Goldsmith's Library of Economic Literature; Herbert Somerton Foxwell

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection of Henry Somerton Foxwell, comprising cataglogues, card indexes and other papers concerning the organisation and management of the contents of the Goldsmith's Library at the University of London Library, memoranda, newspaper cuttings and personal papers, [1584-1935]; notably newspaper cuttings and handwritten notes by Foxwell concerning a wide range of economic subjects which were used in his lectures; extracts from booksellers' catalogues and handwritten notes by Foxwell concerning forthcoming publications and rare books relating to various aspects of economics; memoranda, booklets of rules and bye-laws and correspondence, which relate to Foxwell's memebrship of professional bodies such as the Royal Economic Society and the Political Economy Club; memoranda and correspondence which relate to Fowell's academic posts at St. John's College Cambridge and the University of London; booklets of rules and bye-laws which relate to Foxwell's personal interests in rock climbing, cricket, and other pursuits; photographs, legal documents and invoices for school fees of members of Foxwell's immediate family.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Somerton Foxwell, born 17 June 1849, Somerset, the son of an ironmonger and slate and timber merchant. He received his early educated at the Weslyian Collegiate Institute, Taunton; passed the London Matriculation examination at the minimum age; obtained a London External BA Degree at the age of 18; admitted to St. John's College, Cambridge, 1868; placed senior in the Moral Sciences Tripos in 1870 and was associated with the College for the rest of his life; made a Fellow in 1874 and held his College lectureship for sixty years. In the University he was largely responsible for the honours teaching of economics from 1877 to 1908; Foxwell was assistant lecturer to his friend Stanley Jevons who had held the Chair of Economics at University College London from 1868 and then succeeded Jevons as chair in May 1881, holding the post until 1927; at the same time, Foxwell was Newmarch Lecturer in statistics at University College London and a lecturer on currency and banking from 1896 at London School of Economics. In 1907 he became joint Professor of Political Economy in the University of London, and in addition gave extra-mural lectures for Cambridge University from 1874 and for London from 1876 to 1881 in London, Leeds, Halifax and elsewhere. He also held the following appointments: external examiner for London, Cambridge and other universities; first Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the University of London; vice-president and president of the Council of the Royal Economic Society; member of the Councils of the Statistical Society and the British Association for the Advancement of Science; and secretary and later president of the University (Cambridge) Musical Society and the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. He also provided a course of lectures at the Institute of Actuaries. Foxwell was a dedicated book-collector and bibliophile and concentrated on the purchase of economic books printed before 1848. He described his library as a collection of books and tracts intended to serve as the basis for the study of the industrial, commercial, monetary and financial history of the United Kingdom and the gradual development of economic science generally. Foxwell's library provides the nucleus of the Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature. When The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths purchased the library of economic literature from Foxwell in 1901 for £10,000 it contained about 30,000 books. The Company also generously provided Foxwell with a series of subventions following the purchase of the Library to enable him to make further acquisitions prior to the gift of the Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature to the University of London in 1903. From the sale in 1901, Foxwell kept back duplicates that formed a second collection which he sold to Harvard University for £4,000 in 1929. From the termination of dealings with the Goldsmiths' Company in 1903, he began creating a second major collection. By his death, on 3 August 1936, Foxwell had amassed a further 20,000 volumes that were sold to Harvard University creating the focus for the Kress Library.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Unknown

Other Finding Aids

A box list was compiled January 2006 by Zoe Browne.

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Zoe Browne.

Separated Material

Further material relating to Foxwell may be found at the Baker Library, Harvard Business School; the British Library of Political and Economic Science, London; Kings College Modern Archive Centre, Cambridge University; the Bishopsgate Institute, London; Cambridge University Library; the Marshall Library of Economics, Cambridge University; St John's College Library, Cambridge University; the British Library, London; the University of Toronto Library, Canada; and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

Given by the Goldsmith's Company in 1963.

Related Material

Further material relating to Foxwell at Senate House Library can been found at MS602, MS789 and MS790.