Austen Chamberlain Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Personal and official papers of the Right Honourable Sir Austen Chamberlain (1863-1937) and the Chamberlain family. The official papers of Austen Chamberlain consist of material relating to his election to Parliament in 1892 and the offices he held thereafter: Junior Whip, 1893; Civil Lord of the Admiralty, 1895-1900; Financial Secretary to the Treasury, 1900-1902; Postmaster General, 1902-1903; Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1903-1905 and 1919-1921; Secretary of State for India 1915-1917; Leader of the House and Lord Privy Seal, 1921-1922; Foreign Secretary, 1924-1929, including award of Knighthood of the Garter and Nobel Peace Prize; and First Lord of the Admiralty, 1931. These papers include information relating to political and economic issues of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as: Irish Home Rule, Tariff Reform, Indian Affairs, the Locarno Conference and Treaty, political debates, political figures, speeches, and so forth.

The personal papers include the following: correspondence of the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain (father of Austen Chamberlain), Right Honourable Neville Chamberlain (half-brother of Austen Chamberlain), Beatrice, Ida and Hilda Chamberlain (sister and half-sisters of Austen Chamberlain); family ancestry papers and vital records, such as birth, marriage and death certificates, family wills, other important family and ancestry documents; family photographs, journals and memorabilia; notes and proof copies of Austen Chamberlain's various publications, including:  Notes on the Families of Chamberlain and Harben (1915),  Down the Years (1935), and  Politics from Inside (1936).

There is also a large series of correspondence of Mary Carnegie (ne Endicott, Chamberlain; step-mother of Austen Chamberlain), including correspondence between Mary and the Chamberlain family, particularly Austen Chamberlain, as well as between Mary and her own family, the Endicotts, covering a period from the 1880s to the 1920s and embracing a wide range of personal, social and political topics. Both the official papers and the personal papers of Austen Chamberlain and the Chamberlain family cover a wide range of subjects; they span the decline of the Victorian Era, the First World War, and the foreshadowing of the Second World War.

The collection also includes a gift of letters of John S. Wilson, secretary to both Joseph and Austen Chamberlain, 1898-1936, which have been added to the Austen Chamberlain collection. This gift was reported in the University Librarian's Annual Report, 1963/64.

Administrative / Biographical History

Austen Chamberlain (1863-1937) was born in Birmingham and was the elder son of Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914), industrialist, Mayor of Birmingham, Member of Parliament and several times Minister of the Crown. He was also half-brother to Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940), industrialist, Alderman and Lord Mayor of Birmingham, and subsequently MP, Minister of Health, Chancellor of the Exchequer and, finally, Prime Minister). Austen Chamberlain's Parliamentary career spanned 45 years in all, from 1892 to 1937, and he was deeply involved in party, national and international politics as the supporter of his father, as a leader in the Conservative/Unionist party and as elder statesman. The offices he held include: Junior Whip, 1893; Civil Lord of the Admiralty, 1895-1900; Financial Secretary to the Treasury, 1900-1902; Postmaster General, 1902-1903; Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1903-1905 and 1919-1921; Secretary of State for India 1915-1917; Leader of the House and Lord Privy Seal, 1921-1922; Foreign Secretary, 1924-1929, and First Lord of the Admiralty, 1931.

Chamberlain was made a knight in 1925 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926. Austen Chamberlain is the author of a number of publications:  Notes on the Families of Chamberlain and Harben (1915);  Down the Years (London: Cassell, 1935);  The League of Nations (1926);  Peace in Our Time: Addresses on Europe and the Empire  (London: Allen, 1928);  Politics from Inside: An Epistolary Chronicle, 1906-1914  (London: Cassell, 1936).

Reference: University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department, Online Archive Catalogue  (http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/). Accessed May 2002.

