Henry Crabb Robinson, 1775-1867, was an English diarist, journalist, and lawyer. He practiced law occasionally and served (1808-9) as war correspondent for the London Times. His voluminous correspondence and diaries are a mine of information about his literary acquaintances, among them Goethe, Schiller, the Wordsworths, Coleridge, and Lamb.
Born a dissenter, Crabb Robinson was shut out from English university life and studies, but as a compensation he went to Germany in 1800, when it was comparatively rare for an Englishman. In Germany, he spent more than five years, became acquainted with everyone who was worth knowing, and returned home in 1805.
Directly upon his return, he resumed his acquaintance with English men of letters who had become famous or who were just rising into notice, and established himself on an intimate footing with many of the most distinguished. Coleridge he knew intimately. He was a frequent visitor and trusted and loving friend of Charles Lamb and William Wordsworth.
This long-lived man, who knew everybody and was interested in everybody and everything, kept a diary with great minuteness. He wrote an abundance of long letters and recorded his reminiscences of the more important events and personages whom he had seen.
This collection contains nearly 22,000 pages of information in 29 volumes of diaries, 32 volumes of travel journals, four volumes of reminiscences, and three volumes of translations of Crabb Robinson's shorthand notes. It provides a unique insight into the lives and works of many of Europe's most famous literary, scientific, and political figures during the first half of the nineteenth century.