The papers of Thomas Frederick Tout and his family, including his wife, Mary Tout, son Herbert and daughter, Margaret are extensive. The collection provides detailed documentation of the life and work of one of the country's leading historians in the first decades of the twentieth century, as well as insights into the lives and activities of the Tout family as a whole.
Tout's own papers include notebooks, drafts of many historical works, newspaper cuttings, photographs, and a large quantity of correspondence. Tout was active in many different spheres of public life, and this is reflected in the subject matter of his correspondence, which dates from his student days in the 1870s to his death in 1929. Overall, the collection is one of the most useful for the activities and opinions of professional historians, particularly Tout's fellow medievalists, during this period.
Tout's papers provide important insights into the British historical profession and historiography in the early twentieth century. His extensive correspondence with historians and scholars provides much information on historical teaching, research and publication (both by Tout and others). There is material on the "Manchester School of History", Tout's relationships with historians in the UK and beyond, and the production and reception of Tout's publications, including his textbooks, both from a business and academic point of view. The Tout papers are also informative about the operation of scholarly bodies and enterprises such as the British Academy, Royal Historical Society, Institute for Historical Research, International Historical Association and the Dictionary of National Biography.
Tout's correspondents include most leading British historians of the time, and for some of these individuals correspondence is substantial. The following historians and scholars may be noted: W J Ashley (TFT/1/37), Mary Bateson (TFT/1/71), Charles Bemont (TFT/1/98), Alice Cooke (TFT/1/216), W. A. B. Coolidge (TFT/1/217), George Coulton (TFT/1/221), H. W. C. Davis (TFT/1/264), Roland Delachanel (TFT/1/273), Robert Dunlop (TFT/1/297 ), J. Goronwy Edwardes (TFT/1/312 ), Charles Lett Feltoe ( TFT/1/360), Charles Harding Firth TFT/1/367, (152 letters - invaluable for historical studies at Oxford), V H Galbraith (TFT/1/393), Samuel Rawson Gardiner (TFT/1/397), Charles Homer Haskins (TFT/1/497), Mark Hovell (TFT/1/545), Hilda Johnstone (TFT/1/604), W. P. Ker (TFT/1/636), Gaillard Lapsley (TFT/1/666), Norman Lewis (TFT/1/692), Felix Liebermann (TFT/1/699), Wallace Lindsay (TFT/1/705), A. G. Little (TFT/1/706), J. E. Lloyd (TFT/1/721), Richard Lodge (TFT/1/727), Sidney Low (TFT/1/733), H. E. Malden (TFT/1/760), J. E. Morris (TFT/1/833), Ramsay Muir (TFT/1/842), Henry Pirenne (TFT/1/945), A. F. Pollard (TFT/1/949), R L Poole [108 letters] (TFT/1/953), Frederick York Powell (TFT/1/959), Maurice Powicke (TFT/1/962), G W Prothero (TFT/1/975), Cyril Ransome (TFT/1/995), Hasting Rashdall (TFT/1/998), J. H. Round (TFT/1/1040), Ada Russell (TFT/1/1046 ), A. L. Smith (TFT/1/1121), Frank Stenton (TFT/1/1139), William Stubbs (TFT/1/1148), James Tait (TFT/1/1155), Harold Temperley (TFT/1/1165), George Unwin (TFT/1/1208), Charles Vaughan ( TFT/1/1216 ), Paul Vinogradoff (TFT/1/1226), A. W. Ward (TFT/1/1242) [155 letters], Spenser Wilkinson (TFT/1/1288), J. F. Willard (TFT/1/1289), and J. H. Wylie (TFT/1/1338). There is also correspondence with professional archivists such as C G Crump (TFT/1/233), Hubert Hall (TFT/1/466), and Charles Johnson (TFT/1/599), and the collection as a whole includes much incidental comment on the use of archives as tools in historical research, including Tout's evidence to the Royal Commission on Public Records.
Academic affairs at the University of Manchester are well covered as is similar subject matter for St. David’s College, Lampeter, where Tout spent almost a decade, for the latter, see W. H. Davey (TFT/1/249), C G Edmondes (TFT/1/308), Owen Evans (TFT/1/343), W. H. Hutton (TFT/1/564), Frank Jayne (TFT/1/585), John Owen, bishop of St David's (TFT/1/1055), John Sankey (TFT/1063), A. W. Scott (TFT/1/1078), Hugh Walker (TFT/1/1238), F R Williams ( TFT/1/1295), and Robert Williams (TFT/1/1299 ). Tout's connections with his former school, St. Olave’s Grammar School, are covered in TFT/1/596 and TFT/1/792.
The Tout papers are also a useful source of information for the First World War. Many of Tout's students, male and female, undertook military service or war-related work, and they related their experiences in letters to their former teacher. The following correspondents may be noted in this respect: G. S. Baldwin (TFT/1/47), R H Bedford (TFT/1/88), P. W. Brown (TFT/1/136), J. C. Carr (TFT1/167), F. S. Cook (TFT/1/215), Herbert Eckersely (TFT/1/304), J. G. Edwards (TFT/1/312), V. H. Galbraith (TFT/1/393), M V Gregory (TFT/1/445), Robert Hedley (TFT/1/508), C. S.S. Higham (TFT/1/519), Mark Hovell (TFT/1/545), T S Hurrell (TFT/1/560), Basil Jackson (TFT/1/574), Harold James (TFT/1/580), Arthur Langford Jones (TFT/1/609), Harold Kay (TFT/1/627), S. O. Moffat (TFT/1/822), Sydney Philipson (TFT/1/936 ), R. H. Pilling (TFT/1/943), Albert Price (TFT/1/973), Arthur Redford (TFT/1/1001), William Shaw (TFT/1/1095), Gerald van der Veen (TFT/1/1212), G. S. Watson (TFT/1/1257), J A Wildblood (TFT/1/1284 ), and John Wood (TFT/1/1320). There is also material on women students undertaking war-related work, e.g. Lila Dibben (TFT/1/278), Margaret Dibben (TFT/1/279), Florence Evans (TFT/1/336), and Gertrude Powicke (TFT/1/963).
Overall, the Tout papers are one of the largest and most important collections covering academic history in Britain between. c.1890-1930. They demonstrate Tout's significance as a historian, institution-builder and academic politician. They provide invaluable information on contemporary academic networks, historical writing and teaching, academic publishing, and cast interesting sidelights on the sociology and mentalités of the British historical profession at a key point in its development.