Arrangement

The Austen Chamberlain papers were sorted and arranged in the 1960s and early 1970s under a series of section headings (AC1-AC63). The bulk of the papers are mounted into fascicules; some are bound as volumes, others are stored in custom made boxes. The volumes and boxes are labelled with the section title headings and finding numbers. The section title headings used for describing this collection, with the section finding numbers, are as follows: AC1 Chamberlain family papers and correspondence. AC2 Miscellaneous personalia relating to Austen Chamberlain. AC3 Family letter to Austen and Beatrice Chamberlain. AC4 Mary Chamberlain's correspondence with Austen, Beatrice and Hilda Chamberlain and her mother, Mrs W. Endicott. AC5 Correspondence between Austen Chamberlain and Beatrice, Ida, Hilda and Neville Chamberlain. AC6 Correspondence and other documents relating to Ivy Chamberlain. AC7 Miscellaneous papers relating to politics, 1905-08 and to parliamentary questions, 1895-1900. AC8 Political documents, 1909-10. AC9 Political documents, 1911-12. AC10 Political documents, 1912-13. AC11 Irish Home Rule papers 1913-17. AC12 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1914-18. AC13 War documents, 1914-18. AC14 Indian affairs and Irish affairs, 1914-17. AC15 General correspondence, 1915-24; cabinet crisis, 1916; Indian affairs, 1917. AC16 Irish papers, 1903-05; Colonial Office papers, 1902-05. AC17 Foreign affairs, 1902-11. AC18 Correspondence with George Lloyd, 1920-27; Irish affairs, 1918; Indian affairs, 1917-18. AC19 War Cabinet papers, 1915-16. AC20 War Cabinet papers, 1916-17. AC21 Indian papers, 1916-17. AC22 Indian papers, 1917, 1930-31. AC23 Mesopotamia operation papers, 1916-21; letters relating to political resignations and dismissals, 1920-21; general letters, 1920-21. AC24 Miscellaneous letters, 1919-26. AC25 Political papers, 1919-21. AC26 House of Commons papers, 1921; Irish papers, 1921. AC27 Parliamentary printed papers and letters, 1921. AC28 Parliamentary printed papers and letters, 1922. AC29 Parliamentary printed papers and letters, 1922. AC30 Irish affairs, 1920-22. AC31 Irish affairs 1918-21. AC32 General election, 1922: Unionist papers. AC33 Coalition crisis, 1922: papers and correspondence. AC35 Miscellaneous letters; papers concerning the formation of Baldwin's first and second ministries. AC36 Knighthood of the Garter, 1925: correspondence. AC37 Locarno Treaty: correspondence. AC38 Locarno Treaty: documents; Nobel Peace Prize award correspondence; general correspondence, 1927-29. AC39 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1929-32. AC40 India affairs, 1930-34. AC41 General correspondence, 1935-36; correspondence relating to Austen's publications. AC42 Desk diaries, 1935-37; general correspondence, 1937; correspondence from J. L. Garvin on  The Life of Joseph Chamberlain. AC43 Military reorganisation papers, 1902-05. AC44 Service estimates papers, 1903-05. AC45 India Office: confidential papers, 1915-17. AC46 Mesopotamia campaign, 1915-17: correspondence and papers. AC47 Mesopotamia campaign, 1915-17: correspondence and papers. AC48 Mesopotamia campaign, 1915-17: correspondence and papers. AC49 Conservative Research Department papers, 1930 AC50 League of Nations papers, 1924-29. AC51 General correspondence, mainly as Foreign Secretary, 1924. AC52 General correspondence, mainly as Foreign Secretary, 1925. AC53 General correspondence, mainly as Foreign Secretary, 1926. AC54 General correspondence, mainly as Foreign Secretary, 1927. AC55 General correspondence, mainly as Foreign Secretary, 1928-29. AC56 Various receipts, 1933-37. AC57 Correspondence with George Titterton. AC58 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1893-1937. AC59 Presscuttings and papers relating to the death of Austen Chamberlain. AC60 Correspondence with F. S. Oliver, 1898-1914; correspondence with John Wilson, 1898-1936. AC61 India: correspondence with Viceroys, 1915-17. AC62 India: correspondence with Viceroys, 1915-17. AC63 India: correspondence with Governors, 1915-17.

In 1998, funding was secured to allow substantial recataloguing of the papers, in electronic format, and the opportunity was taken to create a multi-level descriptive catalogue. All the original finding numbers remain the same, but a new structure has been created for this collection in order to bring together, Austen Chamberlain's official papers; Austen Chamberlain's personal papers; papers of Mary Carnegie, formerly Chamberlain; Beatrice, Neville, Ida and Chamberlain's papers; Ivy Chamberlain's papers; papers of and relating to Joseph Chamberlain; and Chamberlain family ancestry papers.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

A formal agreement relating to the gift of the papers of Joseph Chamberlain and his son, Austen Chamberlain to the University of Birmingham was drawn up with the Chamberlain Family and Chamberlain Trustees in 1959. Both collections were presented to the University of Birmingham at a public ceremony on 18 October 1960, chaired by the University's Vice-Chancellor, Sir Robert Aitken. The letters of Mary Endicott were presented at the same time and form part of the papers of Austen Chamberlain. A subsequent gift of papers for the Austen Chamberlain Collection from the Trustees was received in 1970 and this comprised 17 volumes of letters on Indian affairs, 1915-17 containing correspondence between Austen Chamberlain and the Viceroys and Governors of India (AC61-AC63) The papers were also added to from other sources during the 1960s. These additions include a gift of correspondence between the Chamberlains and George Titterton from the Titterton family (AC57), the gift being reported in the University Librarian's Annual Report, 1968/69.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue to file level is available in electronic format on the University of Birmingham website at http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/. A paper copy of this catalogue is available on request. The superceded typescript handlist, with revisions up to 1984, can also still be consulted in the reading room. In addition, copies of the brief Guide to the Chamberlain Collection, which was published by University of Birmingham Library in 1978 to acknowledge the generosity of the Chamberlain family, are available on request.

Alternative Form Available

The collection is available on microfilm . Facilities are available in the University of Birmingham Library for researchers to make paper copies of individual items from these microfilms for their own private research purposes. Most of the collection has been micropublished by Primary Source Media, in five separate units on a total of 117 reels, and some or all these units have been purchased by other research libraries in this country and elsewhere. It is possible for individuals to purchase single reels, rather than whole units, from Primary Source Media.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

The Special Collections Department holds a number of related collections: Joseph Chamberlain Collection (GB 150 JC); Neville Chamberlain Collection (GB 150 NC) ; Beatrice, Ida and Hilda Chamberlain Collection (GB 0150 BC); Chamberlain Miscellanea (GB 150 C); Artificial collections of letters and other documents of Joseph, Austen and Neville Chamberlain (GB 150 JCLAdd, GB 150 ACLAdd, GB 150 NCLAdd); Masterman Papers (GB 150 CFGM) which includes correspondence between Austen Chamberlain and Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman (1874-1927), Liberal MP.

Bibliography

The most detailed biographical work on Austen Chamberlain is The Life and Letters of the Right Hon. Sir Austen Chamberlain (2 vols. London: Cassell, 1939) by Sir Charles A. Petrie. The biography of Mary Endicott Chamberlain, Mistress of Herself by Diana Whitehill Laing (Barre, Massachusetts: Barre Publishers, 1965) makes extensive use of her letters in the Austen Chamberlain Collection. More recently, an edition of Austen Chamberlain's correspondence with his sisters, Hilda and Ida, 1916-1937, by Robert C. Self, has been published under the title The Austen Chamberlain Diary Letters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society,1995, Camden Fifth Series, Vol .5).

Family Names