Correspondence of James Anthony Froude (1818-1894)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-689
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      circa 70 letters, 2 portrait photographs. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      Dc.4.102-103 Froude; Dk.2.13, pp.45-46; Gen. 1731 Froude; Gen. 1733/30; E87.105; E88.51-54; E88.117; E92.17; E92.75; E94.43; E98.05-07; E99.15

Scope and Content

The correspondence consists of: letter to unnamed woman about a letter of Thomas Carlyle referring to a proposal that he should enter Parliament, 1886; letters to William Allingham about articles for Fraser's magazine; letters to J. W. Parker, publisher, about Fraser's magazine; letter to Parker, possibly, about a work, maybe History of England which he hopes Carlyle will review in Fraser's magazine; letter to a contributor to Fraser's magazine; letter to Pattison about the National Emigration Association; letter to Edward Fitzgerald about Carlyle; letter to Professor Peter Hume Brown; letter to a friend in Manchester about the Colonies and the possibility of a union between Canada and America; letters to John Ruskin, one about a lecture on positivism; letters to Mrs ward, 1879; letters to C. Butler, 1873-1892; letters to Sir W. Muir, 1892-1893 and undate! d; and, letters to Mrs. Forster, Mrs. Trevelyan, Reeve, and Mr. Walpole. Also a portrait photograph. A batch of transcripts with some of the letters.

Administrative / Biographical History

Distinguished historian James Anthony Froude was born at Dartington rectory, Devon, in 1818. He was the brother of William Froude (1810-1879), engineer and naval architect, and of Richard Hurrell Froude (1803-1836), divine. The younger Froude was educated at Westminster School from 1830, and then privately in the village of Merton. He studied at Oriel College, Oxford, from 1835, and graduated B.A. in 1842, and took his M.A. in 1843. After briefly writing on the life of St. Neot for the Lives of the English saints by John Henry Newman (1801-1890), Froude devoted himself to the study of modern history and literature. His work Nemesis of faith (1849) was denounced at Exeter College and burnt. He became acquainted with Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) and he submitted much of his work to Carlyle for review. When Carlyle died, Froude was his sole literary executor. Froude's History of England, published 1856-1870, rivalled that of Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859). He was elected rector of St. Andrews University in 1868. In 1874 he went to South Africa on behalf of the Earl of Carnarvon, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to ascertain what the obstacles to confederation might be among the different states there. His conclusion was that Britain should leave the states to work out their own future and retain control only of the Table Bay peninsula as a military and naval station. He returned to South Africa in 1875 this time as a member of the conference assembled to deliberate on a scheme for South African federation. This came to nothing as did another conference held in London in 1876. In 1876, Froude was a member of the Scottish universities commission. In 1892 he was offered the Regius Professorship of Modern History at Oxford University. He retired in 1894. Froude's other works include The influence of the Reformation on the Scottish character! (1869), The English in Ireland in the eighteenth century (1872-1874),History of the first forty years of Carlyle's life (1882), History of Carlyle's life in London (1884), Luther: a short biography (1883), the poem Romsdal fiord (1883) written after a visit to Norway, The science of history (1884), Oceana, or England and her colonies (1886) written after a visit to Australia, The English in the West Indies, or, the bow of Ulysses (1888), and The divorce of Catherine of Aragon (1891). Froude had also been editor of Fraser's magazine. James Anthony Froude died on 20 October 1894.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Allingham letters, Accession no. E67.35. Parker letters, and others, Accession no. E67.36. Parker letter, about review, Accession no. E67.37. Ruskin letter, Accession no. E70.3. Letter to contributor, Accession no. E74.37. Pattison letter, Accession no. E67.30. Fitzgerald letter, Accession no. E82.59. Brown letter, Accession no. E72.16. Accession no. E87.105. Accession no. E88.51-54. Accession no. E88.117. Accession no. E92.17. Accession no. E92.75. Accession no. E94.43. Accession no. E98.05-07. Accession no. E99.15.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.22. Supplement. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1909.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various other references to Froude related material (check the Indexes for more details): letters to D. Laing, 1862, at La.IV.6; letter of Froude's the subject of a letter from Sir J. Skelton to D. Laing, 1864, at La.IV.17; letter from Thomas Carlyle about jane Welsh's health, and about Frederick the Great, 1864, at Gen. 1730 onwards. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of Froude related material.