Diaries (HCR/1) The HCR diaries from 1811 onwards comprise 33 notebooks. There are chonological gaps in this record of his life which are covered by sub-series Travel Diaries (see below). Pencilled notes on the endpapers and lines in the entries were made by Thomas Sadler in the course of his editing portions of the diaries.
Diaries Typescript: A typescript of the diaries, made in the first decade of the 20th century covers the period 1811-1853, the first 23 volumes of the diary. Notes in previous catalgoues to the diaries suggest that the decision to end the typescript with the volume ending on 23 June 1813 was made as thereafter the diaries contain less interesting matter, most of HCR's contemporaries and famous friends having died by that date.
Shorthand entries in HCR Diaries: The transcript of the shorthand passages in HCR’s diaries is contained in three foolscap, hard-covered, exercise books. On the flyleaf of the first is written 'The Diaries of Henry Crabb Robinson. The passages in Shorthand deciphered and transcribed, with a key, by R. Travers Herford. Librarian. 1921. Vol. I. Diary Vols I – XII.' On the flyleaf of the second is written 'The Diaries of Henry Crabb Robinson. The passages in shorthand deciphered and transcribed by R. Travers Herford, Librarian, 1921. Vol. II. Diary Vols XIII – XXVII.'
The third volume has 'Shorthand passages in MSS. of H. Crabb Robinson deciphered and transcribed by R. Travers Herford.' This volume transcribes passages from the 1801 Journal, the Memorandum Book of 1804, and the series of Travel Diaries. Some of the entries are on loose sheets inserted, by both R. T. Herford and another. Some of the entries written in the volume are by Stephen K. Jones
Travel Diaries (HCR/2): It was HCR’s practice not to take his diary away with him when he travelled on holiday but to take another volume with him in which to record his activities. Apart from the first volume listed below, dating from his years in Germany, the Travel diaries extend from 1814 to 1866. Sometimes, on a much later journey, he used blank pages of an earlier volume to make his entries. Some of these volumes have accounts of money spent during the journey and at the places where he stayed. Occasionally, in after years, he added a few comments or other memoranda at the end of the entries.
Reminiscences (HCR/3) HCR begun his reminiscences in 1845 and continued them until October 1859, writing on quarto folded sheets, now fixed in four volumes. The first volume (HCR/3/1) begins with an account of his family and childhood years, then covers the years 1790-1809 (ff. 443); the second volume spans 1810-1825 (ff.443); the third volume spans 1826-1833 (ff. 440); the forth volume spans 1834-1843 (ff. 426) followed by remiscences on Coleridge, Wordsworh, Lamb and other significant literary figures contuning to 1829 and written in the period 1849-1851.
Anecdotes and Memoranda (HCR/4) This section comprises a volume which formerly bound five small notebooks (now disbinded). A notebook, commenced in 1834, of anecdotes 'not taken from print', the first three pages being 'copied from an old book begun in 1815 and lost'. Contains 173 anecdotes, the last entered in 1864, the date of a further note inscribed on the inside of the front cover:
'Jemima Robinson's Registry of births & deaths of her family.' Notes made by Jemima Robson, née Crabb, 1736-1793, mother of HCR.
'Itinerary of foreign travel from April 3rd. 1800 to Novemeber 1838. Subsequent itinerary and other items less regularly kept to the end of 1851'.
Memoranda 1807 Jan: 21 to Decr 31. [In German.] Memoranda July 19 1808 Jany. 18 1809. [In English and German.] Loose at the end a copy of HCR’s paper: 'Dissenters’ Chapels Bill. Brief reply to the allegations contained in the petitions or Resolutions of the opponents to the Bill. Written in 1844'. see Bundle 5.XV. [This copy given to the Library by Rev. Richard Acland Armstrong, 3 Jun 1903, according to the note by F. H. Jones.]
Correspondence (HCR/5): The greater part of HCR’s correspondence is fixed in thirty-two quarto volumes, to each of which is appended a list of the contents. At the beginning of the first volume is some older family correspondence and at the conclusion of the last volume are some items of earlier years previously omitted. Occasionally a letter has been wrongly dated and appears out of the chronological sequence.
Robinson was apprenticed to an attorney in Colchester at the age of fourteen. There he began to read, first using his master’s library and then borrowing books for a penny a night from the town’s circulating library. He eventually built up an exceptional private library of his own, and his collection of German works attracted a number of scholars including George Eliot. Robinson gave many books away towards the end of his life. A selection of the remaining books went to Dr Williams’s Library, of which Robinson was a trustee; and some books, especially those that had gone to Edwin Wilkins Field, were donated to the Library in the early twentieth century. A portion of the German volumes contain Robinson’s own marginalia, and since they stand in particular need of conservation, would be suitable items for adoption.