This collection consists of the personal papers of Lord Frederick Cavendish, son of William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire.
The bulk of the collection comprises correspondence, extending to over 220 letters. The family correspondence includes letters from Lord Frederick's father, the 7th Duke of Devonshire; his sister Louisa Egerton and her husband Admiral Francis Egerton; and his brother, Lord Edward Cavendish. Further personal correspondence includes letters sent to Lord Frederick on his engagement to Lucy Lyttelton (including a letter from Joseph Paxton), and letters from the Lyttelton family.
There are political letters from a range of correspondents, most notably Prime Minister William Gladstone (who was also the uncle of Lord Frederick's wife) and Gladstone's private secretary J.A. Godley. Official and business correspondence includes letters concerning Lord Frederick Cavendish's involvement with Giggleswick School in North Yorkshire; the Yorkshire College of Science; and the Halifax vicarage.
A further series of general correspondence contains letters from relatives, politicians and statesmen, writers and others, including: Viscount Althorp (includes a long letter describing his travels in America in 1857); Alice L. Cavendish; George Henry Cavendish; Richard Cavendish; W.E. Gladstone; George G. Glyn, 2nd Baron Wolverton; J.A. Godley; Lord Granville; John Pope Hennessy; T. Jodrell; Italian politician and writer James Lacaita; theologian J.B. Lightfoot; critic and poet F.T. Palgrave (including letters between Lord Granville and Palgrave); Lord Roseberry; Sir Titus Salt; Lord Spencer; G.O. Trevelyan; and Lord Wharncliffe. Topics are wide-ranging and include social issues, business and industrial interests, travel and foreign affairs (including the American Civil War, slavery and unrest in the West Indies). There is also much correspondence on political matters, including the 1867 Reform Act, industrial conditions and the preparation of the 1878 Factory (Consolidation) Act, and the Elementary Education Act of 1872.
There is a grouping of political papers which include Lord Frederick Cavendish's political notes on topics as varied as church rates, the future of the Liberal Party, and slaves. There are also draft letters and speeches, and newspaper cuttings of pieces either written or collected by Lord Frederick.
Aside from an account with a company of furniture makers and decorators, the financial papers largely consist of business-related material; they include abstracts of various company accounts which reflect Lord Frederick's business interests, including the Barrow and Furness Railway and the Barrow Haematite Steel Company. There is also a marriage settlement (between Earl Jermyn and Miss Anson) for which Lord Frederick acted as a trustee.
In addition to some further miscellaneous papers of Lord Frederick (including a handwriting exercise book and a shooting card) there is a box of posthumous material relating to the administration of his estate.