Beesly Papers

Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence; lecture notes on history; newspaper cuttings; papers of other members of the family, including an undated letter of Danton which belonged to A H Beesly; printed reports; pamphlets containing articles by or about Beesly; other pamphlets and reviews; other printed works; and an autographed photograph of Karl Marx. The correspondence is rather slight and only isolated letters from individual correspondents are preserved. There are sets of Beesly's own letters to Henry Crompton and to Frederic Harrison which were probably returned to the family after his death. There are also a few letters to Beesly's brother A H Beesly and to Alfred Beesly, E S Beesly's son.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Spencer Beesly went to Wadham College Oxford, graduating in 1854. In 1859 he was appointed Principal of University Hall, London. He was Professor of History at University College London, 1860-1893, and also Professor of Latin at Bedford College London, 1860-1889. In 1869 he married Henry Crompton's sister Emily. In 1882 he was a radical candidate for Marylebone and in 1885 a radical candidate for Westminster. In 1893 he became editor of the 'Positivist Review'. Beesly died in 1915.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Beesly's grandchildren in 1960.

Other Finding Aids

A list is available on the online catalogue. A more detailed handlist and name index may also be available.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Related Material

University College London Special Collections also holds letters of Edward Spencer Beesly relating to University College London business, 1860, 1870, 1887-1888 (Ref: COLLEGE CORRESPONDENCE).

Correspondence of Beesly is also held at the British Library, Manuscript Collections; British Library of Political and Economic Science; Bishopsgate Institute, London; Maison D'Auguste Comte, Paris. For further details see the National Register of Archives.