Arthur Drummond Steel collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Steel to the Arctic explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton regarding non polar matters

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur Herbert Drummond Steel [Steel-Maitland] was born on 5 July 1876 in India. He was educated at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1900. On his marriage in 1901 to Mary, the daughter of Sir James Ramsay-Gibson-Maitland, he changed his surname to Ramsay-Steel-Maitland. Between 1902 and 1905, he served as private secretary to two Chancellors of the Exchequer and was appointed special commissioner to the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws. In 1906, he stood unsuccessfully as Conservative Member of Parliament for Rugby, and in 1910 succeeded in winning the seat for East Birmingham. In 1911, he was appointed chairman of the Unionist Party, and during the First World War, served as under-secretary for the Colonies (1915 - 1917), and under-secretary for the Foreign Office and the Board of Trade (1917 - 1919). In 1919, he joined the board of the Rio Tinto Company, later becoming managing director, a post he held until 1924, when he entered the Cabinet as Minister of Labour. In 1929, he lost his seat in the general election, but returned to Parliament later the same year after winning a by-election in Tamworth, a seat he held until his death on 30 March 1935 at Rye.


The correspondence to Shackleton is arranged chronologically

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Dictionary of National Biography, 1931-1940, Oxford University Press London (1950) and Who was who, 1929-1940, Adam and Charles Black London (1947)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible