Papers of the 2nd Earl of Selborne

Scope and Content

The papers consists of:

  • Special Correspondence
  • Correspondence and Memoranda arranged by subject: politics, 1885-95; the Colonial Office, 1895-1900; the Admiralty, 1900-5; High Commissioner for South Africa, 1905-10 and other South African correspondence; domestic politics, 1900-14; the War Cabinet and after, 1915-42; and ecclesiastical politics
  • General Correspondence, 1883-1941
  • Personal and family correspondence
  • Printed Government Papers, 1899-1905; 1915-16
  • Official Papers, arranged by subject: Admiralty papers, 1900-5; and Papers relating to South Africa, 1905-10
  • Official Papers, chronologically arranged, relating to measures in which Lord Selborne was particularly interested
  • Non-official printed material
  • Miscellaneous
  • Family Papers

Administrative / Biographical History

William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne (1859-1942), was Liberal Unionist Chief Whip, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1895-1900, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1900-5, High Commissioner and Governor General for South Africa, 1915-16. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The papers were given to the Library in 1970 by the then Viscount Wolmer, later 4th Earl of Selborne.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue is available in the Library.