Elizabeth Anne Wheler: Reminiscences of my early life

Scope and Content

A manuscript copy of the reminiscences of Elizabeth Wheler, originally written between 1895 and 1904. The account, which was based at least partly on a diary, describes Wheler's life up to 1865, after which she states that her children will remember events better than she can. The reminiscences are mostly discursive, and are filled with anecdotes, although towards the end they become more like diary entries. The Galtons were very well connected: there are numerous references not only to immediate members of the family, including Francis Galton and her cousin Charles Darwin, but to many other famous Victorians.

The volume consists of title page; preface, dated 5 Bertie Terrace, November 1905; seven hundred pages of reminiscences; and postscript. Two contemporary lithographed plates of Queen Victoria's coronation are bound in after pages 321 and 325 respectively. A letter from Francis Galton to Mrs Wheler's daughter, Lucy, 15 January 1906 (4 pages), is bound in at the front of the volume. There are three loose items: a letter from Fanny Wilmot to her son Edward, 24 January [ ] (4 pages); notes, possibly in the hand of Lucy Wheler (2 pages); and a typescript description of the collection (1 page).

Administrative / Biographical History

Elizabeth Anne Wheler (1808-1906), eldest daughter of the banker Samuel Tertius Galton (1783-1844) and his wife, Frances Anne Violetta Darwin (1783-1874), was the wife of Edward Wheler.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Pickering & Chatto Ltd, London, 22 February 1988.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids


Related Material

University College London holds 'The Galton family', two volumes of family trees, sketches and biographies of members of the family, compiled by Elizabeth Wheler.


Karl Pearson quotes from the reminiscences in the Life of Francis Galton (1914-1930), which also describes 'The Galton family'. D.W. Forrest quotes from the former work in his biography Francis Galton (1974).

Family Names