A collection of books, articles, and manuscripts by, about, and directly relating to Edward John Trelawny (1792–1881), author of several popular and influential works and memoirs about Byron and Shelley, is now part of the Libraries of The Claremont Colleges and is housed in Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library. Accumulated over a period of fifty years by Donald B. Prell, the core of the Collection comprises nearly 140 volumes.
Of particular note in the Collection is a manuscript notebook of Edward Ellerker Williams dating from about 1819–1820. Williams, a retired military officer, was living in Switzerland with Shelley’s cousin Thomas Medwin when he was introduced by Medwin to Shelley. Also, about this time, Trelawny joined Medwin, Williams, and Shelley, living together during those fateful days leading up to the sailing accident in which Shelley and Williams were drowned.
In his notebooks Williams recorded his travels during his stint in the Navy then afterward on the Continent with his friends and family, and are an important source for study of Shelley’s last days. Williams’ notebook in the Prell Collection contains many sketches, botanical specimens, fragments of poems, and one particular pencil portrait that might be of Shelley, pictured above.