William Thomas Arnold Notebooks

Scope and Content

The collection comprises W. T. Arnold's notebooks on Roman history. At the time of his death, Arnold was working on a major but incomplete study of Roman imperialism. This was published posthumously as Studies of Roman imperialism (Manchester University Press 1906).

It is believed that these notebooks comprise some of his research notes for that project. The subject matter includes Theodor Mommsen's works, Roman colonial administration in the near East, Spain and Gaul, the offices of Emperor and Senate, the Augustan constitution, Roman law, landholding, cities, finance, trade currency, roads, policing, art, literature and relations with Christianity. The collection also includes some of Arnold's student notebooks.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Arnold was born in 1852, the son of Thomas Arnold, an academic and his wife, Julia Sorrell. He was the grandson of Thomas Arnold, the reforming headmaster, and his uncle was Matthew Arnold. His sister, Mary, was better known as the author Mrs Humphrey Ward, and she later wrote a memoir of her brother.

Arnold attended University College, Oxford, graduating in 1876. In 1879 he joined the staff of the Manchester Guardian, where he wrote editorials, reviews and criticism. Arnold was an important figure at the paper, influencing its house style and its political opinions, particularly the paper's support for Irish Home Rule. He retired from the Guardian in 1899 and died in 1904 after a long illness.

Outside of journalism, Arnold was interested in the poetry of John Keats, and he published an edition of Keats' work in 1884. His great interest, however, was Roman history. Arnold published a number of articles and monographs in this area, including The Roman system of provincial administration to the accession of Constantine the Great, based on his Arnold Prize essay of 1879. At the time of his death, he had been working for many years on a major study of the Roman Empire. This was later edited for publication by his friend, Edward Fiddes, and published as Studies of Roman Imperialism in 1906. This work included memoirs of the author by Mrs Humphrey Ward and his Guardian colleague, C E Montague.

Arnold married Henrietta Wale in 1877; there were no children of the marriage.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

It is believed that Arnold's papers were transferred to the University Library when his widow, Henrietta Arnold, donated his library in 1905.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.


None expected.

Related Material

JRUL also has custody of manuscript of Arnold's, an analysis of History of the Peloponnesian War, (1875).

The Guardian archive includes numerous references to Arnold, especially the series of correspondence GDN/118, and GDN/121

JRUL also holds the T F Tout papers, which include letters from Arnold to Tout (TFT/1/34) and letters from C E Montague and Mrs Humphrey Ward concerning their memoir of Arnold (TFT/1/823 and TFT/1/1245). Montague's own papers include a cuttings book of Arnold's theatre reviews (CEM/1/1/4/1).


Studies of Roman Imperialism includes informative memoirs by Mrs Humphrey Ward and C E Montague.