The collection comprises letters, manuscripts and printed material relating to Charles Masterman; his wife Lucy (ne Lyttelton); their children and their families; and many Masterman, Lyttelton and Stuart-Wortley relatives. Topics and people covered in the letters include Charles Masterman's political career and political events, 1907-27; Charles and Lucy Masterman's literary work; family matters, particularly the Masterman children and family finances; Masterman and Lyttelton relatives; political and literary friends.
All aspects of Masterman's life and career are represented in the collection from his school days at Weymouth College to his early death in 1927, particularly his work as an MP and government minister (1906-15) and his writings and journalism. The material includes memoirs written by his mother and other members of the Masterman family; volumes of letters from school friends; school and university notebooks; letters to his wife Lucy before and after their marriage (some written during House of Commons debates); a diary written in 1901, when he was living in Camberwell; correspondence with politicians (Herbert Asquith, David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Sir Edward Grey, W H Beveridge, Herbert Samuel, Augustine Birrel to name but a few) and writers, including John Buchan, Arnold Bennett, H G Wells and Ford Madox Ford; printed and typescript papers - many annotated by Masterman - relating to the work of government departments (including the Home Office, the National Health Insurance Commission, the Cabinet and Wellington House) and to the work of the Liberal Party (including the Liberal Land Enquiry and the Liberal Industrial Enquiry); and notes for political speeches. The collection also includes manuscripts, typescripts, proofs and printed copies of some of Masterman's books and many of his periodicals and newspaper contributions.
Included in the archive are letters which Lucy wrote to her husband between 1907 and 1927; letters to her parents and sisters; correspondence concerning the fate of individual refugees in Britain, 1939-45; copies of the diaries, which she kept between 1908 and 1913, when Charles was a member of Asquith's governments, as well as other memoirs; manuscript, typescripts, proofs and printed copies of her poems, articles and book reviews; background material and drafts of her biography of Charles Masterman; also drafts of a number of other unpublished literary works.