Material relating to the establishment of the University of Birmingham and the subsequent development of the School of Modern Languages within the Faculty of Arts. Includes a sizeable collection of letters to and from Hermann Georg Fiedler and his father-in-law, Charles Harding. Correspondents include Joseph Chamberlain as well as academics from both within the University of Birmingham and elsewhere. The letters contain important material relating to the foundation of the university and, in particular, the establishment of a School of Modern Languages which Fiedler and Harding both promoted passionately.
The papers, especially the Fiedler Harding letters, also make occasional references to wider issues relevant to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These issues include the political situation in Britain in the 1890s; pressure being applied to Fiedler to speak out against the pro-Boer press in Germany in January 1902; details of the first person to be awarded a Harding scholarship, a woman, to the partial dismay of Fiedler; and references to a performance of Edward Elgar's choral work, 'The Apostles' in 1903. These letters also include a sketch tracing of the proposed site for the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston.