Edgar and Leonora Speyer collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Speyer and his wife Leonora regarding the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott).

Administrative / Biographical History

Edgar Speyer was born in 1862 in New York, the son of a banker. He was educated at the Realgymnasium, Frankfurt, and at the age of twenty-two became a partner in his father's three companies in Frankfurt, London and New York. From 1887, he worked as director of Speyer Brothers in London, and under him the firm was instrumental in financing the Metropolitan District Railway Company. Between 1906 and 1915, he served as chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London.

In 1902, he married Leonora, daughter of Ferdinand, Count von Stosch of Mantze, Silesia, a violinist and widow. A philanthropist and patron of the arts, he was naturalized in 1892, created a baronet in 1906 and made a member of the Privy Council in 1909. During the First World War, Speyer resigned all his offices following allegations of spying for Germany and he returned to New York. In 1921, his British naturalization, and those of Leonora and their three daughters, were revoked. He continued to live in New York and was serving as a director of the banking house of Speyer-Ellissen in Berlin, when he died in 1932.


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events , (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034 and Dictionary of National Biography, 1931-1940 , Oxford University Press, London (1950)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue , Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.