Letters to Lord Acton concerning the Cambridge Modern History

Scope and Content

A collection of letters to Lord Acton, nearly all relating to the Cambridge modern history. The principal correspondent is Acton's co-editor W.A.J. Archbold; the remainder are mainly potential or actual contributors to the History, replying to Acton's invitations to take part or writing about their contributions. Appended are a further letter of Sir A.W. Ward, 1914, and one of Herbert Butterfield, 1964, relating to the collection, and a few miscellaneous papers. There are 291 items in total.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Emerich Edward Charles Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton (1834-1902), was born in Naples on 10 January 1834, the son of Sir Ferdinand Richard Acton, 7th Baronet. He studied at the University of Munich under the church historian Ignaz von Dllinger. In 1859 he became Liberal MP for the Irish constituency of Carlow, and in 1869 accepted a peerage. During this time Acton acquired The Rambler and developed it as a liberal Catholic journal dedicated to discussing social, political and theological matters. He was engaged for many years in carrying out historical research on the continent. In 1895 he was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. He gave lectures on the French Revolution and Modern History, and was chiefly responsible for organising the Cambridge modern history. Acton died at Tegernsee, Bavaria, on 19 June 1902.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Purchased 1914.


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

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue. A detailed handlist to the letters is also available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.