University of Birmingham Letters Additional Collection

Scope and Content

This artificial collection consists of more than 6000 letters of political, literary, scientific, musical, religious, educational and other figures, together with letters from individuals associated with Birmingham University. There are, for example, correspondence of a number of bishops of Lichfield, Worcester and Hereford and letters of a number of headmasters of public schools such as Charterhouse, Eton and Harrow. The sequence also contains letters of more local significance and interest, and includes family and business correspondence.

The following list of individuals represented in this artificial sequence (both authors and recipients of letters) is by no means comprehensive. It is intended to give a flavour of the collection and to give an indication of larger groups of material, particularly where the letters are from an archival entity.

Attwood, Thomas (1783-1856), political reformer; Baillie, Joanna (1762-1851), dramatist and poet; Bantock, Sir Granville Ransome (1868-1946), composer: about 100 letters from Gordon Bottomley, Edward Carpenter, Sir Charles Eliot, Sir Barry Jackson, Sir John Cadman, Donald A. Mackenzie, Francis Brett Young and others, 1907-38; about 40 letters to R. J Buckley, 1902-18; Barnes, Ernest William (1874-1953), Bishop of Birmingham Bright, John (1811-1889), statesman and orator; Buckley, R. J., music critic of Birmingham; Burow, Robert: about 50 letters to his family, mostly to his mother Isabella Burow, written from New York, Arizona and Minnesota where he was undergoing treatment for consumption, 1896-1902.

Cadbury, Dame Elizabeth Mary (1858-1951), educationist and social reformer; Cadbury, George (1839-1922), industrialist and philanthropist; Cobden, Richard (1804-1865), statesman and businessman; Collings, Jesse (1831-1920), politician; Collins, John Churton (1848-1908), critic and Professor of English, University of Birmingham,1904-08 [Reference code: GB150 US 7]; Cope, Sir Arthur Stockdale (1857-1940), painter; Dale, Robert William (1829-1895), Congregational minister, historian and author; Dawson, George (1821-1876), minister of the Church of the Saviour, Birmingham and lecturer: including c 25 letters to Thomas Winkworth; Dixon, George (1820-1898), politician and educational reformer; Drinkwater, John (1882-1937), playwright, poet and actor; Edgeworth, Richard Lovell (1744-1817), author; Elgar, Sir Edward William (1857-1934), composer.

Faraday, Michael (1791-1867), natural philosopher; Fox, William Johnson (1786-1864), preacher, politician and journalist; Gore, Charles, (1853-1932), Bishop of Oxford; Goschen, George Joachim (1831-1907) 1st Viscount Goschen, statesman; Grey, Edward (1862-1933), Viscount Grey of Falloden statesman; Gunn, Private Joseph L, of Imperial Volunteers, Norfolk Regiment: about 100 letters to his family in Norfolk while serving in the Boer War, 1900-01; Harcourt, Lewis (1863-1922), 1st Viscount Harcourt, Haweis, Hugh Reginald (1838-1901), author and preacher; Holbrooke, Joseph (1878-1958), musician; Hughes, Thomas Cann (1861-1948), antiquary: 75 items re Devonshire antiquities and the Devonshire Association, 1904-29; Huskisson, William (1770-1830), statesman: 16 items re transport of troops to the Cape, East Indies, India, 1796-1801; Hutton, Catherine (1756-1846), author.

Jackson, Sir Barry Vincent (1879-1960), theatrical director: c 50 letters, mostly to Edith Barling, 1933-60; James, J Angell (1785-1859), independent minister; Kapp family: includes family correspondence and personal papers of Dr Gisbert Kapp (1852-1922), engineer and Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Birmingham; Lloyd, Messrs of Ludlow, Shropshire, solicitors; Mason, Sir Josiah (1795-1881), industrialist and philanthropist; Moilliet family of Birmingham; Parr, Samuel (1747-1825), pedagogue; Priestley, Sir Raymond (1886-1974), geologist and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham; Rickman, Thomas (1776-1841), architect; Robertson, Sir Charles Grant (1869-1948), historian and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham: including about 40 letters to his mother and sister, Isobel Nevill 1920-35; Rufford, Francis (d 1854), Member of Parliament banker and businessman: about 70 letters and other papers as chairman of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway relating to the railway, 1845 [includes 3 letters from Isambard Kingdom Brunel].

Selwyn, George Augustus (1809-1878), bishop of Lichfield; Shrewsbury, Earls of Shorthouse, Joseph Henry (1834-1903), novelist and literary critic; Slade Baker family of Bewdley, 32 items, 1818-39; Smith, Stevie (Florence Margaret Smith) (1902-1971), author; Smith, William (?1808-1876 ) of Fleet Street, London, bookseller; Spencer, Earls of Spencer, Sir Stephen Harold (1909-1995), poet and critic; Spielmann, Marion Harry Alexander (1858-1948), art historian; Sturge, Joseph (1793-1859), philanthropist; Temple, Frederick (1821-1902), archbishop of Canterbury and headmaster of Rugby School: about 40 letters from, 1866-1901; Villiers, Charles Pelham (1802-1898), statesman; Webster, Benjamin Nottingham (1797-1882), actor and dramatist; Wordsworth, Christopher (1807-1885), bishop of Lincoln: about 20 letters from, 1841-84; Winterbotham and Thomas of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, solicitors; Young, Francis Brett (1884-1954), author.

Administrative / Biographical History

Individual letters are regularly acquired, usually by purchase, to complement holdings of personal papers and institutional archives within the Special Collections Department.The letters are added to either a general sequence of autograph letters (described here) or one of a small number of separate sequences of autograph letters devoted to a particular individual.

Reference: University of Birmingham, Guide to Special Collections Archives and Manuscripts ( ). Accessed February 2002.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Letters are purchased as and when they are available.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further acquisitions are expected.

Related Material

The The Letters Additional Collection complements the other holdings of personal papers and institutional archives within the Special Collections Department.