen have been copied in the volume. The letters are to his sisters, brother, and cousins. One letter dated May 14, 1762 addressed to his sister, who lived in Fobstone, spans six pages and regards a dispute of rumors and family money. In letter to his cousin James Allen dated 1751, Joshua discussed his newly published book of sermons. There is a portion of a will by Joshua's grandfather William Allen copied in the volume. A summary of David Allen's naval career dated 1760 is also in the volume. A copy of a patent for Joshua's Uncle John Allen to erect St. Ann's Lighthouse near Dale on the Bristol Channel is in the volume. Letters copied in another hand, probably Allen's his great nephew William Bird Allen were written by Joshua Allen to his brother and by John Allen (Joshua's brother) to his sister Peggy. William Bird Allen's signature is on the first leaf. There are few epitaphs included in the volume. Two leaves are laid in the volume. The spine is lacking.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  May 2018

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Donna Brandolisio

Access Restrictions

Access to this item is subject to staff review.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Custodial History note

Signature on first leaf: W. Bird Allen.

Source of Acquisition

Sold at auction by Forum Auctions (London England), 2017, lot 369.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Codices (bound manuscripts)
  • Commonplace books
  • Correspondence
  • Epitaphs
  • Excerpts
  • Manuscripts, English--18th century
Geographic Name(s)
  • England--Religion--18th century
  • Pembrokeshire (Wales)--History--Sources--18th century
Personal Name(s)
  • Allen, William Bird, 1851-1936
  • Bible. Genesis
  • Philosophy and religion

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Collection Inventory


Joshua Allen commonplace book, 1749-1762.