Papers of Beatrice, Ida, Hilda and Ethel Chamberlain

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The letters and papers tell of the worlds the four sisters observed at close quarters, within the extended family, at the pinnacle of Birmingham society, and among the governing elite at Westminster. They witnessed the trials and triumphs of their menfolk: Joseph as Colonial Secretary at the height of the British Empire; Austen at Locarno; Neville at Munich, and then the outbreak of war he had so dearly sought to avoid. Through it all they tell each other of their daily lives, of their delights and anxieties, and of their abiding concern for each other. Subjects include social and political history, women's history, family history.

Papers relating to Beatrice's American visit, 1897-1898; correspondence between Beatrice and Neville Chamberlain, 1890-1918; correspondence between Beatrice and other family members, 1875-1918; correspondence between Ida and Hilda Chamberlain, 1888-1963; miscellaneous family items including papers of and relating to Ida, 1857-1953; papers of Ethel Chamberlain, 1893-1910.

Administrative / Biographical History

Beatrice Mary Chamberlain: 1862-1918, Daughter of the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain and Harriet Chamberlain (ne Kenrick); sister of the Right Honourable Sir Austen Chamberlain, half-sister of Neville Chamberlain. She died in the influenza epidemic which closed the First World War.

(Florence) Ida Chamberlain: 1870-1943, Daughter of the Right Honourable Joseph and Florence [ne Kenrick]; sister of Neville Chamberlain, half-sister of the Right Honourable Sir Austen Chamberlain.

(Caroline) Hilda Chamberlain: 1871-1967, Daughter of the Right Honourable Joseph and Florence [ne Kenrick]; sister of Neville Chamberlain, half-sister of the Right Honourable Sir Austen Chamberlain.

Ethel Chamberlain, 1873-1905: daughter of the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain and Florence (ne Kenrick); sister of Neville Chamberlain, half-sister of the Right Honourable Sir Austen Chamberlain. She was the only daughter to marry -she married Whitmore Lionel Richards (1868-1956) by whom she had a daughter, Hilda - but was the first to die, in a Swiss sanatorium with her sister Hilda at her side.

Reference: Guide to the Chamberlain Collection (The University of Birmingham Library, 1978 ). ; P.E.Marsh, The Chamberlain Papers from University of Birmingham Library. Series One: The Papers of Neville Chamberlain (Primary Source Microfilm, Reading, 2000).

Arrangement

The papers are arranged by individual correspondents and family members.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in University of Birmingham Library in 1975, with additions deposited inr 1987 by different depositors. The papers relating to Ethel Chamberlain were given in September 1993.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue to file level is available in the Special Collections Department and at the National Register of Archives in London.

Alternative Form Available

The Papers of Beatrice, Ida, Hilda and Ethel Chamberlain have been microfilmed by Primary Source Media as part of an ongoing project to publish the entire Chamberlain collection in series arranged around the three statesmen: Neville, Austen and Joseph and other family members.

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.

Accruals

Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The papers of Austen Chamberlain, Joseph Chamberlain, Neville Chamberlain, and a general family collection are also held at Birmingham University Information Services, Special Collections Department. Further artificial series of additional correspondence exist for each family member in the "Letters Additional" series.

Family Names

Corporate Names

Geographical Names