Correspondence, diaries, notebooks and other papers of the Arnold family

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Correspondence: Series I, Letters of Thomas Arnold: 107 letters to family members and friends; Series II, Letters of Mary Arnold: 45 letters to family members and friends; Series III, Miscellaneous family letters: 18 letters. Also, (a)-(d), a further 34 letters of Thomas Arnold, 5 of them photocopies, with other small fragments, (e) 19 letters of Jane Arnold (Mrs W. E. Forster) to family members, (f) an album of 14 letters from Matthew Arnold to Robert Browning and 2 letters from Mrs Arnold to Browning after Arnold's death, (g) portfolio of Mary Arnold's letters to her sister, (h) box containing a xerograph of Thomas Arnold junior's letters to family members from 1850-1896, (i) photocopies of other letters of Thomas Arnold, kept with the records of his conversations between 1825 and 1841. Diaries, notebooks and other papers: contents include travel diaries, journals, poems, family records and pedigrees, and Mrs Arnold's records of Thomas Arnold's conversations.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Arnold (1795-1842), who became headmaster of Rugby in December 1827, married Mary Penrose (1791-1873) in 1820. They had eleven children, of whom nine survived. Matthew Arnold, the poet and critic was the eldest son

Conditions Governing Access

Access is unrestricted

Acquisition Information

The gift of Mrs Mary C. Moorman of Bishop Mount, Ripon, ca. March, 1965, supplemented later by other deposits.


In English

Other Finding Aids

Letters series I-III are listed in a NRA handlist headed "Thomas Arnold Letters", dated 1965. The great majority of the letters are also listed in the Leeds University Library's Letters database. The additional letters, diaries, notebooks, and other papers are listed in detail in a separate handlist kept with the archive.

Custodial History

The papers were originally in the Arnold home at Fox How, Westmorland, in the possession of Dr Arnold's youngest daughter, Miss Frances Arnold, who died in 1923. From her they descended to Mrs Florence O'Brien of Ballyalla, Co. Clare, who was a granddaughter of Dr Arnold (a daughter of his son William, whose children were subsequently adopted by their aunt Jane (Mrs W.E. Forster) and all assumed the name of Arnold-Forster). Mrs O'Brien bequeathed the papers to the late Miss Dorothy Ward, and thence they descended to her niece Mrs Moorman.

Family Names