Scope and arrangement
This is a synthetic collection consisting of manuscripts, correspondence by and about the author, notebooks dating from 1843 to 1845, and pictorial works. The manuscripts include poems and portions and drafts of novels. The pictorial works include drawings by George Cruikshank for Ainsworth's novels. The correspondence includes letters from the author, dating from  to 1889, to Richard Harris Barham, George Cruikshank, his cousin Dr. James Bower Harrison, William Charles Mark Kent, and others, as well as letters relating to the author, dating from  to 1841, between Richard Harris Barham and Richard Bentley.
The William Harrison Ainsworth collection of papers are arranged in three series: